Are You Ready for the Feast of Delicious Tastes?

When you visit a city, you want to see those differences what make up that city, as well as the special spots, historical places, regions symbolizing the city and the dishes unique to the city like Iskender in Bursa, manti in Kayseri, Akcaabat meatball in Trabzon, kebab in Adana, boyoz in Izmir etc. What if you happen to pass by Antalya, where Lycia and Pamphylia were located and which hosted Seljuks, and thus inherited the food and culture of many civilizations and nations? Cuisine of Antalya, the family of delicious tastes, consists of local dishes which emerged, developed and passed down to next generations on its own lands, recipes that are gifts from Cretan immigrants, dishes brought from the old city traditions to the present time, as well as the dishes that are included in the cuisine through international interaction. Antalya is a city where also foreign people immigrate due to its climate and natural beauties. However, as for every city culture, Antalya has its own local cuisine, which bears the traces of mainly nomad (yoruk) lifestyle. The traces of the nomad culture had an effect on the city until the 1960s. The presence of fresh vegetables and fruits is also evident by the warm climate and common practice of greenhousing in Antalya. This is why the menus are both delicious and rich.

The traces of Arabic and Cretan cuisine in Antalya offer a unique taste and flavor to this cuisine. Most of these dishes, which linger in memories when once tasted in the world of taste, and which are longed for, emerged in Antalya, and left mark on the city menu.

When it comes to Antalya, firstly sea and then meatballs on skewers-piyaz comes to mind. Especially for taste hunters and those with gourmet taste buds, this delicious cuisine is likely to be the cuisine that comes to mind first. Seafood, citrus and sesame are mainly used in Antalya cuisine. Tahini is a delicious ingredient used frequently in many of the dishes and desserts. In this unique kitchen, meat, vegetables, legumes and pastries are blended in a harmony.

Antalya is a city that is rich in local dishes. Although what comes to our minds first is the trio of meatballs on skewers-piyaz-pumpkin dessert with walnut and tahini, the local dishes cooked in the kitchens of the houses and most-established restaurants are also gastronomically valuable. Here are some suggestions for the most delicious dishes in Antalya …

What To Eat In Antalya

Antalya-Style Piyaz

If you visit Antalya for vacation or business purposes, then you will hear the word piyaz frequently. It is so famous that there are even restaurants which only serve piyaz. It is the most special dish among numerous recipes. It always takes the lead in the list of delicious dishes in Antalya cuisine.  What makes it a dish unique to Antalya is its sauce. The boiled and mashed beans are mixed with tahini and then poured over boiled beans. It is finished with lemon juice, vinegar and small amount of olive oil. It is served with boiled egg, finely chopped onion and tomato. This salad, which reflects the spirit of Antalya and is cooked by the delicious hands of talented cooks, is served even as a single main dish. It is a special recipe that you must taste during your visit to Antalya.

Cretan Kebab with Artichoke

As can be understood by its name, it is a special dish from Greece. When artichoke, such a delicious vegetable, combines with the fantastic flavor of meat, a taste-bud-appealing dish, which is one of the most delicious meat dishes, emerges. It looks like diced lamb fried on iron plate (sac kavurma). What makes the Cretan kebab with artichoke, which can also be made with meatballs, unique, is actually flaked meat. This soft and unique dish is made by cooking the onions in butter, and then adding the fleshed meat, artichokes and shallots in the pot. The most delicious Cretan kebabs with artichoke are cooked as it should be in the kitchens of well-established families of Antalya. You can find this delicious dish also in the menus of the restaurants and hotels serving traditional dishes. Those who like the meat and vegetable combination must taste it...

Gokcesu Pilaf

This beautifully named dish is cooked with rice and freshly picked up vegetables of Antalya. Gokcesu pilaf, which goes well with any main dish, also requires broth. The butter is melted in a pan, and then small amount of broth, cube sugar, salt, pepper, lemon juice, bay leaf, rice and chickpeas are added. When it is boiled down, the pan is taken from the stove, and served after addition of sesame and carrots. This unique pilaf is rich in flavors.

