A popular restaurant and destination along East Hampton’s Three Mile Harbor Road, El Turco Hamptons opens for its second summer this weekend with expanded culinary options, extended hours and a brand-new events catering arm: Chef Meze.
Showcasing the sophistication of Turkish and Mediterranean cuisine, El Turco Hamptons, which features the delectable creations of superstar executive chef Yilmaz Güney, is the sister restaurant of El Turco Miami, which was awarded the coveted Michelin Bib Gourmand in 2022 and 2023.
EXPANDED MENU, LOCAL FARE AT EL TURCO HAMPTONS
In addition to tasty Turkish mainstays, this year Chef Güney peppers the menu with an array of Mediterranean farm-to-table dishes, notes Cagri Kanver, the face of El Turco, along with partner Frank Cilione, behind bringing the El Turco experience to the Hamptons. Chef Güney, who grew up in Istanbul, adds a selection of Mediterranean-style fish and seafood dishes and seasonal vegetables to the mix of Turkish delights.
“Since we learned about the Hamptons’ dynamic and people’s expectations, we are offering more local foods,” says Kanver. “We’re sourcing the food, especially the fish and vegetables, from local suppliers.”
Turkish specialties include diyarbakir usulu kavurma (lamb served with rice pilaf, cacik and mixed pickled vegetables), kuzu incik (lamb shank with rice pilaf and grilled vegetables), and the ever popular meze appetizers, including hummus (homemade daily and served with paprika oil and pepper), cacik (shredded cucumber, dill and mint in garlicky yogurt), sarma (grape leaves stuffed with rice, currants and spices) and roasted beet hummus (with lemon, coriander, garlic and cumin).
Noting that most of the cuisine is “Anatolian,” as Turkey was formerly known, Kanver explains that the food comes from the cradle of civilization, a region where different nationalities shared many of the same dishes, such as hummus.
“The food has many vegetarian elements which combine to give the best taste and unique flavor, from baba ghanoush to tzatziki to hummus to eggplant,” says Kanver, who quips, “These small plates, mezes, are the best food, as long as you’re not touching the bread.”
El Turco is changing perceptions of Eastern Mediterranean cuisine. When most people think of Turkish food, they think of simple, inexpensive kebabs found at food carts and small kiosks in New York City.
“Our restaurant is serving unique, traditional Turkish cuisine which has thousands of years history, originating with the Ottoman Empire,” Kanver says. “Turkish food is delicious; it shouldn’t mean cheap or less quality. What we are trying to do here is promote our unique flavors to the Hamptons audience.”
Returning this season to the menu are standout entrees, including the El Turco kebab (meatball wrapped in filo dough, with charred eggplant, yogurt and garlic), chicken skewers Antep-style (chicken marinated with tomato and pepper paste, served with grilled tomato and pepper) and fish kebab (skewered, fresh market fish with seasonal vegetables).
EXTENDED HOURS, NEW RESERVATIONS
With yet even later opening hours on weekends, El Turco is likely to become a more sought-after nightlife venue, featuring live entertainment, DJs and dancing.
Reservations can now be made online through the Resy app, which is used with many of the world’s best restaurants, and for those too relaxed to leave home, the restaurant will continue to use the Uber Eats delivery service.
NOW CATERING TO THE HAMPTONS
To serve the growing demand for special events in the Hamptons — from rehearsal dinners to weddings, anniversaries, fundraisers and all manner of private parties — El Turco Hamptons has added Chef Meze, an all-new catering arm to its business.
“I think this will be our differentiator in the market to provide catering services from the same kitchen with the same chefs,” says Kanver, adding that demand is strong with Chef Meze already securing a number of events in advance of the season.
Under the supervision of El Turco’s executive chef Yilmaz Güney, Chef Meze will deliver a white-glove service featuring carefully curated cuisine with seasonal flavors and natural ingredients, all adding up to truly unique, memorable taste sensations.
A cut above other catering companies that offer slight variations on the same theme, Chef Meze introduces delicious world cuisine and a choice of nine different menus for parties throughout the Hamptons, from Southampton to Montauk and Sag Harbor.
Chef Güney says he’s excited “to showcase and tailor our offerings to your specific needs.”
He adds, “In addition to our delicious edibles, we are also highly skilled in pairing the perfect beverages with our curated menus to truly complement the overall guest experience.”
Located at 44 Three Mile Harbor Road in East Hampton, El Turco Hamptons is open for dinner Monday to Saturday, 5–11 p.m. Typically closed on Sundays, the restaurant is open now through Columbus Day weekend. On Fridays and Saturdays, entertainment runs 10 p.m.–2 a.m. For more info, call 631-616-8875 or visit elturcohamptons.com