FoodieSarah’s quick guide to Kalkan

Eat at The Ivy and don’t worry about being overlooked by the Papparazzi – cheekily named restaurants high on the rooftops of this foodie Turkish town are the norm.
The small harbour town apparently has more eateries per square mile than anywhere else in Turkey so anyone heading out for a hot summer holiday won’t be disappointed by the amount of choice.
Even the most determined foodie couldn’t try everywhere in 14 days so this is my whistlestop tour of the best I encountered.
Best for;
kalkan 003.jpg
Has to be the Korsan Meze. Occupying a scenic harbour position with its whitewashed walls and traditional “eye” decoration to ward off evil, the daily changing small starter dishes which make up the meze here are a delight. We were lucky enough to to sample that asparagus of the sea, samphire, with a garlicky yoghurt dip and the lightest, most melt-in-the-mouth pastry parcel of cheese ever encountered in our range of dishes. Put together with the on-the-house appetiser of tomato, chili, crumbly cheese, walnuts and just-baked lavosh bread, what was intended as a starter turned into a light meal for two. At £10 for food and the same for wine for the two of us.
COCKTAILS (and ladies’ loos!)
Coast does well-executed and imaginative cocktails. Unlike some Kalkan bars where the cocktails are over iced, under alcohol and use cheap mixers, these cocktails are as they should be – if somewhat pricey compared to local rates. Try the pomegranate mojito – heavenly. Food here is distinguished by being more a case of style over substance with plenty of performances going on in the contemporary space – flames, smashing cooking containers and even a dinky little electric pepper grinder. Good service and indulgent desserts. It’s place to bee seen at and the toilets are a thoughtfully designed pleasure. Girly venue.
FISH, CHIPS and ROMANCE kalkan 002.jpg
No batter, peas or vinegar to be had in the mountain village of Islamlar but you will get the freshest brown trout plucked from the water, simply pan-fried and served with your choice of feast from the meze selection. The long view of the harbour, the fresh mountain air and the simple but utterly welcoming atmosphere makes these restaurants simple in style but high on romance. A 10 minute drive from Kalkan and fantastic value. True foodie experience.
While the meat and fish dishes at The Kaptan are also to be recommended, this place offers brilliant veggie dishes which don’t shout about being meat-free. They don’t need to, the cooking is a cut above. Try the green lentil salad with mustard dressing or how about this spaghetti with spinach, apricot and walnut? It really works. The styling of this pace is, erm, a little on the cheesy side. Be prepared to be greeted by a host dressed in captain’s uniform and don’t be alarmed by the occasional Barry White inspired pre-recorded announcement “ Ladies and gentleman, this is your captain speaking”. You’ll wonder whether it really happened but don’t let it put you off – judging by the plaque on the wall this chef has already come to the notice of a national awards scheme.
FISH again
Quite what the owner was thinking off when he/she named the Extinct Fish Restaurant ( Exquisite? Exotic?) is anyone’s guess but what the place lacks in location it make up for in food terms. Try the “extinct special” (it isn’t past it) – a jack fish cooked en papille with strong fusions of black peppercorn and bay leaves. Outstanding.
This was a hard venue to identify as just about every restaurant in Kalkan claims to have the “best view”. In some ways there’s not much between them but I picked this one out as it does include a slightly longer view of the harbour and is a quirky place worthy of a visit in it’s own right – the Moonlight restaurant and pension on Kalamar Road (there are a few establishment of the same name). Don’t just turn up expecting a meal – this is real home-cooking. You leave your order the day before and then spend a day of anticipation before enjoying traditional dishes such as this most excellent humus, chickpeas with lamb or aubergine kebabs. Very good value too.
An unassuming ground floor level café away from the harbour, Deli Deli Tomato offers well-cooked and interesting specials every day alongside the expected selection of grills and salads. A meal and a couple of beers could be as little as £10 a head for something you’d expect to pay double for in the UK.
While I hope you find my picks interesting, the vast array of eateries means strong competition in this small town and it would seem to be difficult to film a bad meal in Kalkan so, enjoy.
There’s more pictures from the trip at my Flickrsteam. Please feel feel to contribute your own pix and recommendations.
Thanks to Tapestry Collection holidays, the staff at the New Oasis Hotel and Christa and Kalim of the excellent Dolphin Scuba Team for helping to make this foodie adventure so enjoyable. Please note that this trip, and all the meals, were entirely self-funded.


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