I first read about Aravan Evi in a Conde Nast Traveler article written in 2010. (The author of that article also deemed it one of her favorite meals in Turkey.) It is not a typical restaurant: Because things are prepared fresh every day, you need to call and make a reservation for the standard set menu. It is a small restaurant set inside a picturesque boutique hotel, and you might not dine alongside anyone else while you're there, depending on when small groups are scheduled that day. It's not a drop-in kind of place; it's a destination, and for good reason.
This is Anatolian cuisine at its finest. I had several similar meals during my stay in Cappadocia, and this was far and away the best. The stuffed grapeleaves were a standout, as well as the beans and the main meat stew served with bulgar. Everything was so flavorful and fresh. And the homemade halvah sweetened with grape molasses is one of the best things I've ever tried. It was the only time I encountered desserts like that during my visit to Turkey.
This isn't a bustling restaurant. You go to Aravan Evi in order to partake in a meal lovingly prepared by the mother of Okan, the young proprietor who doubles as a server during the meal. He and his family represent the very best of Turkish hospitality, and we loved getting the chance to talk to him about the family business during our meal. He is so knowledgeable about the preparation of the food, the cultivation of the various ingredients, the history of the region, and anything else you might want to know about life in Cappadocia. Don't miss a chance to enjoy a meal at Aravan Evi during your visit to Cappadocia. The food is as special as the people who prepare it.
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