Last year, on our way back to DC, we had an unexpected layover in Istanbul. Though it was only a 24-hour stay, this was enough time to renew our love for Turkish cuisine. We transformed, turning into döner kebab and shawarma hunters from that moment on.

Unable to satiate our love of Turkish cuisine, we took our search back home. We found a hidden gem at the Mt. Vernon Triangle in Washington, D.C., which transported us back to our Istanbul layover, with the honeycomb pattern on the walls and the large mural of the Hagia Sophia. The glimmering, deep-blue pendants, and whitewashed walls also made us feel like we were back in this beautiful city.

The Ottoman Taverna has all halal dishes and offers both a pre-fixe and a-la-carte menu. Because we were familiar with Turkish food, we ordered a few mezzes and a family platter. Even if you’re the most ravenous of carnivores, you will be awed by the many vegetarian mezzes served here. With its vibrant color and unique taste, the Pembe Sultan will melt your heart as you indulge in this delicious meal of beets and labneh yogurt. If you find yourself having difficulty deciding, the mixed grill will give you a little bit of everything, from lamb chops, beef and lamb kofte, chicken sis, Adana kebab, and döner kebab. Though we have tasted better lamb chops before, the döner and Adana kebab were an absolute delight.

Any journey into Turkish cuisine would be incomplete without the Ottoman ritual of a cup of Turkish coffee – the perfect end to an authentic Turkish experience, but definitely not our last visit!

Ottoman Taverna

425 I St NW, Washington, DC

Michelin Bib Gourmand • Great food for good value
Full Halal Menu

Our Experience

Pembe Sultan




Içli Köfte


Chefs Mix Grill for Two


One of the beautiful things about the human race is that we have not just added flavor to food but allowed food to flavor our existence.

– Mr. & Mrs. Bhuriwala