Sedik Asi

Sedik asi is a local dish that is unique to Antalya, the city of sun… This local dish, which is unique to Akseki district of Antalya, is also very famous. It is also very easy to cook. Grated banana pepper, tomato and onion are roasted in oil, and then tomato paste, fine bulgur and chicken broth are added. It is boiled and served with spices. It is a powerful dish that strengthens the body and appeals the taste buds…


Isn't it the names of the local dishes what make them interesting? The names, which are familiar only to those living in that region, sound interesting and nice for those who hear them for the first time. Just like cive. Cive, which appeals to the taste buds of those who like vegetable dishes, can be prepared either with rice or bulgur. Even if it looks like a mezze, cive is actually a filling main dish. Tomato, green pepper, onion, garlic and especially basil are the key ingredients of this light, delicious and filling dish.

Kaburga Dolmasi (Roasted Lamb Rib)

Kaburga dolmasi (roasted lamb rib) is not only one of the local dishes that is unique to Antalya, but also one of the famous dishes throughout the country. It is among the delicious dishes.  Even only its name is enough to whet the appetite. The yogurt spread on the rib and seasoned rice play an important role on this delicious dish. Richly seasoned rice and well-roasted lamb rib turn the meal into a feast. We can say that kaburga dolmasi (roasted lamb rib) is one of the unique dishes that must be tasted.

Dugun Soup (Turkish Wedding Soup)

Soups play an indispensable and valuable role on menus. The meal starts with soup, it is praised first, and its taste still lingers on. Don't underestimate soups. Some soups are like main dishes. Such soups are highly nutritional, filling and delicious. Dugun soup (Turkish wedding soup) is one of these soups. Containing chicken and yogurt, the dugun soup whets the appetite with the garlic flavor. It can also be made with lamb instead of chicken. There is another version that is cooked by addition of chickpeas and meatballs, and colored with tomato paste. But if it is your first time having dugun soup, then you may prefer the one with lamb first.

Biber Frigya Dolmasi

The name of the dish sounds like a dish served during feasts in the civilizations dating back to ancient times. This dish, the cooking way of which is also as interesting as its taste, is made by frying the stuffed green peppers after dusting them in the flour and then dipping in the beaten egg. Large green peppers are filled with kibbeh ingredients, which is prepared with finely ground beef, and fried after dusting them in the flour and then dipping in the beaten egg.  It is such a delicious dish that you will eat your fingers with. Especially for those who like dolma…


It is one of the dishes that come to mind, when it comes to Antalya cuisine… Hibes is a delicious mezze from Arab cuisine. . It is also used as a sauce. The characteristic flavor of hibes is due to tahini, lemon juice, garlic and cumin. Garlic and spices also play an important role. If you are not going to serve hibes as a mezze, but use it a sauce, we can say that it goes great with pasta. You can also put it on toasted bread.

Arabic Kadayif (Tas (Stone) Kadayif)

Even though it is called as stone, it is a soft dumpling dessert.  Round doughs are folded into half-moon shape, and then filled with crushed walnuts. After being fried in hot oil, they are immersed in the syrup.  Its beauty and taste are doubled when served by sprinkling crushed pistachios over it, and with clotted cream (Turkish kaymak) on the plate.

Burnt Ice Cream

Burnt ice cream is another traditional taste unique to Antalya, which is originated from Korkuteli district. What has made this ice cream famous is the flavor that is obtained by burning goat milk while boiling. Even though there are varieties like cocoa and fruits, the original is the plain one, and what makes this ice cream attractive is the taste of burnt milk left in the mouth.  It is one of the must-taste products during your vacation in Antalya. If you like it, you will definitely be addicted to it.

The list we have compiled for the most popular local dishes of Antalya, which you can taste in numerous taste-spots in this heavenly location of Mediterranean Region, can guide you. 
Bon Appetit!

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  • Stephanie R. McDaniel
  • 12-02-2020

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