Iskender is Good: The Kebap of Bursa

So why do I spell the word kebab with a "p"? Because the Turks spell it that way, that's why!

The Iskender Kebap. You may have had it in authentic Turkish restaurants somewhere in the world (as I have), but until you've tried this unique dish in Bursa, all else pales in comparison. If, like me, you're used to the standard kebab loaded with meat and veggies in thick pita bread and drowned in garlic (and sometimes chili) sauce, then the Iskender Kebap is an attack on the senses.

iskender kebap bursa

The one and only, delicious Iskender kebap, a specialty of Bursa.

There's always a story behind a great meal and this is no different. When we told our great hosts in Bozcaada that we were coming to Bursa, the first thing they recommended was a specific place to try the famous Iskender Kebap. As such, that was our main goal while visiting there.

When we told our hotel concierge the name of the place, she immediately knew it. She directed us to a mall called Kent Meydani and told us that anyone around there could show us the place. So off we trekked through the 30 plus degree heat, following the map she marked up for us.

iskender meat kebap
We walked and walked and finally found the end of a park where the road began to take us to the Iskender. Nothing but fortress walls stood where the place was supposed to be. We asked two different locals and both pointed in a general, but totally opposite direction. We walked aimlessly as the heat and hunger was taking its toll, finally gaining help from an English-speaking Turk in another mall. We followed the new directions until we eventually saw a sign with the magic words "Kent Meydani."

cemal cemil bursa iskender

Here come our kebaps...

The long road continued and even after finding the mall, we received more incorrect directions before a super-friendly and more importantly, helpful shop owner not only researched where the place was, but drew us a map to the Iskender glory.

Once there, we were welcomed us with a huge smile and quickly ordered two Iskender Kebaps and drinks. We waited patiently whilst the busy place was pumping out orders and once they arrived, our tastebuds were treated to delights and after all the "pre-game hype", the meal delivered like Michael Jordan is his Chicago Bulls heyday. When our dishes were almost finished, our host took them away and returned full plates for a second helping. Çay followed as is customary in Turkey and, after shaking his hand and thanking him for a truly wonderful eating extravaganza, we quickly found a cab and headed for the hotel pool.

Not one but yes, two helpings were in order!

Fast Facts: The Iskender Kebap is essentially thin slices of grilled meat on a bed of soft pita bread, glazed with melted butter and tomato sauce and served with a side portion of yoghurt.

The place is Uludag Kebapcisi, Cemal & Cemil Usta located at Garaj Karsisi Sirin Sokak No. 12 Osmangazi. Ask your cab driver to take you to Kent Meydani and when you get there, ask a local to point you in the right direction.

Have you tried Iskender Kebap? If not, what's your favourite type?

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When I was in Turkey I couldn’t get enough of the kebaps! Yum!

I love their kebaps too, Michael!


what memories! Iskender kebap! Çok Güzel. just got back from turkey a week ago, and man… this post made me nostalgic and extremelly Hungry!

Thanks Miguel! Turkey is awesome!!

Oh. For. Yum. I’m a believer in hunting for a good meal. I’m a fan of this kind of thing after I’ve had a beer or two…

This kebap can be eaten anytime, anywhere!


only bursa

Where I used to live in South London kebabs are a form of biological warfare – UN inspectors would have had a field day there. It wasn’t until moving to Turkey that I learned what a wonderful cuisine the Turks have.

You’re right, Shane! Turkish food is some of the best.

Indeed it looks and sounds oh, so delicious, but I’m curious what differentiates it from other similar “kebap”? I love good eats and I always appreciate one that’s highly recommended. Maybe I’ll make it here someday. 

The quality of the lamb is what stands out here and also the pieces of pita bread underneath swimming in melted butter and tomato sauce. So good!!

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