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Turquoise Coast’s best food & drink

  • Turkey

  • Bucket List Experience

Last updated: 21 March, 2024

Locally grown vegetables, especially the all-star aubergine, are the basis for meze starters; yoghurt and pastry boreks also feature prominently. Lamb and chicken staples, plus more expensive fish dishes, are served with beer and Turkey’s fast-improving wines.

Desserts are sweet and sticky with honey, rosewater and ground nuts – usually sandwiched in between layers of filo pastry to create baklava.

What to try

Turks, with a nod to their nomadic roots, excel at savoury pancakes or gozleme cooked over an open wood fire; they are best accompanied by ayran, a salty yoghurt drink. Pide – the Turkish take on pizza – is another must-try.

No visit to Turkey is complete without a meal accompanied by raki – an aniseed-flavoured spirit, which turns milky when mixed with water.

Also see our round-up of traditional foods you must try in Turkey.

The dining scene

More often than not meals are eaten in outdoor settings, sitting cross-legged at low tables on cushion-strewn wooden platforms, though conventional chairs are common in urban areas.

Some of the best and freshest seasonal country produce is sold along the roads. Look out for honey, vegetables, and oranges picked straight from the groves for on-the-spot juicing.

Be sure to stop by an atmospheric kuruyemis, or dried-goods store – an Aladdin’s cave of spices, pulses, nuts and dried fruit.

Logistics

Price: Free
Minimum age: 0
Age suitable: 13+
When: All year around
Duration: -

Getting there & doing it

Foodies swear by the small resort of Akyaka, famed for its riverside fish restaurants, and Kalkan, where dozens of rooftops have been converted into stylish restaurants.

Bodrum’s chic western waterfront, Neyzen Tevfik Caddesi, is home to the city’s best restaurants. Nearby Turkbuku – Turkey’s St-Tropez – is awash with trendy bars and beach brasseries.

When to do it

Turks believe in breakfast, whether a quick simit pogaca – a breakfast bun, filled with feta, olives and herbs – or menemen – eggs cooked with tomatoes and peppers.

Dinner is usually taken later in the evening – rarely before 8.30. Most people eating in restaurants before this time will be tourists.