Kebab Yasin Restaurant in Erbil Citadel
Where the Modern Visitor Meets Tradition
As a visitor or newly-arrived expat in Erbil, you are most probably looking for a well established, traditional eatery to give you a hearty welcome to the city and enhance your dining experience with a delicious kebab dish.
Kebab is for the Kurds and Middle Eastern peoples what souvlaki is for the Greeks. It is fast food, convenient take away, and can be found everywhere. However, not all kebab restaurants are the same…
The Best You Can Find
Kebab Yasin has a long tradition in Erbil. It was established several decades ago as a small family business and it still goes strong. Locals and visitors admit that the restaurant offers the best kebab in Erbil, and that is why you will probably have to be patient at lunch time when the place is crowded with hungry patrons. The smell of kebab permeates the air all around Qaysari Bazaar, just opposite the ancient Citadel, inviting you to give it a try.
Kebab and Only Kebab
One thing you should know is that kebab is the only culinary delight you can enjoy in this restaurant. There is no menu, but the friendly waiters can always help you make your choice as far as quantity is concerned. Kebab is usually made of fresh beef or lamb and contains a high amount of fat – which gives it its awesome taste. It comes sizzling hot and juicy on large metal trays accompanied with onions, charcoal-grilled tomatoes and green peppers, cucumber slices, lemon slices, and a variety of pickles.
They also bring you hearty, freshly-baked flat bread (called naan) that makes the perfect wrap for kebab and the grilled vegetables. The bread is round, just like pita bread, and because of its fantastic taste some people like to eat it as it is. Don’t forget to sprinkle everything with sumac – a kind of spice with deep purple color that gives a tangy, sour flavor to meat and stew dishes.
The traditional drink that is served with kebab is called mastaw and is made of sheep-milk yoghurt diluted with water and served with ice. Locals prefer it to soda-type drinks, but you can always order a coke if mastaw doesn’t seem appealing to you.
Atmosphere and Service
Kebab Yasin has nothing to do with the luxurious international restaurants you can find all over Erbil – the ever-expanding capital of the autonomous Kurdistan region in Northern Iraq. Here, the atmosphere is simple and basic, but service is fast and pleasant and all the staff is always friendly and smiling. There is no dress code or table etiquette, and while locals are used to the spectacle, visitors are often amazed at watching everything being prepared and cooked in front of their eyes and next to the two sitting areas – one for men and one for families.
Our Visit to Kebab Yasin
We visited the eatery a few days ago to take several representative photos of this unique place in an attempt to make visitors to the city familiar with eating out at local casual restaurants which offer a superb culinary and cultural experience. It goes without saying that we didn’t leave without having a dizzyingly flavorsome kebab tray. Enjoy our photos!