This restaurant means so much more to me and my family than just serving dinners and drinks. This restaurant is dedicated to the memory of my late father, Raif Erdogan, who arrived in Canada in 1972 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. Today, we see so many establishments serving “Doner and Shawarma”. My dad was the first to introduce this machine to Ottawa and as of today, his dream continues to grow.
I am very proud of my father and his culture, and I thank God every day for the possibility of continuing his legacy. My father was a good Chef and he knew good Turkish food when he tasted it, and he appreciated the importance of good service and hospitality as well. This restaurant carries his name and legacy, and there will not be a meal served, or a day that goes by, without him being in our hearts and thoughts.
My dad was one of the classiest and most admired people I have ever known, and my wife and I are very thankful and proud to be able to continue his legacy from the old TOPKAPI International Restaurant.
For the last years, I had the pleasure of meeting so many previous customers who come back and tell us so many anecdotes about my dad and myself when I was just a boy. I am so proud of what I was able to achieve in this great country.
And to our new customers who come and appreciate our food and service, I hope together we will build new memories and keep my Dad’s great legacy alive for a long time to come!
Nail and Chantal Erdogan
It is with great pleasure that we welcome you to the «Topkapi».
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!
Born in Turkey, Nail Erdoğan arrived in Canada to meet his Dad in October 1977 when he was only 15 years old. He worked with his dad in the family restaurant first as a dishwasher, a bus-boy, and then as a waiter after having learned enough English. During that time, his dad also taught him everything there is to know to become a good Chef.
In 1980, his Dad Raif opens the Topkapi Take-Out Restaurant in the 240 Sparks Street Mall. Nail was the Chef and managed the operations of this business until his Dad sold it a few years later. In 1983, his Dad moves the business to a new location on Metcalfe Street. Nail worked in the kitchen until the restaurant was sold in 1988.
During this time, Nail meets his wife Chantal in 1983. A French-Canadian born in Montreal, Chantal arrived in the Outaouais region before her 1st birthday. Chantal held various jobs from the time she was 17 as a cashier in a grocery store while taking bookkeeping courses. When she met Nail, she started working part-time as a waitress to help the family restaurant from 1984 until it was sold in 1988. She then worked for several years as a bookkeeper for ‘ATA Utilities’, a company owned by a family friend.
Nail and Chantal were married in 1989 and have one son, Luke Doğan Erdoğan. Having worked together for the family restaurant in the ‘80s, they are now the proud owners of a revived Topkapi Restaurant now located on Preston Street.
They cordially invite you to come visit their restaurant to taste and enjoy the many Turkish dishes they serve. The dishes are carefully prepared by Nail’s cousin Oktay, who recently arrived in Ottawa to help with the family business. He is a certified Chef who graduated from a culinary school in Mengen (Turkey). Since 1991 and until very recently, he was employed by the Çirağan Palace Hotel, a 5-Star hotel located in Istanbul.