Bars and Restaurants
Considering the fairly small size of Turunç, there are plenty of restaurants and bars in the village. If you are here for a two week holiday, then you will easily be able to eat somewhere different every night.
The list further down this page is a selection of personal favourite_eateries and is not exhaustive by any means. Most Turunç restaurants offer a menu consisting of fresh fish, great salads and a broad European-style menu, with some traditional Turkish dishes.
Traditional Turkish cuisine always begins with meze. This is a selection of both hot and cold hors d’ouvres. You can either choose to have a mixed selection brought to your table or else select your favourites for a custom made starter. Cold meze can be various salads and dips made from aubergines, tomatoes, onions, courgettes, mushrooms. Pickles also feature highly. They are often mixed with yoghurt, most times with garlic and almost always with a liberal use of fresh herbs.
Hot meze are generally deep fried parcels of cheese or meat encased in filo pastry. Calamari is also a popular hot meze. Freshly made “puffy” bread is often brought to your table with your starters. This is a flat bread (much like a large pitta) which swells up with the steam from the oven. Children love to "pop" this with a fork to let the steam escape. It is delicious when used to mop up salad juices or to just eat with garlic butter. Yum!
With the fabulous climate of this region of Turkey, salad vegetables are obviously available all year round. Tomatoes, mild green peppers and cucumbers are the staple ingredients of the tasty salads. The main type of lettuce is either marul – a type of cos lettuce - or roka which is a spicy leaved variety similar to rocket.
Before tourism arrived in Turunç, it was mainly a fishing village. Many locals still go fishing and as such you can expect fresh seafood to appear on restaurant menus. Sea bream and sea bass are local favourites and the octopus and calamari are regularly caught along the nearby shores.
Main meals with a Turkish flavour will include the usual kebabs and grilled meats. Casseroles are also popular, whether meat or fish, and can have either a cream or a tomato based sauce. Pide is the Turkish equivalent of pizza. It consists of flat breads topped with various ingredients such as cheese, tomato, onion, salami etc. It forms perfect take-away food and is a popular and cheap meal for locals.
Puddings in Turkey are very, very sweet. It must be something to do with the hot weather, as the body seems to crave sugar and only sweets such as baklava can satisfy the craving. Nuts, honey and flaky pastry form the basic ingredients for many types of baklava. Other puddings tend to be milk based. Ice cream is always a favourite and the best Turkish variety is called maras. This is a sticky and creamy tasting ice cream, similar in many ways to traditional Cornish ice cream. Delicious!
Don’t be surprised if, after you think that you have finished your meal, you are brought a big plate of fresh fruit. It is normal for Turks to end their evening meal with some of the fabulously tasty fresh local produce. Fruit and vegetables are still seasonal in Turkey, as opposed to being available all year round in the UK in supermarkets such as Sainsburys. This means that, although the season for strawberries and peaches (for example) is short at just 6-8 weeks, the fruit seems to burst with juice and flavour.
Turkish wines are fairly palatable whether white or red. The government has increased the tax on all alcohol quite heavily over the last four years and as a result the domestic wines and spirits are not as cheap as they once were. Local spirits will always be cheaper than imported drinks and the taste is not so different from named brands. The gin and vodka are full of flavour. Efes is always the beer of choice and it comes bottled or draught (or canned if you are buying from shops).
The national drink is raki. This is an aniseed flavoured spirit which is drunk with water. To make it slightly sweeter and more palatable, it can be mixed with Sprite or lemonade. It is powerful stuff and must be treated with some respect, as a few glasses can result in a temporary loss in the use of your limbs and in the ability to speak or think!
Turks are renowned for their hospitality and if this is your first visit to Turkey, you will be surprised by the genuine, friendly welcome that you will receive. If you are a family with young children then expect that welcome to be extra special. Family closeness is extremely important in Turkish culture and all Turks absolutely adore children. It can be initially disconcerting to see grown men pick up young children to cuddle them and kiss or pinch their cheeks. There is nothing remotely deviant about it; it is just the Turkish way of showing how important children are to them. If you have a baby, then he or she will often be taken from you and paraded around the bar or restaurant like a treasured prize. Like I said, it takes a bit of getting used to but then you realise that this is how things should be - less paranoia and more pride.
