Mixed grilled meats at Mangal 2.

I eat a lot of Turkish food (as a quick spin through the Turkish Cuisine archive will demonstrate). I don’t get much of it in Rome (unless I make it myself or snag an invite to Vinoroma‘s place) and I don’t get to Turkey as often as I’d like (which would be every other day), so when I am in London, I take advantage of the plethora of good, authentic Turkish restaurants in Dalston.

Three of my favorite spots are located near one another on and around Stoke Newington Rd. All three of their names contain the word mangal, the Turkish word for a charcoal grill: Mangal Pide & Lahmacun Salonu, Mangal 1 and Mangal 2. Easy enough. Now that the East London line connects New Cross Gate and Dalston Junction, getting up to N16 for a quick bite long meal has become a breeze.


Lahmacun at Mangal Pide & Lahmacun Salonu.

Mangal Pide & Lahmacun Salonu (27 Stoke Newington Rd) is a gem. They make outstanding lahmacun, a thin and crispy flatbread topped with minced meat, tomato, peppers and spices, inside their stone oven. Now that I think of it, I don’t think Mangal Pide & Lahmacun Salonu even has a mangal. It doesn’t need one. The lahmacun are the main reason to come here. Take a place at one of the few tables and order lahmacun two at a time, reordering as necessary to prevent them from sitting too long and getting cold. Wash it all down with a cold mug of ayran and you have a simple, cheap, satisfying, and above all, authentic, meal.


Fried liver at Mangal 2.

On the opposite side of the road at 4 Stoke Newington Rd, you’ll find Mangal 2. It wouldn’t be a terrible idea to stop by Mangal Pide & Lahmacun Salonu for a lahmacun or two before heading over to Mangal 2. Really, one can never have too many appetizers.

Mangal 2 is an ocakbaşı, grill house, which serves nice mezes and charcoal-grilled meats and vegetables. I especially love their arnavut ciğeri, lightly fried lamb liver. They also serve awesome döner, meat sliced off a turning vertical skewer. The lamb is really nice quality, which, unfortunately, is not a given and is quite hard to come by in most places. Their grilled meats are excellent, as well. Go with a group of carnivorous friends and to get a bunch of mezes followed by a platter of mixed grilled meats–chicken wings, lamb chops, ribs–a serving of döner and a bunch of salads. That is a recipe for perfection.


Döner at Mangal 2.

For a slightly simpler setting and menu, check out Mangal 1, an old school ocakbaşı located just off Stoke Newington Rd at 10 Arcola Street. The main difference between Mangals 1 and 2 is that the former has no liquor license so if you wish to drink alcohol with your meal, pick up an Efes or bottle of rakı at one of the shops on Stoke Newington Rd. The two Mangals have no official affiliation, though, strangely, they have identical web design.