Mantı is the Turkish version of the dumplings and deserves much fame as it is a treasured culinary tradition in Turkey. Dating back to the time Turks lived mostly in Central Asia, mantı has long been a staple food in Turkish cuisine. It’s the dish that makes the family gather around the dining table. It’s the dish that you order in when you get midnight food cravings. To a non-Turkish person, mantı can be defined as simply as minced-meat-filled dumplings similar to which have the most countries in their cuisine, though of course it’s never exactly the same. Even in Turkish cuisine, mantı comes in many different varieties. The filling may vary, the recipe may change, but when you say “mantı” the first thing that comes to mind is a ball of thin dough filled with minced, spicy meat boiled in water and served with garlicky yogurt and hot butter with red pepper powder or tomato paste. There are many variations on the classic mantı which are all utterly delicious. Mantı is a popular food in Istanbul and we can eat it all four seasons and for any occasion... The city of Kayseri in middle Anatolia is believed to be the home of the best tasting mantı. However, you don’t have to go that far, because Istanbul has its fair share of great mantı restaurants. Here are a few that are definitely worth a try, if you want to taste this time-honored food made according to various traditional and innovative recipes.
Where to eat the best mantı in Istanbul:
- Bodrum Mantı Arnavutköy: Quite popular after midnight, Bodrum Mantı features fried mantı, called Çıtır Bihter. After hours of partying, Bodrum mantı is a go-to place to end the night. Bebek Arnavutköy Caddesi No. 111, Arnavutköy; T: +90 212 2632918.
- Tazele at Kanyon has two versions of Antakya mantısı on their short menu: one with regular meat, the other filled with dried eggplant. Kanyon Shopping Mall, Büyükdere Caddesi No. 185, Levent; T: +90 2123535051
- Emek Mantı open since 1988, is one of Istanbul’s classics. Like Bodrum Mantı’s Çıtır Bihter, Saray Mantısı is a deep-fried version of mantı which we highly recommend after the traditional one. Köybaşı Caddesi No. 118, Yeniköy; T: +90 212 2626981
- Aşkana Mantı, Ulus: With a name originating from the Tatar word for “kitchen” and a capacity for a maximum of 30-35 people, this tiny place serves some of the best tasting mantı and çiğ börek in the city. Aşkana Mantı is located in Ulus, an area full of luxury apartments and houses that accommodate the rich and famous of Istanbul. Metehan Sokak, Türkel Apt No. 1/1, Ulus; T: +90 02122687442
- Guşef Mantı, Üsküdar: This is one of the best places on the Asian side that offers both Circassian and Kayseri style mantı, so make sure you leave enough room in your belly to try them both. The neighborhood is one of the most central residential zones in Üsküdar, close to hospitals and the seaside. Valide-i Atik Mahallesi Nuh Kuyusu Caddesi 155/A Bağlarbaşı, 34668 Üsküdar, T: +90 216 341 77 61
- Casita, Etiler: Casita is where you go to try a special type of fried mantı called feraye. Get the trio platter that offers small portions to taste Feraye, Temel Feraye (with spinach and cheese) and Carina vegetarian together. This 30 year-old restaurant has 9 branches around Istanbul, but the Etiler location is the one most frequented by celebrities, who live in and around the area. Aptly, the area is full of luxury properties and is also home to the famous Akmerkez, one of Istanbul’s oldest and best malls. Nispetiye caddesi, yeni çarşı 65/A Etiler, Istinye, Istanbul, T: +90 212 263 70 07
- Hingal Mantı, Çamlıca: The various Dagestan style mantı options at this place may seem confusing at first, simply because there are so many innovative versions being offered. Natural coloring agents are used to make these colorful delicacies including blue mantı with vegetables, black mantı with salmon, white-green mantı with meat and nettle, brown mantı with cheese and coffee and red mantı with meat and hot spices. Çamlıca neighborhood is also one of the must-see places in Istanbul, being one of the highest hills in the city with a majestic view of the Bosphorus. HINGAL MANTI & GÜNEŞ'İN SOFRASI, Çiftlik Mah. Cumhuriyet Cad. Miraç Sk. 3 Çavuşbaşı - Beykoz / İSTANBUL, T: +90 216326 4635 / +90 538690 4778
- Mantıcı Restaurant: Mantıcı specialises in mantı. This restaurant is relatively small (there are only 10 tables), but you’ll get your food fast as the dumplings take just three minutes to cook. Masa Manti, Caferağa mah. Moda cad. Muratbey sk. no: 1/A 34710 Istanbul,T: +90 216 348 66 00
If you are in Istanbul…don’t miss to try mantı, one of Turkey’s most famous and delicious dishes!