Kalkan is a relatively small town but it has well over 100 restaurants and bars for visitors to choose from. There are some fantastic eateries here whether it’s one of the numerous roof terrace restaurants which offer a wonderful view of the town and the lovely bay or one of the harbour-side restaurants where you can dine whilst watching the fishing boats return with the day’s catch in the evening.
And as a sign of the times perhaps, becoming increasingly popular here on the Turquoise coast are the smaller eateries known as lokantas or soup kitchens serving great value and tasty traditional local dishes as well as the numerous snack bars serving great kebabs and pides (Turkish pizza).
The point is that here in Kalkan the range of choice for dining out is just amazing – you can enjoy really quite sophisticated international fare but also you can expect, and should try, the many traditional dishes of mouth-watering quality from locally sourced ingredients.
Lunchtime favourites include shrimp casserole, spicy potato or minced lamb, cooked over an inverted “wok”, and menemen, a juicy scrambled omelette with tomatoes, onion and peppers. One of our favourites is imam bayildi – baked aubergines stuffed with tomatoes, onions and cheese. Soups are also extremely tasty – like mercimek çorbası, a creamy lentil soup jazzed up with a squeeze of lemon and a dash of chilli.
Evening meals usually begin with a selection of meze (starters) such as haydari (a yoghurt and mint dip), sigara börek (deep-fried cheese and parsley rolls), mücver (courgette fritters), stuffed vine leaves or the very tasty ezme – a spicy dish of tomatoes, peppers, chillies and herbs. Mains tend to be grills – either kebabs or fish – usually done over charcoal and served with fresh salads coated with olive oil and pomegranate syrup. And guvec (casseroles) are popular here as well kavurma – a stir fry dish with chicken, lamb or beef. You should also try a local dessert such as baklava (nut-filled filo pastry) or fırın sutlac (oven-baked rice-pudding).
Most restaurants, even the smaller ones, are licensed and offer a range of domestically produced, quality lagers, as well as a selection of very palatable Turkish wines – though the “real” Turkish tipple is rakı, an aniseed-flavoured spirit.
Most cafes and restaurants open from mid-morning until 11pm or later. Many take credit cards, but carry cash as well just in case. Expect to tip between 5-10 per cent.
Of course we two have our favourite places to eat out but we appreciate that tastes vary. We have a guide book in the villa with loads of restaurant recommendations but we thought it might be nice to tempt you from the site with some descriptions of a few of the more popular venues in town….
Korsan Fish Terrace
A well-established seafood restaurant based on the roof of the Patara Stone House, the Korsan has maintained its popularity because of its consistently good fish, usually grilled, reasonable (by Kalkan standards) prices and wonderful, sweeping views down over the bay. There are sofas to relax on with a drink and a good choice of wines with live music on some evenings. The sister restaurant Korsan Meze, lower down the hill, is equally good.
Probably Kalkan’s smartest restaurant, the Aubergine is situated right on the harbour front. One of the few restaurants to stay open virtually year round, it has a seasonal menu and is far more adventurous than the average Turkish restaurant, with curries and even wild boar taking their place alongside the staple seafood, kebabs and pastas. With plenty of stylish but comfy chairs and sofas to lounge on this is a great place to spend an entire evening.
Doy Doy Restaurant
This iconic restaurant occupies a fantastic location with unforgettable views across the harbour and beyond to Mouse and Snake islands.
Established over 30 years ago, Doy Doy prides itself in being one of the first restaurants to open in Kalkan. It has built up a great reputation with its fine cuisine, great service, and welcoming atmosphere. It offers a mixture of Mediterranean and traditional Turkish dishes all produced using fresh locally-sourced ingredients. Along with meat dishes, they also offer a selection of vegetarian and childrens’ dishes.
Salt N Pepper
Salt N Pepper offers a delicious fusion of Turkish and European dishes. Their meals are made using fresh, organic ingredients grown on the family’s own farm. There is something for everyone, and the unobstructed view of the harbour and bay will take your breath away. The perfect setting for a romantic meal, or an evening amongst friends and family.
A beautiful traditional Turkish restaurant located above Merkez Cafe in Kalkan’s Old town. The traditional menu includes a daily special but there is always plenty to choose from. The owner has created a lovely atmosphere with mellow music and fabulous views over the town and out to sea. As well as the roof terrace, which is great for people watching, there is indoor seating and free Wi-Fi!
This is one of our particular favourites – a bit of a well-kept secret. It’s situated on the road leading up to the market and whilst it may lack the stunning views of other restaurants, it offers great food at good prices, a very warm welcome and very often smashing entertainment. One of the things you may want to enquire about and try is the day trip to the family’s own farm up in the hills which is just great fun.
This former 150 year old Olive Oil pressing workshop is now a popular restaurant serving traditional Turkish meals. Get a true taste of Turkish cuisine and dine in the traditional Ottoman-cushioned seating area with beautiful views. There are normal tables also available on the highest roof terrace.
Kucuk Ev (Small House)
Now something a little bit different. A very small, popular, family run restaurant in Kalkan old town, offering traditional Turkish cuisine and warm, friendly service. This restaurant is well known for providing delicious authentic meals in a homely atmosphere, and gets fully booked in advance throughout the season. Small House restaurant only seats 14-16 people so it’s essential to make a reservation, probably before you arrive in Kalkan!
Hunkar Ocakbasi, Coriander and Ata Grill and Meze
Some of the good value lokanta-style eateries serving simple, honest, local favourites like fantastic kebabs, home made pides (pizza), fresh fish and Baklava puds.
Whatever your tastes your table awaits…..