Ottoman and Turkish cuisine have been major performers on the world's culinary stage for centuries. Committed to keeping these historic recipes alive, Kaftan serves up national classics with portions as big as the chef's heart. Promising glamorous a view of the iconic Burj Al Arab, if you're a tourist, we'd recommend waiting until winter to nab a table outside and enjoy your meal with a side serving of postcard-perfect views. But if you're just here for the Turkish fare, Kaftan's diverse menu is sure to tickle your tastebuds!
Kaftan spans across two floors with abundant seating options for intimate meals and massive family gatherings. If you choose to book in advance, it can easily be done over the phone.
If you're chalking out Jumeirah's map in your head to plan your parking strategy, save yourself the hassle. Kaftan offers valet service and has a handful of devoted parking spaces for customers.
Greeting and seating
Pushing open Kaftan's dramatic doors (nice and heavy too, so it took some grunt work) – the first thing we were greeted with was a relieving gust of AC. On a sweltering 33C afternoon, no number of warm smiles from the maître d' could compete with a faceful of cool air. We were welcomed and promptly seated at a table beside the window, with just enough sunshine trickling in through the drapes to complement the atmosphere without turning the restaurant into a mini oven.
Knowledge and service of the waiter
Our friendly waiter blazed through the dishes we ordered with confidence explaining them in detail. Rolling every single dish's complex Turkish name off the tip of his tongue, my pen could barely keep up with him. The staff was accessible and approachable, always happy to answer a question or bring over fresh cutlery without constantly hovering over the table.
Our lunch was a siesta-inducing feast of Peyniri Kol Boregi (Turkish cheese pastry), Peynir Tabagi (Turkish cheese platter), an Anatolian mezze spread featuring eight individual dishes, Etli Yaprak Dolmasi (Turkish meat and rice stuffed vine leaves), Karisik Izgara (assortment of chicken, lamb, and beef items), Iskender (a popular Turkish meat dish), Kaftan Lokum (Turkish lamb steak), and Kunafa (pastry stuffed with cheese - dressed in sugar syrup and pistachio).
Leaving soups and salads at the door, we dove straight in with a Turkish cheese platter and Anatolian mezze spread. Both highly recommended, and highly enjoyed. The platter focused the spotlight on Turkey's dairy superstars – tulum, feta, kashar, and a couple other national classics. Accented with grapes, dried apricots, walnuts, figs, and edible flowers – my first thought was "France, your cheese better watch its back". All that was missing was a shot of raki (Turkic aperitif). Next up was the mezze spread, a delightful journey of fascinating flavors.
On the platter sat doll-sized portions of burgul with pomegranate sauce, zucchini with eggplant, mashed potato, dollops of Turkish hummus (prepared from pine kernels instead of chickpeas), mouttabal, tzatziki, and eggplant with rice. Despite growing up in the Middle East, my platter is surprisingly new to Turkish cuisine. This versatile platter was the perfect crash course! Sweet and savory flavors dominated the spread, and just when I slipped into my comfort zone, a punch of spice snuck up on me and gave my tastebuds a wake up call. Well played, Kaftan.
We prepared ourselves for the main course in the warm embrace of the next course – Turkish dolmas and cheese pastry bread. The dolmas were basically the food version of that friend you call when you're in the mood to kick back on the couch and play video games in your sweat pants. Low-maintenance and always up for a good time. The cheese pastry bread complemented the dolmas effortlessly – upping this course's comfort food factor.
MEAT was the name of the game when it was time for our main course. Our table was loaded with monstrous portions of everything from kebabs to freshly sliced steak. You know the meaty main course is serious when you feel like you need to get your ID card out just to get access to the steak knife. It's no secret that Turkish kitchens are some of the best places to find beautifully prepared meat. Right from the tomato-oozing Iskander to the tender lamb steak, we were impressed.
With plans of pitching a tent right in the middle of the restaurant and taking a nap, we strived through to the final course – dessert. A humble portion of cheese kunafa glided over from the kitchen, embellished with a seductive mound of crushed pistachios. An ideal balance between crunchy and creamy, it's always an automatic win with this dish!
Courtesy extended during the meal
Service was on par with most restaurants in Dubai. The manager briefly greeted us at the start of the meal while the rest of the team was always around to ensure everything was going along swimmingly. Our meal ended on a sweet note with three complimentary cups of tea kissing us goodbye.
You'd be more likely to find a local family at Kaftan than a hipster with his Snapchat crew. The restaurant sports semi-formal vibes, probably making someone dressed in a snapback and flip flops feel out of place. Turkish music jingled in the background as we enjoyed a classic recipe for a lovely time – good food, good service, and good company.
Our meal featured 12 items for three guests. Now, that isn't how much the average diner's meal would be at Kaftan. At MenuPages.ae, we work (and eat) hard to ensure our readers have a wide understanding of a restaurant's various menu items. A reasonable estimate for a meal for two at Kaftan would be approximately AED 300.
Overall, would you return?
Sure! With a mission to wade through the breakfast and dessert menu.
Iskander, yogurt kofta, cheese kunafa, ice cream baklava, and pasa.