The Very Secret Akkaya Garden Restaurant in Dalaman

A few days ago, we were chatting to a family at Cafe Pazar and we asked them where they were staying while on holiday. ‘Oh, we have a villa in a secret valley.’ Well, that was what we thought they said – and it made me curious…

‘Can you tell us where your secret valley is, or is it a secret?’

‘No, it’s called Secret Valley. It’s in the mountains around Dalaman. Instead of turning left at the junction for Dalaman airport, you turn right. Oh, and there’s a fabulous restaurant that you really must go to. Just follow the signs for Akkaya Garden Restaurant.’

On Saturday, we hired a car to take my dad back to Dalaman airport. As we were already in that area, it seemed an opportunity too good to pass up and so we set off along ‘that road’ and followed the signs. Eventually, we reached the summit of the narrow, winding track and a whole area of Dalaman we never knew existed opened up before us.

Secret Valley Dalaman

Secret Valley, Dalaman

A sign along the road told us the villas nestling in the hill below were part of the Secret Valley complex and we’re presuming the area is called Akkaya (going by the name of the restaurant). Beautiful river and mountain views – and you can’t help but wonder how long this place is going to be ‘secret’. We got back in the car and continued to follow the signs, down the hill towards the river and the restaurant.

Groups of villas are under construction, at some points, the road is a single-lane, potholed track and I wasn’t getting a good feeling. I was starting to think we’d driven a long way to go to a deserted, soulless, on-site restaurant built to serve a few villa owners. But then we parked up and walked up the garden path…

Secret Valley Gardens, Dalaman

You can explore the landscape around Secret Valley

We were greeted by lush greenery, ponds, streams, the sound of waterfall and the breeze rushing through the dense treetops. A friendly waiter greeted us and pointed us to the different seating areas.

Akkaya Garden Restaurant, Secret Valley

Follow the pathways to the hidden seating at Akkaya Garden Restaurant

Wooden bridges and paved walkways lead to different secluded areas, hidden by trees. We heard voices and the waiter pointed up into the trees. A couple of Turkish families were sat high above the ground in what the restaurant has called storks’ nests. It had to be done. We wanted to sit in a storks’ nest, too.

Stork's Nest at Akkaya Garden Restaurant, Dalaman

Perch in the trees in a stork’s nest

A steep climb up the steps and we were soon in our very own stork nest, sat amongst the treetops, loving the seclusion. We couldn’t see or hear the other families enjoying their Turkish breakfast.

Stork's Nest Seating Area

Stork’s nest seating areas

We didn’t look at a menu, we didn’t know the price of anything…but we were already sold and we didn’t care. We’d already spotted a lady preparing gözleme by an open fire so we ordered gözleme filled with potato and a couple of drinks.

Gözleme at Akkaya Garden Restaurant, Dalaman

A very filling gözleme

The potato was in soft chunks rather than grated and leeks and spices were mixed in, too. We were really hungry but both of us were completely full by the time we’d worked our way through our favourite – and generously filled – Turkish snack.

Akkaya Garden Restaurant, Dalaman

The stone-built indoor restaurant

Akkaya Garden Restaurant also has a large indoor restaurant, and you can see from these photos that whoever built it, has big ambitions for the place. You can’t help but feel it’s only a matter of time before coaches and jeeps are rumbling down the mountain track. There’s a swimming pool for use just outside the restaurant, we saw signs for lake trips and horse riding on offer and from what we saw of it, it’s a place that deserves to do well – we’d just like a little bit longer to be selfish and make the most of the peace and quiet of the beautiful Akkaya valley.

And if all that wasn’t enough…

Ducklings at Akkaya Garden Restaurant

Just very cute and fluffy!

…they’ve got cute ducklings, too!

  • We ordered 2 potato gözleme, 1 large Efes beer and 1 Diet Coke. The total bill was a very reasonable 15.50 Turkish Lira (around £6).
  • To get there under your own steam from Fethiye, go to the main crossroads where you turn left for Dalaman airport. Take a right and follow the green signs for Akkaya Garden Restaurant. If you haven’t got transport, the restaurant does a transfer service.
  • We looked at a menu before we left. Meze plates, steaks, fish, kebabs and a few international dishes.

