If you’re looking for great international cuisine, London has it in spades. But sometimes your nearby options lack a bit of authenticity. That isn’t the case in Green Lanes, north London’s lively mix of Greek, Turkish, Cypriot, and Kurdish communities. Here, the food is as authentic as you can get without using your passport!
Green Lanes is one of the capital’s longest thoroughfares, running for just over 12 kilometres from Newington Green north through Finsbury Park and into Enfield. Of course, with a road this length, there are many amazing options, but you decide to try the cosmopolitan suburb of Harringay. You take the tube to Turnpike Lane, then stroll south past Ducketts Common towards a lively restaurant and shopping district. You are thrilled by the area’s vibrancy, and the smells and sights entice you from all angles.
There are many food choices here, but it is undoubtedly the Turkish restaurants that stand out on this bustling street. There’s Devran, followed by Gökyüzü, then Tantuni & Kunefe. But you choose Antepliler, a long-established Turkish restaurant that has a reputation for unforgettable baklava. The first thing you feel as you walk in is the heat from the huge clay oven. With the nights getting colder, this is a real bonus! With such an impressive place to cook them, the flatbread and lahmacun (spiced Turkish lamb and tomatoes on flatbread) are first class, as is the lamb kofte. The fresh hummus is ideal for dipping, but you know not to eat too much because it is very filling.
The restaurant is named for the Gaziantep region of Turkey, near the border with Syria, which is where much of the recipes at Antepliler come from. Turkey is a huge country and its food is essentially a fusion of central Asian, Middle Eastern, Mediterranean and Balkan cuisines, but can vary significantly between the regions. Antepliler is a family business, and the staff know what they are doing. You love the restaurants no frills approach, and the service is straightforward and friendly. Locals know there is an emphasis on eating your meal and not hanging around too long once you’ve finished, so don’t plan to stick around for more Efes lager after you’ve finished eating. You’ll have to find a nightcap at one of the many pubs and bars on Green Lanes.
Antepliler is an ideal place for a first date, particularly because there’s so much going on that there’s no chance for awkward silences to arise. You will have plenty to talk about just watching the staff try to keep up with the orders.