A Taste of Ottoman and Turkish cuisine in the Heart of Dubai

Located at La Mer, one of Dubai’s trendiest locations, Kaftan Turkish Gourmet serves authentic Turkish food in a modern style open eatery that offers outdoor dining just by the beach. The entire space is Turkish, from the olive tree inside to the Turkish ceramic plates on the walls and the Turkish music.

We started with fresh lemonade and a signature mocktail—Atom, made of pomegranate juice, orange juice, and a splash of lemon. This was served with the pre-starter of freshly baked Turkish bread served with a soft cheese spread. We also tried their new Topalak, a spicy tomato based soup with meatballs and chickpeas. Even if you’re not a fan of soup, this could just change your mind! We also enjoyed the traditional Gavurdagi salad— made of chopped onions, parsley, drained tomatoes, and cucumbers, topped with pomegranate and walnut.

The cold mezze wooden platter arrived with lots of traditional Turkish mezze: Cigkofte— delicious finely ground bulgur rice patties mixed with herbs and spices. Turkish hummus, Yaprak Sarma— Turkish grape leaves stuffed with cinnamon-infused rice and roasted pine nuts. There was also Lahana Sarma—Ottoman white cabbage rolls stuffed with cinnamon-infused rice and sautéed chestnuts, and my favorite, the Kozlenmis Enginar— or smoked artichoke hearts. Along with this, we also enjoyed the hot starter Cigborek— tightly wrapped, slender fried pastries filled with cheese.

From the mains, we enjoyed the Tire Kofta— finger-shaped meatballs in a delectable yogurt and tomato sauce topped with bread. The flavors really merged well with the succulent kebabs.

The Sac Kavurma dish was tiny bits of beef with peppers, tomatoes, and garlic and is served in the same dish it’s cooked in, lending an intensely smoky flavor. And the showstopper: the Bird on Fire for which the server brings a chicken that has been cooked with salt for hours and encased in bread. He sets fire to the dish and peels away the coating to reveal a perfectly cooked chicken served with eggplant.

Our dessert was the Pasa Kadayif— sweet thin strands of shredded filo dough with crushed pistachios, baked until crispy. It was served with goat’s milk ice-cream.

The Verdict: Kaftan is a lovely place to take the family for a laid-back, but delicious meal reminiscent of Ottoman and Turkish regional cuisine. The service is extremely attentive and undoubtedly, this is one of the best Turkish eateries in town.

Visit: Kaftan Turkish Gourmet, Jumeirah 1, La Mer south