A city of nearly five million, Ankara has hundreds of good restaurants, but since your stay in the city will probably be brief, you only need one or two.
Here are some suggestions for where to eat in the places you’re likely to be:
Ankara’s main bus station has no fancy restaurant, but there are a dozen eateries on the two levels. On the upper level(Departures), walk to the far left or right past all the ticket offices and snack stands to find the restaurants. On the lower level (Arrivals), there are several quieter cafes, cafeterias and pastry shops (which I prefer).
The Gar Lokantasi, on the tracks (south) side of Ankara’s railway station, to the left, is a real old-fashioned Turkish place with wood-panelled walls, white-shirted waiters who take their time but never forget you, groups of diners (mostly men) laughing, chatting and smoking, and even the occasional itinerant musician. The lighting is dim not for romance but to save on electricity. The food is traditional, tasty, not fancy, not expensive, the raki, beer and wine plentiful. The room off to the left as you enter may be more congenial for couples and female travelers, depending on how boisterous the boys in the big room are. I like this fusty old place!
If you just need a sandwich, snack or drink, there are several stands in the station: quick and cheap.
Zenger Paşa Konağı
The Zenger Paşa Konağı (ZEHN-gehr pah-shah koh-nah-uh) mis a big old traditional Turkish house restored and turned into a private ethnographic museum and restaurant by Mr Zenger, who made a fortune in TV advertising. Spectacular panoramic views, interesting exhibits, and great, moderately-pricedtraditional Ottoman Turkish town-and-country dishes. Open for lunch and dinner. Go through the Parmak Kapısı (main gate) to the Citadel and turn left.
Next to the Zenger Paşa is the Kale Washington, the Citadel branch of a famous old city center restaurant, with more formal European-style dining at somehwat higher prices, evenings only.
High in the Citadel walls overlooking the Çengel Han Rahmi M Koç Museum, this old Turkish mansion has numerous dining rooms and an open-air terrace with spectacular views all the way to the Presidential Palace in the Çankaya hills to the south. The traditional food is excellent, moderately-priced and delivered expertly. Highly recommended. Enter from the plaza outside the Citadel.
The first “restored-old-Citadel-house” restaurant, the Kinaci may be the most authentic restoration. Walk through the Parmak Kapısı and straight up Kalekapısı Sokak past the Asmalı Konak Restaurant (see below) and the Angora House Hotel (see Ankara Hotels) to the Kınacı, on the right-hand side.
A smaller place on the main street within the Citadel (Kalekapısı Sokak), right next to the Angora House Hotel, it’s good for a light lunch or dinner, or a mid-morning or -afternoon pick-me-up. A few open-air tables enjoy the sun, others are inside. No views.
Divan Cafe & Divan Brasserie
These two places are within the Çengel Han Rahmi M Koç Museum opposite the Hatipoğlu Konağı, near the Citadel‘s Parmak Kapısı. Proven quality, taste, and style, with lofty prices and happy customers.