The first Turkish restaurant in Ottawa opened in 1974 by Raif Erdoğan when he purchased a fast-food restaurant at Kent and Gloucester streets. Raif had arrived in Canada two years before with a large, silver model of the Doner Kebab machine, and a dream. He had to have his machine rewired to meet the electrical requirements of Canada. Eventually, he got his machine installed, renamed the restaurant the Topkapi and was able to replace the old counter and stools with some tables and chairs. Most important, he found some persons who liked his first, limited efforts at Turkish cooking.
By 1977, he had a completely Turkish menu and on Thursdays and Sundays, as a special treat, he threw his cherished Doner Kebab machine into gear and produced one of Turkey’s most famous dishes, the Doner Kebab. This dish consists of marinated meat wrapped around a vertical rather than horizontal spit. As the spit turns slowly in front of electrical elements, the juice runs down the length of the meat. The meat is left on the spit for long periods, and, consequently, becomes quite tender. Pieces are simply cut from it as required. Usually, only lamb is issued in preparing the dish but the Erdogans found that a mix of marinated lamb and beef worked better in this country.
Some 32 years later, Raif’s son Nail, buys an existing restaurant and renames it Topkapi, realizing his own dream, as well as reviving his father’s memories and dreams.
We thank you for choosing the new Topkapi Restaurant and providing us with an opportunity to pamper you with our Turkish hospitality. We sincerely hope you will enjoy our authentic Turkish cuisine, and to have the pleasure of serving you again soon!
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