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Five Restaurants to Try This Weekend

Rather, five excellent Turkish restaurants to try this weekend

Grilled octopus at Skewd Kitchen
Zeren Wilson

This weekly column suggests five restaurants to try during the weekend. There are three rules: The restaurants must not be featured in either the Eater 38 Essential map, nor the monthly-updated Heatmap, and the restaurant must be outside Zone 1.

Gallipoli Again

Younger sibling of the slightly more raucous Gallipoli Cafe / Bistro, Gallipoli Again offers homely, wallet-friendly Turkish food in a narrow, bustling room adorned with fanciful lighting and a portrait gallery’s worth of photos. On a large menu there are probably as many misses as there are hits, but it’s hard to go too far wrong. Anything involving the house tomato sauce is likely to be a highlight, especially the patlican kizartma (fried aubergine) and an outstanding (and very substantial) beyti kebap, though the food is just part of the cosy, cheery package. This is a place for large groups and late nights, for 20-quid bottles of punchy Turkish wine knocked back like water. Friendly, generous, accommodating service makes totally losing track of time all the easier, and draws Islington locals back to Gallipoli Again (and again). —George Reynolds
120 Upper Street, N1 1QP

Evin Café

In keeping with this week’s theme (how much attention have you been paying?), here’s another Turkish favourite. Evin Café on Kingsland High Street is a casual, all-day spot that has it all: breakfasts, meze, soups, stews, kebabs. Go for big, yoghurty, inexpensive lunches, or drink generously honeyed strawberry frappes quietly at the back. Menemen (scrambled eggs with tomatoes, peppers, chilli and paprika) is a saviour. Or try this: mucver — deep fried courgette patties, with lots of cacik (Turkish tzatziki) and rice. The difference between the three versions of this dish on offer (starter, lunch, other) remains a mystery, so — top tip — ask for “whichever’s the biggest.” —Laura Goodman
115 Kingsland High Street, E8 2PB

Stone Cave

In keeping with this week’s theme, Stone Cave is a stone’s throw from Evin Café, with another excellent all-day Turkish, Red Art, sandwiched between them. No messing about with buyer’s choice: Stone’s, ahem, stone walls tread the underrated line between subterranean luxury and Bond villain HQ, amplifying the enticing soundtrack of happy chatter, the clink of cutlery on cleaned plates. Enough said. Essential starters are hummus, sucuk sausages and kisir, a herb and cracked wheat salad, in that order, as it should be. The iskender kebab drenches either lamb or chicken in garlic, tomato, yoghurt and butter, primed to be scooped up with crackling, pillowy bread. —James Hansen
113 Kingsland High Street, E8 2PB

Skewd Kitchen

‘Anatolian with Attitude’ is the swaggering credo of Skewd, emblazoned on everything from its menus to its Instagram page. Cocky? Perhaps. Do they deliver the goods? Absolutely. Here, Maz Demir has created a Turkish restaurant with flair and originality, beginning with excellent sourcing of meat and fish, topped off with a presentational flourish that immediately marks them out from many of the more indistinguishable mangals. Lamb shish is several strides ahead of most — quality of the meat shining through — and the Adana kebab is possibly the best in London. This buzzing Cockfosters spot may be in the ‘badlands’ of Zone 5 on the Piccadilly line, but is well worth the trek. —Zeren Wilson
12 Cockfosters Parade, Barnet EN4 0BX

Cirrik 1

The best Turkish restaurants feel so much more than part of the community — they have all the warmth and hospitality of home. And so it is at Cirrik 1, where people of all ages gather in happy groups to eat fantastic lamb beyti kebabs and lahmacun in a room overhung with charcoal smoke. Oh, and among the greatest charred onion, pomegranate and sumac (izgara soğan) salads in town. —Chris Pople
34 Stoke Newington Road, N16 7XJ

Skewd Kitchen

12 Cockfosters Parade, , England EN4 0BX 020 8449 7771 Visit Website

Cirrik 1

34 Stoke Newington Road, London , N16 7XJ Visit Website

Gallipoli Again

120 Upper Street, London, N1 1QP Visit Website

Evin Café

115 Kingsland High Street, London, E8 2PB

Stone Cave

113 Kingsland High Street, London, E8 2PB

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