During high season, the main street in Turunç is closed to traffic during the evenings. This turns it into a pedestrianised walkway and makes it much safer for everyone to wander around. Most of the local children play out in this street in the summer evenings. Locals walk up and down and tourists can enjoy an old fashioned style "promenade" and browse in the gift shops and markets. This also gives you the opportunity to cast your eye over the restaurants and bars and see which ones take your fancy.
Below are some reviews of Turunç eateries and bars. It is based on some personal favourites and is not intended to be a comprehensive list.
Bars and Restaurants
A favourite restaurant with regular visitors, this is actually not on the main street but is on the road which leads out of the village towards Marmaris. It is called Bondjuk Restaurant and is run by Imam and his son Umit. The decoration is a lovely bright blue and the walls are dotted with dozens of nazarboncuk or blue eyes. The menu features their famous Bondjuk Salad. This is a gorgeous mixed salad with a delicious dressing. The exact recipe is a closely guarded secret but once tasted, you will want to keep going back for more. Imam also slow roasts a mean kleftiko. This leg of lamb is slow roasted for 24 hours and is served with a sparkling presentation. The sweet meat simply melts off the bone and is always accompanied by seasonal roasted vegetables.
Next door to Bondjuk Restaurant is the Sen. This restaurant has the well known chef Caffer (pronounced Jaffa) who cooks some lovely traditional Turkish dishes. His casseroles are always popular and the portion size is extremely generous. Every Wednesday night there is a barbecue. It is an “eat as much as you can” affair and is always busy. In the high season, entertainment is also provided.
This restaurant opened for the first time in 2005. It offers a predominantly seafood based menu but other dishes are also available. The quality of the food is high and this is reflected in the prices. The décor is amongst the best in the village and offers modern, attractive surroundings to relax in and enjoy a good meal.
This popular restaurant is run by Debbie and Fevzi. The food is a good mixture of Turkish (kebabs and traditional casseroles) as well as a broad European offering (lasagne, cottage pie, fish and chips). The most popular dishes come with the famous pepper sauce – be it chicken fillet or steak. A good generous English breakfast with British sausage and bacon is also on offer. The restaurant has a traditional pide chef who makes fresh Turkish pide and pizzas to order. Ask for your own topping if you can’t see it on the menu.
This very popular bar is probably the busiest in the village. It has a large frontage and great bar staff including the wonderful Bulent. There is usually live music several times a week. For those who are missing UK television then the three plasma screens should ensure that you keep in touch with the soaps and football! Habit BAr offers free internet access for those who need to check their emails.
This has long been a favourite eating place for Turunç regulars. Hamze and his staff will welcome you to their traditional restaurant. The menu serves excellent Turkish food and the meze (hot and cold appetizers) are a great way to introduce yourself to traditional Turkish cuisine. Arcade is also renowned for its variety of seafood. Prices are very reasonable and a good value family meal can be had here. If you plan on eating at the popular times (such as 8.00pm) then it is advisable to book a table, especially during the high season. During the daytime delicious doner kebabs are available for take away.
Whilst some would argue that this bar has never been the same since its founder (Jimmy) left three years ago, it still remains a popular bar to visit. Ramsey, James and Joseph will certainly entertain you during the evening. Their fishbowl cocktail is a local legend (something of everything thrown in!). There is usually dancing in the bar and the Yakamoz Restaurant next door can provide you with snacks all day long.
This has an enviable location on the harbour front and a meal here means that you will be able to look back over Turunç bay with the mountains in the background. There are quite a few steps to negotiate to get to the restaurant but it is worth the effort for the view. The menu is one of the more modern in Turunç and is far more European than most other restaurants offer. There is a great children's menu and whatever you order, the portions are huge. A favourite sweet is the deep fried ice cream, which is the size of a small football and is best shared!
One the best restaurants in the village is Körfez. It has a great location on the sea front next to the Tea Garden. The chef is one of the best in the area and I have never had a bad meal here. Try his speciality of an Ottoman Basket or have any of the fabulous steaks, which are always cooked to perfection. The staff are attentive without being overwhelming and this place is always busy so book to ensure a table. If you want one of the coveted sea front tables then this is imperative.