The Charlottesville 29

If there were just 29 restaurants in Charlottesville, what would be the ideal 29?

Sultan Kebab

Sultan333 2nd Street SE . Charlottesville, VA . (434) 981-0090

Why Sultan Kebab?

There is only one Turkish restaurant in Charlottesville. Fortunately, it’s a good one. So good that some chefs call it the best restaurant in town. Sultan Kebab draws on the Turkish heritages of co-owners Serhat Peker and Deniz Dikmen. Peker is from Adana, and Sultan Kebab’s Adana Kebab is stellar – grilled kebabs of ground beef, spiced with red pepper and paprika. Dikmen is from Izmir, and the Izmir Kofte Kebab is likewise excellent – grilled meatballs seasoned with onion, cumin, and garlic.

With years of experience at Clifton Inn under their belt before opening Sultan Kebab in 2012, Dikmen and Peker are committed perfectionists, and won’t put anything on the menu until they have gotten it right. The house-made pita bread warrants special mention. While “pita” has come to connote any flat bread in the United States, Sultan Kebab’s pita bread is the real thing from Turkey, discs of soft, flavorful bread, made fresh by a talented woman named Nergiza Geydarova. For sandwiches, the bread is sliced, and stuffed with your choice of kebabs, Turkish sausages, or vegetables. Regardless what the menu says, we ask for all of our sandwiches to be served on it.

What to Order

It’s difficult to go wrong at Sultan Kebab, where several items appear throughout the menu in different forms, from appetizers, to sandwiches, to platters. Below is a list of our suggestions, the owners’ favorites, and appearances in Five Finds on Friday, where a local chef or personality has named a Sultan Kebab dish as one of the best in town.

Our Picks

  • Sigara Borek
  • Lentil Soup
  • Lahmacun
  • Adana Kebab Sandwich, on pita
  • Izmir Kofte Platter
  • Ali Nazik
  • Manti

Owners’ Picks

  • Hummus Casserole (Dikmen)
  • Lentil Soup (Peker)
  • Adana and Lamb Combo Platter (Dikmen)
  • Chicken Platter (Peker)
  • Vegetarian Platter (Peker)
  • Baklava (Dikmen)
  • Rice Pudding (Dikmen)

Five Finds on Friday Picks


Photo by Tom McGovern

Five Finds on Friday: Karen Fiedler


Today’s Five Finds on Friday come from Karen Fiedler, chef of Tin Whistle Pub, among ten restaurants competing in tomorrow’s Soupapalooza charity event at Commonwealth Restaurant & Skybar, from 12 pm until 4 pm.  A $10 ticket buys guests tasting-size samplings of all of the entrants’ soups, including restaurants like Clifton Inn, Public Fish & Oyster, and Parallel 38.  Guest also receive happy hour specials and a full bowl of their favorite of the soups.  Tin Whistle’s entries will be Nantucket Clam Chowder and Mole Cactus Andouille. Purchase tickets here.  Fiedler’s picks:

1) Tacos de Lengua at El Tesoro Mexican Deli.  “El Tesoro is a small family owned restaurant in Palmyra. The tongue tacos are incredibly tender and authentic.”

2)  Crispy Duck Confit Leg and Sweet Potato Waffles at Rapture.  “Wonderful take on a southern classic. Skin was perfectly crispy and the meat moist and tender. I love sweet potatoes, and the waffles were a perfect accompaniment.”

3)  Dakota Bread from Great Harvest Bread Company.  “Right balance of wholesome with a touch of sweet. Filling and perfect breakfast toast.”

4)  Chocolate Croissant from MarieBette Cafe & Bakery. “Can’t go wrong with any of their pastries, but the classic French croissant is one of the best.”

5)  Kinda Vegan Burger at Citizen Burger Bar.  “While I love meat, I appreciate a place that can make a great vegetarian/vegan burger, and this is one that I want to stuff my face into.”

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