Whatever’s happening with the weather, there’s still some sunshine to be found inside one of the growing selection of vibrant independent Greek and Turkish restaurants in Harrogate. The trend that was started by the likes of Konak Meze and Istanbul a few years ago has really taken off recently and we’re almost spoilt for choice thanks to a sprinkling of newcomers on the indie scene in recent months.
Read on for a quick taste tour of some of our favourites but, as always, do let us know if we’ve missed out any that you think deserve a mention.
Mykonos has taken over the space that was previously occupied by Salsa Posada and has transformed it into a little piece of Greece. Although the opportunities to dine al fresco on its decked frontage may be few and far between in Yorkshire, it all adds to the sense that you’re stepping into a traditional tavern.
The menu has everything you would expect from a Greek restaurant, and it’s all freshly made. There’s hummus and homemade pitta, aubergine dip, skewers and kebabs and, of course, Moussaka (lamb or vegetarian). The chef is happy to cater for vegans, and sweet-toothed diners will love the Baklava and Stafidhopitta. The fixed price menu offers a good choice and is good value for money at 13.95 for two courses. It’s available all day Sunday to Thursday and from 12 noon to 5.30pm on Friday and Saturday.
Having opened their first family restaurant in Leeds a few years ago, Souvlaki expanded into Harrogate earlier this year on Station Square, where Bib and Tucker used to be.
Specialising in Greek and Cypriot cuisine, the portion sizes are hearty and their souvlaki dishes are served with salad and chips, which is great for anyone with a big appetite. The menu includes sharing platters and mezes, all of which can be washed down with a chilled bottle of Greek beer. If wine is more your thing, there’s a good selection which have been specially selected from the Grammenos Family Winery in Corfu.
The restaurant is small and friendly with a large open kitchen area and the whole place has a family-run feel. Souvlaki is open 7 days a week from midday until 10.30pm (late night opening until 12.30am on Friday and Saturday).
Istanbul is particularly popular among families, and it’s not hard to see why: generous portions and good value for money are top of the agenda. It offers an extensive menu of Turkish dishes, from falafel and stuffed vine leaves to start, through lamb kofte and moussaka, to a sucuk and halloumi salad. There’s also a selection of meze dishes that are great for sharing, or a selection plate if you prefer a bit of everything for yourself.
For the less adventurous, there are pizzas on the menu too, and the children’s dishes offer a choice of Turkish and English food. The dessert menu is a mix of Mediterranean and British, covering everything from sticky toffee pudding to Turkish-style rice pudding.
It’s under the special offers that Istanbul comes into its own: two courses for £12.99 at lunchtime, including a small drink, or two courses for £15.99 from the evening specials menu. Whatever you choose, the portions are large and will keep even the hungriest visitor happy.
With plenty of dining space, this is a great place for groups to dine, and there’s always a lively atmosphere, even mid-week. In the run-up to Christmas, they’re holding belly dancing nights to give a flavour of a traditional Turkish event. Meanwhile, the restaurant is also open with a special menu on Christmas Day, Boxing Day and New Year’s Day. If you don’t fancy cooking, or roast turkey with all the trimmings isn’t your thing, head for Istanbul for a very different Christmas lunch – the food and atmosphere are bound to be memorable.
While we’d always advise taking TripAdvisor rankings with a pinch of salt, this relative newcomer to the Harrogate scene has soared right to the top of the list, so it must be doing something right. It took over the space left when the Yorkshire Meatball Company moved out, and has really made it its own. From the fairy lights in the window to the rustic kitchen accessories decorating the walls, this place has a great atmosphere and a warm, welcoming feel.
The menu is distinctively Mediterranean: souvlaki, moussaka and falafel are all on the list, but so are some more unusual dishes you might not have encountered before. The sharing platters give you the chance to taste a range of dishes, while the range of salads is a great lighter option while still offering those Mediterranean flavours.
A regularly-updated specials menu means there’s always something new to try, while the daytime set menu offers great value with two courses for £11. Christmas and New Year can also be celebrated here, with special menus and groups made welcome.
What shines through everything is the authenticity: owner Olsi is originally from Greece, and his chef is his childhood friend, Ilias, who came to the UK just to help launch the restaurant. Reflecting their culture, the restaurant is all about families and friends dining together and sharing great food.
Authentic, freshly-made and delicious Turkish food is on the menu at this welcoming town centre restaurant.
Owners Fettah and Firat have combined the tastes and traditions of their home country with their decades of restaurant experience to give Harrogate a fantastic flavour of everything that’s great about Turkish cuisine.
The menu offers a fantastic choice of hearty dishes. Starters include the expected haloumi, hummus, falafel and vine leaves, but it really pays off to try something a bit different. There’s something for every taste, from Patlican Salata (smoked aubergine with mixed pepper, garlic, lemon juice and herbs) to Sucuk (chargrilled spicy Turkish beef sausages), Sigara Boregi (spinach and feta filo parcels) to the 17th century Ottoman street food dish Arnavut Ciger (pan fried lamb’s liver). If you’re having trouble deciding, the hot and cold sharing platters are a great option.
The mains are equally as mouth-watering, with a large choice of grilled meats, seafood, vegetable dishes, and traditional Turkish cuisine including a variety of stews and casseroles.
Squeeze in a dessert and you won’t be disappointed. There’s a small but scrumptious selection that includes baklava and dark chocolate mousse with Turkish coffee. Or try the Sutlac, an oven-baked traditional Turkish rice pudding that’s served cold with the most amazing Turkish delight ice cream, made by another Harrogate indie, Vanilli’s.
Did we mention that Konak Meze is great value for money too? Aside from the very reasonably priced a la carte menu, there are also some great lunchtime deals. A trio of mezes with a glass of wine is £9.95 while an a la carte starter and main costs £13.95 (days and times vary). For a lighter lunch, homemade sandwiches and fresh salads are available for £6.95.