Handmade Mantı – So Much More Than Just Turkish Ravioli With Yoghurt

Mantı is one of the traditional Turkish dishes you must try at least once during your stay in Istanbul. It is often called Turkish ravioli with yoghurt, but that is selling this delicious dish short.
The trick is to find the best mantı in town. This means finding the places where they serve the handmade version, with both tasteful fillings and toppings alike. But don’t worry, we’ll guide you the way.

Picture of a served plate of mantı, a traditional Turkish dish, often called Turkish ravioli.
Mantı or Turkish ravioli. © Photo by Ekke

Handmade Mantı – There Is No Substitute!

You could think of mantı as some kind of dumplings. The two parts of the ingredients are the dough and the filling. The dough is made of water, flour and salt. Some prefer to add eggs to increase the flavor. The thinner the dough and the smaller the wrapped pieces are, the more masterful is the cook. The filling contains grounded beef or lamb, onion, salt and pepper.

Picture of the making of mantı, also called Turkish ravioli.
Making mantı. © Thebittenword

Although the ingredients are simple, making mantı the correct way is a tedious job. The laborious process is to make thin sheets of dough, cut them into squares of 1 or 1,5 centimeters, and of course put the kneaded filling in the center and wrap the dough in small bundles. The legend goes that if a spoonful of mantı contains less than 40 pieces, then the single girl who makes the dish is not a good, skillful bride to be.

Mantı Is Served In Two Ways

There are two main ways of cooking and serving mantı:

  • Boiled in plain water — the filled dough parts are served with a combination of yogurt and garlic, and a tomato sauce topping. The amount of yogurt sauce is typically much greater than the tomato sauce, yet according to your liking you can adjust the amounts.
  • Boiled in tomato sauce — the filled dough parts are again served with a yogurt and garlic combination. Of course you’re again invited to add extra spices such as sumac, mint and grounded red pepper to your liking.

My Favorite Mantı Restaurants

Our favorite mantı restaurants are Casita and newcomer Kaşık-la. The latter originated in Kayseri, which is unofficially called the birthplace of mantı. Unfortunately, both are located outside Beyoğlu or Sultanahmet, but can be easily reached by public transportation or taxi.

Nispetiye Cad. No:5
Beşiktaş – Etiler
+90 212 263 70 07

Cevahir Shopping Mall
Büyükdere Cd. Cevahir Alışveriş Merkezi Kat. 3
Şişli – İstanbul
+90 212 380 03 33

İstinye Park Shopping Mall
İstinye park A.V.M. Pınar Mah. no:261
+90 212 345 60 50

Further Recommended Reading

  1. What Is Baklava – and Where To Find the Best Baklava in Istanbul?
  2. Top 10 Things to Eat in Istanbul
  3. What to Drink in Istanbul?
  4. Join My Weekly Live Q&A Group Call

Last updated on 03/07/2015