Ottoman Taverna pays tribute to the empire that ruled a large swath of Eurasia for hundreds of years. Instead of forcing its way of life onto the conquered, the Ottoman Empire absorbed other ideas and practices to create one of the world’s great cultures. Food is no exception to this rule. The cuisine of the Ottomans is influenced by all the great ingredients and techniques found throughout the region, melded into a complex flavor profile that is familiar to all, yet unique at the same time.

Ottoman Taverna features the Sultan’s Table (Chef’s table) with 12 seats. We have 3 private dining rooms, each accommodating a party of 40. Rooms include Ayasofya (Hagia Sophia), Ephesus, Topkapi (combining Sultan’s Table, Hagia Sophia and Ephesus), and Cappadocia. Come join us!


Chef Ilhan Erkek
of Ottoman Taverna, began his culinary career at the age of 15 in Istanbul, Turkey. His passion for cooking started at home with his family where they would all cook together. He decided to attend a vocational high school which trained him for the hospitality industry at a young age. While still in high school, he was hired as a cook and opened The Ritz Carlton Istanbul, Turkey where he worked alongside several notable to develop his skills and knowledge. He was with the company for ten years, traveling around the world and learning from Chefs from a range of countries before coming to the U.S. as a M.I.T. student. In 2011 Chef Ilhan decided to leave The Ritz Carlton for a new experience. In 2016, Chef Ilhan Erkek and owner Hakan Ilhan decided to embark on a passion project to bring the Turkish cuisine to DC. Together, they opened Ottoman Taverna, home to a cuisine inspired by the techniques and ingredients from the Ottoman region.