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Magnificent Mezes: A guide to Turkish Meze

7th September 2015

Meze is a word you might not be familiar with so let me explain. If you’re sitting down for a meal in a Turkish restaurant you’ll be offered a selection of mezes. Mezes are basically the equivalent of appetizers or you could think of them as a buffet style starter course. 

Most restaurants around the UK will serve bread and butter while you wait for your main dish, Turkish restaurants on the other hand will serve a much more interesting and tasty array of mezes. Different mezes are brought out on a huge tray for to you to sample while you wait for your main course, the first selection will be cold mezes and the second warm ones. Be careful you don’t fill up on them before the main course arrives though. 

Once you’ve chosen the meze you like best the tray will be returned and you’ll be served your chosen meze. Mezes are commonly served with drinks and they are meant to be eaten slowly while you converse with friends. 
Mezes are also sometimes eaten on their own without a main course and are an important part of social gatherings. 

Next time you’re in a Turkish restaurant take a look around and you’ll likely see groups of people all enjoying drinks together while enjoying their favourite mezes. You’ll find mezes practically everywhere in Turkey from small cafes to the finest restaurants, which shows how important the meze is Turkish cuisine and the Turkish dining experience.

Which Meze is for Me 

Finding your favourite meze is quite the task, but not to worry because sampling all those wondrous examples of Turkish cuisine will be quite a fun experience. The selection of mezes you are brought will vary depending on the main course you order. 

Completely different ranges of mezes are served depending of whether you order a meat or fish based dish for your main course. So you know what you’ve got to do now find a restaurant or two and enjoy your quest to find your favorite meze.

To help you out on your journey below I’ve compiled a list of some of the most common and popular mezes in Turkey. Keep in mind these are only the most common mezes out there, the list is practically endless and it changes from region to region all year round.


• Hot pepper, walnut and tomato crush

• Pinto beans in olive oil
• Stuffed vine leaves 

• Fried eggplant, vegetables with tomato sauce and garlic yogurt

• Bit sized Turkish cheeseless pizza

• Turkish fried liver and onions

• Vegetarian lentil meatballs

• Mint Yogurt Dip

• Warm hummus served with dried beef or bacon

• Fried strips of eggplant with garlic yoghurt 

• Turkish Tulum (goats) cheese

• Flat bread served with olive oil and butter 

Mezes Served with Fish Dishes 

• Feta cheese 

• Grilled eggplant salad 

• Broad / Fava Bean Mash

• Pinto beans served in olive oil and tomato sauce

• Marinated sweet red peppers

• Pickled sardine salad 

• Fish meatballs 

• Chili Tomato Paste 

• Salted sardines served in olive oil

• Fried halloumi cheese

• Artichoke salad


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