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Mangal Ocakbasi

Restaurants, Turkish Dalston
4 out of 5 stars
4 out of 5 stars
(31user reviews)
 (© Barry J Holmes)
© Barry J Holmes
 (© Rob Greig / Time Out)
© Rob Greig / Time Out
 (© Rob Greig / Time Out)
© Rob Greig / Time Out
 (© Rob Greig / Time Out)
© Rob Greig / Time Out
 (© Rob Greig / Time Out)
© Rob Greig / Time Out
 (Beyti kofte - © Rob Greig / Time Out)
Beyti kofte - © Rob Greig / Time OutBeyti kofte at Mangal Ocakbasi

Time Out says

4 out of 5 stars

Let the enormous mangal grill by the entrance guide your menu choice at Dalston’s Turkish classic: home of sublime, succulent kebabs.

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.




Address: 10 Arcola Street
E8 2DJ
Transport: Overground: Dalston Kingsland Bus: 67, 76, 149, 243
Opening hours: Daily noon-midnight
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Users say (31)

4 out of 5 stars

Average User Rating

3.5 / 5

Rating Breakdown

  • 5 star:14
  • 4 star:5
  • 3 star:3
  • 2 star:2
  • 1 star:7
1 person listening
1 of 1 found helpful

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.


Never disappoints, great atmosphere and excellent food. The staff are always friendly. Would recommend the lahmacun, and chicken or lamb sish. Perfect for an easy meal out with a group of friends. 


I have a bit of a nostalgic bias towards this restaurant. Mangal Okabasi was, for many years, the warm and comforting retreat that my friends and I would end up in at 1am after a night out back in the hey day of our early 20's. 

I always remember the food being delicious and there being plenty of bread to soak up the excess alcohol. 

That aside, whenever i have visited since I have found the staff to be friendly and the atmosphere to be lively. It's also a good deal for a meal out and you can't really say fairer than that!

Shocking! Is the only word to describe it. It's clearly riding off it's time out reviews, lost sight of customer service & has won the prize of being the worst restaurant I've even eaten at! (& I like to eat out) the venue is dingy & looks like a washed out cafe. The service poor & at times laughable. We ordered a mixed grill to share, although we are aware that it's for 1 person, we aren't big eaters. What arrived was disposable. 1 measly wing, 1 tough piece of lamb, 5 miniature skewers of lamb & 1 adnan kebab..the final insult was a..quail! A scrawny pitiful quail. Now me & my friend, we usually go to green lanes for a proper Turkish so we know our stuff. This grill was a joke. When we raised this we were told that's how it comes & basically lump it. No apology, no offer to compensate. We then called the manager who basically told us, he was losing money on it & that's how it comes. He didn't really want to hear what we had to say & repeated 'what so you want me to do ?' So discount the bill by 50%, he agreed then only discounted the mixed grill. The dire surroundings, the poor insulting attitude, the cheap & unappetising meal. We will never return! & they don't do hallumi, hot mezes or even garlic sauce! Please don't believe the hype & give this place a serious wide berth!


Although I am on a mission to eat at Time Out's 100 best, my pathetic London budget doesn't always accommodate that goal. Fortunately there's places like this, where you can still get unbelievably delicious food without breaking the bank (and it's BYOB--woop!) The patlican salata (lightly grilled aubergine with chopped peppers, parsley and yogurt) is probably up there with my favourite things I've had to eat in London and if you're a meat lover you cannot go wrong with the insane kebab selection. They also have vegetarian dishes but if you're a strict animal lover and vegetarian/vegan you might be a bit offended by the lush meat offerings. For all others, go eat here stat! 

The best meat and flavour... everything taste great and the mixed kebabs are the best!


Although Turkish food is not exactly my favourite, I do like meat, and know to appreciate a good one. I went to Mangal twice and have no complains about either time. Good meat, properly grilled, fairly sized and priced, nice sides (actually the mix meze) and friendly service. I know it gets super busy, but I always went in the middle/end of the afternoon, so it was easy to find tables and service was super prompt. I have been to just a few Turkish restaurants in London, but that’s easily the best one!

Staff Writertastemaker

If you love meat these are the guys for you. I mean so so much meat for your moolah!

Really easy for large for groups, and birthday style bookings before a night out (though as the reviewers below say its super no frills) and its also super cheap which takes away all the snore of a bill split at the end.

Meze and salads are a great compliment here but again, its about the meat, all delicious, all cooked over coals that come from heaven.

Don’t fill up on the bread before the meat arrives (it is cooked on the meaty coals though so its goooood).

Delicious food in an area swamped with great Turkish restaurants. Although this one is really good, I would say that Mangal 2 (just around the corner on Stoke Newington High Street) is slightly better in terms of setting and food.

Staff Writer

I think I've eaten Mangal more times than I've actually cooked since living in the area - that's nearly a decade. Always take away (call ahead, no delivery), and we go for a drink at the great restaurant opposite for a wine while we wait. There's nothing special about actually sitting in the restaurant - it's pretty shabby. But meat is king here - great skewers of the stuff, flamed to perfection, served in mammoth proportions with a slaw-ish salad and a wodge of Turkish bread. Order the aubergine thing - you can say 'aubergine thing' - they'll know what you mean. It'll be the best thing you've eaten all month. Only one negative - if you go in August, the usual staff seem to be back in Turkey on hols, and the meat isn't quiiiite as good. But it's still miles better than anywhere else.  

Complete waste of money - £10.50 for 3/4 of a plate of awful salad and 6 cubes of tough meat. It was also £2 for a tiny plate of Uncle Ben's finest microwave rice. Would not reccomend going there for a sit down meal. There are certainly many better places to have a kebab, and for better value.

Don't go for the service, don't go to sit down, don't go out of some misplaced idea that it's a hip destination - just go for the meat. Buy as much as possible (simpler the better). Watch while it's cooked to perfection over scarily hot coals and stuffed into greaseproof bags. Then take it home and feast on it. Preferably not in front of anyone you're trying to impress. Mangal's back on top form at the moment. I'm in serious danger of spending most of my summer queuing for lamb shish on Arcola street.

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!

Very spicy and cheap quality meat. Nice grill flavour but nothing special really.

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!

0 of 1 found helpful

Absolutely, does not worth for your money and the price they charge!!!!

I had Lamb shish yogurt, i was expecting to eat lamb and my plate(small!!!, one size) came with full of bread mixed with yogurt and a few chunk of lamb, i think it was 5-6 chunk of lamb, i was really angry to get loads of bread and yogurt for £12.5

More frustrating, the waiter was disrespectful and rude, and was talking to me abruptly by answering "this is the way how we make and serve"when i said this is full of bread, i did not come here to eat bread.

Staff has no idea about customer service and satisfaction

Poor service

Rude waiter

I believe they do not need any customer!!!!!

Does not worth for what u pay!!!!!


0 of 1 found helpful

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.

0 of 1 found helpful

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.

0 of 1 found helpful

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.

0 of 1 found helpful

Food is good, yes, but nothing unique. Service is terrible, totally agree with the comment below.

0 of 2 found helpful

One word: disappointing! Unless you dont mind poor service, lack of space and lack of cleanness as well as again disappointing food. Don't be fooled by timeout claims!

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