While Turkish gastronomy features products and ingredients typical of the Mediterranean region, it also combines Central Asian, Middle Eastern, Persian and Balkan cuisine. For the most part, Turkish cuisine is fresh and varied but above all bursting with flavour from the succulent grilled meats to the delicate spices found in a 'meze' selection. If you are waiting to taste something very typical to Bodrum try the 'cokertme,' the local spin on a kebab - served on a bed of very thinly sliced crispy potatoes and topped with yoghurt. Meanwhile, those with a sweet tooth may enjoy the 'baklava' (a very sweet, layered pastry topped with nuts and honey), 'sutlac' (rice pudding sometimes garnished with cinnamon) and 'lokum' (the local name for 'Turkish Delight,' available in many different flavours); all typical desserts, and there are many!
Should you wish to savour Turkish food in a bright and breezy locale, head to Bodrum's Marina Yacht Club. In a smart but casual setting dine in one of the yacht club's three restaurants, with hundreds of beautiful yachts bobbing in the harbour only metres away and the Castle of St Peter looming in the distance. Locals and tourists alike come to savour the simple but delectable offerings from the local chefs and with excellent views of the port you could easily spend a long, lazy afternoon here.
Amongst the 'meze' we sampled at the Club Restaurant were the Walnut Antep dip, spicy with crushed walnuts, tomatoes, green peppers and fresh herbs, it is a specialty from south east Turkey; and 'Saksuka,' fried aubergines and green peppers in a tomato garlic sauce topped with fresh mint. For the main course we loved the grilled chicken skewer served with halloumi cheese, olives pickles and local greens; and the mixed kebab with roasted aubergine purée, red peppers and garlic yoghurt, all served in a beautiful Ottoman dish. Not only is everything beautifully presented, fresh and flavoursome, the servings are generous too.
Want to treat yourself to a delicious meal in a very special setting? Book yourself in for dinner at the Tuti at The Marmara Bodrum one sultry evening. This luxurious hotel commands your attention from its hilltop perch overlooking Bodrum and is the perfect place for a romantic outing. Choose a table on the open air terrace above the pool, boasting magnificent 180° views; it is a magical place to be when the sun goes down, with the Bodrum castle illuminated on the horizon. The waiters are knowledgeable, discreet and professional while the executive chef Zekeriya Yildirim has won numerous awards and travels regularly to widen his culinary experience. A typical 'meze' selection can include samphire served with lemon and puréed peppers and aubergine fried with tomato and spices. Otherwise, savour the spinach patties in a coriander yoghurt sauce or the grilled halloumi served on a bed of vegetables. For the main course why not try the Turkish pasta - homemade crispy ravioli with spinach and garlic yoghurt; the excellent 'cokertme' kebab or the Anatolian style grilled meatballs with country style rice. With all of it tempting, the Tuti's large selection of Turkish and international dishes is all the more enjoyed in such a charming setting.
Marina Yacht Club: Bodrum Marina, Neyzen Tevfik Caddesi, No. 5, Bodrum
Telephone: +90 252 316 12 28
'Meze' dishes from 5TL (just over £2), mains from 20TL (£8.50)
The Tuti at The Marmara Bodrum: Yokusbasi Mahallesi, Suluhasan Cad. No. 18 Bodrum. Telephone: +90 252 313 81 30
Starters from 12TL (just over £5) and mains from 27TL (£11.50)
Words by Richelle Harrison Plesse