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  1. What a fantastic find? Interesting that you went and wrote a review on Tripadvisor straight away. I know when I find a treasure like this I tend to keep quiet “for a while” anyway!! Maybe your treasure is far enough away for the tour buses to find?

  2. What a fabulous place, and lucky you for having discovered it. It’s my favorite way to eat: outside in natural surroundings.

    The terraces are being set up now in Chisinau, Moldova, where I just moved. It’s a nice, green town, but it’s urban. Perhaps we’ll find something secret in the country, later, but I doubt it will have the charm of your place. The photos are wonderful!

  3. @ John in France: We were torn. We wanted to keep it to ourselves but then we thought the business should be publicised. It’s always a tough one isn’t it?! The tour buses will off down there is their droves soon.

    @ Miss Footloose: I bet there are loads of little hideaway places in Moldova. Looking forward to reading all about them as you settle in more.

  4. Anything “secret” sounds like a grand adventure! Looks like a neat hideaway!

  5. Anonymous says

    Great post! Isn’t it lovely when you think that you’ve seen everything that there is to see but then you find a gem like this.

    I will make a note of this place.

    Steve B

  6. Hi, just wanted to say I love your blog, so interesting and informative.
    We’ve been going to the Fethiye region for a few years now and we love it. Taking friends this year and have many ideas from your info that you have shared with us. How long would you think it would take from Calis to this Akkaya?

  7. I wanted to go here last year, ive seen some fantastic pictures of the lakes and i believe they do a boat trip from the Restaurant?

  8. @ Belinda: A perfect hideaway. 🙂

    @ Steve B: Thanks. This area seems to be really good at throwing little things up just when you thought you knew everywhere. Great! 🙂

    @ Dawn: Thanks for your comment and thanks for reading. Hope you enjoy whatever we recommended on the blog. We’d say Çalış to Akkaya is about an hour in the car. It’s worth the trip – for us. 🙂

    @ Rob: So you’ve been keeping this secret for a while then?!! 🙂 We saw boat trips advertised on the river. Not sure who’s in charge of what but it looks like the villa complex and the restaurant are all grouped together. All looked lovely though and a sail along the river seems an attractive option. 🙂

  9. I can almost hear birds chirping when I look at the photos! I like the seating area and tranquility it inspires. I would be torn between keeping it to myself or announcing it to the world 🙂

  10. Kuei-Ti Lu says

    It was amazing that the directions to the place involve the airport! The place’s atmosphere, from the photos, are of my type. (The ducklings are cute, too!)

    In my country, there is also a restaurant with a big building in it hidden in the mountains (in 308 Highland in the Taiwan island). Although it is not quiet, the food there is nice.

    @ Miss Footloose: I hope can find more about Moldova after you find its secret places.

  11. @ Corinne: The seating areas are great. We trust they’re attached to the trees properly! 🙂

    @ Kue-Ti Lu: I don’t think this place will be quiet soon but it’s so lovely. I think it will still be good even when it’s busier.

  12. We live in Dalaman and Akkaya Gardens is a beautiful place that is slowly being discovered, and rightly so.

    One more place to try on your next visit to Dalaman is Dalya Life, another hidden gem. It is a small boutique hotel with a bar and restaurant set in lovely gardens. There is a swimming pool and a small stream running along the edge of the garden with with a rowing boat and ducks, eager for bread and other tit-bits. Completely different to Akkaya Gardens and on a much smaller scale, but well worth a visit as the breakfasts are wonderful. As you drive towards the Göcek tunnel (from Dalaman) take the road to the right of the tunnel entrance and, instead of following it round to the left, under the bridge, go straight ahead and turn right at the T-junction. This road eventually leads to Kille bay, but Dalya Life is set back from the road on the right after about 2 kms.

  13. @ Ruth: I saw a sign for that on the road as we were heading back to Fethiye. Looks like there’s more exploring to be done, then! We’ll be hiring a car again soon so will set off in search of this place. Thanks for your comment. 🙂

  14. What a lovely area and I love the ducks! I’m a sucker for the bunnies they use as “fortune tellers” on the streets in Istanbul.

    This is what I love about living here – you never know what you are going to discover around the corner! Cheers!

  15. @ Joy: A beautiful area and yes, always something new to discover! 🙂

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