When you used to think of super touristic towns around the world, rarely is food exceptional. Now that food travel is becoming more popular, places have really started to step up their food game. In Goreme valley, famous for the hot air balloons, restaurants always played second fiddle. However we LOVE food, and if you do too, then I’m going to tell you where to eat in Goreme, Cappadocia.
Being in the center of Turkey, Cappadocia has classic dishes that many people will recognize. And because many Turks come here for work, there are plenty of places specializing in Turkish regional cuisine as well. Of course the one dish you absolutely have to get when visiting Cappadocia is the Testi Kebab.
Read more: 10 Things To Do In Cappadocia (Goreme)
Seeing as I was only in Goreme about a week, I of course didn’t eat at every restaurant in the city. However out of all the ones I did eat at, here are my top 5 must try places.
This is an adorable little restaurant nestled right into the famous caves of Goreme. When we first walked by it, we almost walked past since it is so unassuming. They don’t have an amazing view, and the courtyard seating area looked small. However we checked the menu and it looked tasty so we sat down.
Immediately the waiter greeted us and brought menus along with his personal recommendations. Cody and I opted to share a large meze platter and the grilled lamb chops.
As is traditional in Turkey, the free treat in the beginning was fresh, warm bread with olive oil and Zatar. So good!
The meze platter came with pastirma, herbed yogurt dip, marinated sun dried tomatoes, stuffed vine leaves, spicy tomato ‘salsa’, hummus, and some aged white cheese. This was already enough to fill us up, but the lamb chops were grilled and seasoned to perfection, so of course we enjoyed them as well.
Before getting the bill we were given some complimentary fruit and Turkish tea. All in all, our dinner for two was around $25.
Is it cliche to recommend the number one restaurant on TripAdvisor? Normally yes, but in this case it’s well warranted. Upon arriving at the restaurant for lunch we were shocked that it was number 1 (plus three locals recommending it) because it just looked so…meh.
However our minds were quickly changed. Neither of us were hungry, so Cody just got a lentil soup and I ordered a chicken salad. However the gifts vastly outnumbered what we ordered.
Along with our drinks the friendly waiter brought us a plate of dried fruit and roasted nuts. If that was the only gift, I would have been happy…but it didn’t end there. With our food he brought some fresh and tasty bread, some herbed yogurt, mashed tomato spread, olives, halva, two cheese pastries, bulgur fritters, and some steak fries.
All of that was great, along with the food we actually ordered. And of course some fruit with the bill.
Sedef was recommended to me by one of my teachers even before we got to Goreme, and again by the host of our hotel once we arrived and asked for recommendations.
It’s right in the center of Goreme city so easy to get to from anywhere you are. Of course, walking downhill is always easier than walking uphill after a large dinner.
This is the place we decided to try the famous Testi Kebab, and I’m glad we did. It may seem like a bit of a gimmick, but the flavors don’t lie. Our lamb was so juicy and flavorful I couldn’t stop eating. We also got a pide to go with it, but really could have just gotten two testi kebabs. Order more rice as well, since it is great to soak up all the delicious braising liquid.
Prices here are very fair as well. Our entire dinner was $22 for a testi kebab, large pide, three sodas, and four sparkling waters. It also came with the gifts at the beginning of bread and spreads.
Read: Istanbul Food Tour
Top Deck Cave Restaurant was recommended to us by the host of our hotel and even though we were pretty full before we got there, I’m still glad we went.
The restaurant is built into one of the famous caves of Goreme and is a mix between table seating, and traditional floor seating. Cody and I chose to sit on the floor in a little corner alcove.
As we weren’t too hungry we only got a hot starter and a main to split, along with the complimentary meze. Our hot starter was a plate of cigara boregi, the cheese wrapped in filo pastry dish, which came with a tangy herby yoghurt dip.
The main was fantastic. It works simply, just tell the waitress what type of main you want; Chicken, Beef, Lamb, Vegetarian, and she will explain how each is cooked that day. Being in Turkey we tend to lean towards lamb more often than not.
The lamb main was prepared as a 5-hour stewed shank. The meat was so tender you could cut it with a spoon. It also came with a side salad and some potatoes.
Prices were in line with other quality restaurants. Our entire meal came out to $17 and was well worth it.
Organic Wine House is one of the places you have to visit if you are a wine lover. The restaurant/bar is located inside one of the fairy chimney rock formations. There you can taste test a great selection of local wines before getting a glass or a whole bottle to drink up above.
Once you have chosen your wine you can choose where you want to enjoy it. The bar has a few tables inside the cave, and it also has two beautiful terraces. I recommend going to the upper one and getting comfortable on a small patio carved in the rock.
Organic Wine House has, besides a great selection of wines, a wide selection of dishes you can try. The prices here are very affordable and the food is great.
For a bottle of a great wine we paid 220 TL (around $25). Starters cost between 25 and 50 TL ($3 – $5) per plate.