Everyone in Adana knows Kazım Büfe, which ranks at the top of our list. Since 1938 they have been actively serving customers with their renowned banana smoothie and toast. They became so famous that they extended their business to Istanbul, and opened a buffet in the district of Beşiktaş.
There isn’t a single calm moment for Kazım Büfe, every time of the day people line up to grab a drink and toast. What makes them so popular is the 100% Natural Juices that they prepare in front of you. You can be as creative as you want and even order mixed flavors, such as carrot-orange, which is my personal favorite.
Let's talk about their best-known drink, the banana smoothie. People from all around Turkey come to Adana to have this drink. You might wonder, “What is so special about this drink then?” Let me briefly explain, the milk they use is frozen beforehand, which is what elevates the flavor and turns the smoothie into a fluffy, airy, fresh drink. It makes for a perfect refreshment in the extreme heat of summer.
Usually, people coming here also order a toast to have with their drink. You have multiple options but my personal favorite is the Yengen Tost, a toast with cheese, sucuk (Turkish sausage), and a slice of tomato. If you don’t like sucuk, you can also go for a simple toasted cheese sandwich.
Kazım Büfe is located in the city center of Adana, on Toros Street, which makes it easy to access.
İştah Kebap 1950
Iştah Kebap is a hidden gem in Adana, not everyone knows it but it's the best kebap in Adana. Only people who know how a good quality kebab should taste can find this place with their eyes closed.
Located in the Old Town of Adana, near the Great Clock Tower, Iştah kebap has been serving customers since 1950 without losing their quality. As they say, consistency is the key to success. A lot of people mistake another kebab place, also called Iştah, for the real one. So, don’t enter the first Iştah kebab restaurant you encounter.
The Adana Kebap prepared there is thick, juicy, and melts in your mouth, everything you would look for in a well-prepared kebab. Another highlight of Iştah is their Şalgam, or turnip juice. It is fresh and flavorful, and pairs perfectly with the kebap. Moreover, they fill the table with delicious side salads, all of which are included in the price. For those who prefer, there is also chicken and other options to choose from.
Tarihi Büyüksaat Ciğercisi Memet Usta
Tarihi Büyüksaat Ciğercisi Memet Usta is one of the most popular kebab places in Adana. After Iştah Kebap 1950, this would be my second go-to for a good kebab. Ciğerci Memet, as mentioned in its name, is especially known for its Ciğer Şiş, Liver Skewers. In one portion, 7 liver skewers are plated and served along with delicious salads. Their kebab is also very flavorful and juicy, but when compared with Iştah its portion is much thinner.
Located just next to the Great Clock Tower, in the Old Town of Adana, gives it a very nice authentic vibe. That’s what I really enjoyed, from one side you hear the coppersmiths working, and from the other the vendors trying to attract customers. Even if it's only to experience the authentic atmosphere, it’s worth it. The fun and warm energy of the head chef, Memet, is what makes them so popular as well. He really knows how to make a show of it, which is fun to watch.
Yörük Obası Sıkma
Sıkma is a specialty of Adana, it's a thinly rolled dough filled with a mix of onion and white cheese or spiced potatoes. The majority of people living outside of Adana don’t even know the name ‘Sıkma’. The name Sıkma comes from the verb ‘squeezing’, as after filling the dough it is tightly rolled up by squeezing it.
While in Adana, I went to 6 different places, to find the best Sıkma. For me, a good Sıkma has to have a good, flavorful filling, and a soft baked dough. What I like most about ‘Yörük Obası’ is that they still utilize the old baking technique, a woodfire sheet, which makes a huge difference believe me. Apart from Sıkma, they also have options as ‘Gözleme’; a savory stuffed turnover, ‘İçli Köfte’; stuffed bulgur meatballs with ground beef, and ‘Mantı’; Turkish Dumplings. Everything they make here is of high quality, and recommend you enjoy your savory treats with a fresh glass of Ayran, a Turkish yogurt drink.
This place is a hidden gem of Adana. Located in the back streets of the Old Town, Börekçi Rıza, opens its doors at 5 pm in the evening until 8 am. Apart from that at night from 4.30 am until 8 am in the morning, they walk around the Old City center with a trolley, selling their Börek. Catch them if you can.
In their small kitchen, you can watch them making the börek from scratch, which is fascinating. They serve two flavors, one with a special mix of cheeses, and the other with ground beef and onion. Both of them go perfectly with a cold glass of homemade Ayran, a Turkish yogurt drink. If you find yourself in Adana, definitely add this place to the top of your list; you will fall in love with it the moment you see it.
As you can read from its name, this döner place isn’t specifically from Adana, but Antakya (Antioch). However, I still wanted to put this place in the highlighted list, as their döner is one of the best in Adana. What makes this place so delicious is the seasoned spices and garlicky sauces they use. There you can also go for other options, but I recommend you go for the basic Antakya Döner Menü. Hummus can also be ordered which is also a great combination. Having two branches in Adana, Antiochia Döner is the right place for a good quality döner.
Ağaçaltı Tatlıcısı is a 5 generation business and has been selling Burma Tatlı for 85 years in the same spot. When Adana is mentioned, it’s the first dessert place that comes to mind. Since day one, they never lost their quality or left their customers disappointed.
Burma Tatlı is a deep-fried fermented dough, dipped into syrup and served fresh. The best part of it is that the crunchy fried dough isn’t left too long in the syrup, thus the sweetness isn’t overwhelming. Moreover, for years they have been using no other oil than cotton oil, which doesn’t affect your cholesterol and is classified as a beneficial oil.
Crunchy, sweet, fresh, and delicious, what else could you wish for? Located beside Karataş Road, Ağaçaltı is the perfect drop-by dessert place, where you can grab your Burma on your way.
Katmerci Dayı is one of Adana’s biggest dessert places in Adana. Located at the end of Turgut Özal Boulevard, Katmerci Dayı serves you tons of different syrupy sweets. As you can get from its name, Katmer is their specialty, which is a very thin filo pastry filled with pistachio nuts, and Kaymak, a creamy dairy product similar to clotted cream.
The filled dough is folded into a square shape and baked in the oven until golden crispy. Apart from that, Katmerci Dayı is also very popular for its chocolate-filled Muska, which is a triangle filo pastry filled with creamy chocolate and sent to the oven until crispy. You also have other filling options as Kaymak, Pistachios, or Chocolate & Kaymak, depending on your personal preference. Baklava and other traditional Turkish delights are also served, but I would definitely recommend you to go for something different, such as the Chocolate Muska with a cup of tea.
The best part of it is that they have an open kitchen, which lets you watch the chefs preparing and stretching the giant extra-thin filo dough in front of your eyes. Even if it's only to watch them prepare the desserts, it's still worth it. Apart from that, they present you with small bowls of nuts, milk, and fruit, all of which are included in the price.
Helvanın Mucidi Hacı Ahmet Şahin
Located in the back streets of the Old City Center of Adana, this place dates back to 1884. For so many years, they never lost their quality and everything they make is 100% natural. You can find different sorts of delights, freshly made tahini, and other delicious treats. The smell of roasted sesame seeds welcomes you the moment you step into the store.
One of their most popular delights, Cezerye, an Adana specialty, is made from candied carrots and nuts. They freshly cut it into pieces and drop them into shredded coconut. You can also go for different flavors, such as mint, pomegranate, or classic.
Definitely add this place to your checklist, and pay it a visit while walking around the Old Town. If you are looking for a gift or souvenir, this could be a nice and delicious option. A box filled with delights, what could be better?