Rob Greig / Time Out
Time Out rating:
Time Out says
Posted: Mon Jul 2 2012
Some things have changed round here since Mangal Ocakbasi opened over 20 years ago. A Time Out review from the early 1990s framed on the wall shows how prices have tripled: two could feast for a tenner back then. But other things have stayed the same. The restaurant still excels at grilled meat; the enormous mangal by the entrance, which pumps smoke halfway down Arcola Street, has never failed us yet. Don’t bother with the starters – we weren’t moved by bog-standard tarama, houmous and patlıcan salata ungenerously smeared on to small plates. But the cop sis and the tavuk beyti were everything we had hoped for: the first, the most rich and succulent grilled lamb we’ve had anywhere; and the tavuk a delicately garlicky, melty kebab of minced chicken. This is a tatty place that relies upon its grill chefs juggling skewers and flipping meat for character, and service could be friendlier. But the kebabs here still sing, and that’s all that really matters.
Mangal Ocakbasi 10 Arcola Street
- Venue phone:
020 7275 8981
- Venue website:
- Opening hours:
Meals served noon-midnight daily
Tube: Dalston Kingsland rail or bus 67, 76, 149, 243
Main courses £10-£17.50. Corkage no charge
- 10 Arcola Street
- 020 7275 8981
- 10 Arcola Street
- Mangal Ocakbasi
Average User Rating
3.5 / 5
- 5 star:8
- 4 star:1
- 3 star:3
- 2 star:2
- 1 star:3
Always full and cramped seating, so why is this place so popular when there are dozens of other Mangal restaurants in the area? Apart from the wood burning Mangal at the entrance, which undoubtedly is a lovely feature, I don't think it warrants the wait and the rather rude service. I tried a rival down the road and was warmly welcomed, had plenty of space, ate like royalty and paid a very reasonable price. I won't bother queuing at this place again.
We were dragged here by friends who raved about this place but whose opinion I no longer respect when it comes to restaurants. The selling point was supposed to be great food at low cost. Compared to Turkish places in my area, it wasn't particularly either of these. The lamb chops seemed to be deep fat fried. Try looking for these being cooked out front, and you'll find you can't see how they're prepared, unlike the meat on skewers. The latter were good, but not presented well. The salad came piled up on a separate plate, and wasn't fresh enough in my opinion. Overall, it was OK, but baffling for all the hype.
I like this place because of the non-pretentious attitude despite the reviews. But I will never understand the hype. This restaurant has been getting consistently high reviews in TO, yet I fail to see why it compares so favorably with other Turkish places in the area. The service is rather awful, and most important the meat is rather chunky and not at all juicy. I also tried their second branch, Mangal Ockabaci II, where you can spot Gilbert&George every day, and we were rather disappointed lately (I wonder how they stay that thin though? do they go to the gym during the day?). The portions get smaller every time and the price remains the same or either goes up. Last time we were there they took us donwstairs and we were ignored for the whole meal. They literally forgot about us. It's not bad, but definitely not the best value for your money. If you are around the area I would rather recommend 'Tava', which is pretty close. '19 Numara Bos Cirrik' and 'Istanbul' are good choices too.
Mangal is amazing, the meats are delicious, the staff are friendly once they get to know you and overall, it's an delicious place to eat at. I have to warn punters though about their takeaway process. I ordered takeaways from there and was waiting inside for them to package my meal up. The guy at the front is responsible for three things - packaging my meal (including bread and salad), taking money from the customers and passing raw meat (like chicken!) to the person that's grilling the meat. All this without washing his hands. When I confronted him about it, he said that he wipes his hands on a tea towel so it's okay. YIKES! I love this place but I'm really worried about who touches the bread and salad now!
Very average meal, can't understand the hype. The mezze were tasteless and grill chewy and rather expensive. Many better grills to be had in London that I'm sure about.
Simply delicious, great value. Excellent for what it is. No pretence, more like a cafe than a restaurant but the meat was perfectly cooked. BYO meant that our bill for two fairly big eaters came to £29.
If you ever find yourself hungry, lost and confused in StokeNewington, This place is definitely the cure #Best TURKISH food EVER!!!! and the customer service is 1st class!!!
We traveled all the way from South London and it was worth the trip! When you walk into the restaurant there is the grill right there and you can just feel the aroma of the meat cooking (it taste amazing). The food not only is superb but so is the price as most mains are £10 or under. The service was very good and we were well catered for, particularly during the busier period after 7pm. If you arrive before 7pm you won't have to wait long to get a table for two, but after that it gets packed (probably because it is so good), but worth the wait.
I went there last night with my boy friend they served pile of salad which was wonderful every weekend our restaurant here mammamia mixed sish kebab yoghurt...
the benchmark for grilled meat. some people appear to go to restaurants for the ambience - if that's you, this place may well disappoint. Some people go to be pampered - again this will disappoint. but if you are after the best grilled meat in London at any price (and this place is cheap) then this is the one. careful though - it's addictive.
Went to dinner there last night - AWESOME! There were three of us and we split two special mixed grills, with bread and dip we were all stuffed. Everything was delicious. The service and attention to detail was above and beyond - I can't have dairy and they made a special eggplant dip without the dairy. Fantastic, when are we going back!
Whoever is writing these poor reviews is possibly competition, gone to the wrong place or way off the mark. Maybe they want to keep it a secret so fair enough! This place is in time outs top 50 for a reason and relative to the price it's hard to fault. I have not had grilled meat and salad as good as this apart from in turkey! This place rocks!
Been going for years. I am more often let down by Michelin starred up their own back sides places but not this. Simple, reliable, delicious. The Aubergine starter with hot bread is to die for and the lamb cutlets and koftas are superb. You do need to be fairly easy going to enjoy the food as many of the reviews have noted the facilities are not plush and expectations of formal dining are misconceived. Keep it simple, enjoy the food and leave. A Must try.
Just bought a lamacun on our way home from Mangal (the take away on the high st) and the service was appalling. When preparing our lamacun the waiter asked if we would like salad, my boyfriend asked for it seperate from the lamacun bbut the waiter barked back that it was an extra 75p, so we politely declined and asked for no salad at all. This did not impress our waiter as he had already put salad on the lamacun (before he had even asked us) so he got in quite a huff and threw all the salad in the bin. then he barked £1.50 (no please or thankyou) and then looked dismayed when I said that we wouldn't be coming back again. The only other time I went to Mangal (the one on arcola st) three chefs got into a brawl and threw punches at eachother, so all in all a rather unprofessional place, will not be going back, Tava and Somine are far superior!
Amazing. By miles the best turkish food I've ever had, and amongst the best food I've had in London. We now go every week. Take out is also fantastic. Yogurtlu dishes are key.