Lunch at Saklıkent Gorge: One Step Ahead Of The Jeeps

“When we get to Saklıkent Gorge, some friends have told us to go to this restaurant over the bridge for lunch because it’s only 10 lira and it’s really good,” enthused our friends as we sat on the dolmuş, waiting to leave Fethiye. “The only thing is, you’ve got to get there before the jeep safaris arrive, otherwise it’s really crowded.”

My mind immediately wandered back to the time, 3 or 4 years previously, when we had all piled out of jeeps at that very restaurant, slapped buffet food on our plates and plonked ourselves down at a table in school-dinner-fashion. We all wolfed the food down and then we were out of there as quickly as we had arrived. All of a sudden, the expectations I had of our upcoming, lazy Saklıkent lunch by the water were pushed away and replaced by disappointing canteen images.

Kayıp Cennet Restaurant, Saklıkent Gorge, Turkey

Entrance to the restaurant in Saklıkent

By the time we arrived at Saklıkent, we were too hungry to care about where or what we might be eating and headed straight across the bridge in search of Kayıp Cennet Restaurant. We didn’t need to look far as we were faced with this not unnoticeable sign as soon as we rounded the bend…and there were the rows and rows of tables I remembered from years before, waiting for the masses. Thankfully, they were currently empty.

A waitress greeted us and confirmed that the price was indeed 10 lira. “Choose anything you want from the buffet, then you can choose between chicken, trout or köfte and we’ll cook it on the barbecue for you. There’s some seating over there by the river if you like.” So, we didn’t have to sit at the rows of tables, after all? Things were looking up.

The waitress passed us a tray with two plates on it. Now, what do you do when you go to a buffet? Us, we’ve got to try a bit of everything and there was a lot to choose from!

Meze Dishes, Kayıp Cennet Restaurant, Saklıkent

Meze and salad fridge number 1

The first section of the fridge had a crunchy salad of red and white cabbage, spaghetti, bean salad, lightly spiced Turkish potato salad, bulgur wheat and a white bean salad (that was not quite piyaz). On top were bowls of delicious, pickled red cabbage, mixed pickled vegetables, a mayonnaise-based potato salad and pickled beetroot. That was plate 1 piled high!

Turkish Meze, Kayıp Cennet Restaurant, Saklıkent, Turkey

Meze and salad fridge number 2

Plate 2 was duly piled high with a wonderful roasted aubergine and sweet red pepper salad (oodles of olive oil!), I skipped the pasta, an extra large spoonful of delightful, spicy Antep Ezmesi (it was homemade, hand chopped and closely resembled our Antep Ezmesi recipe), spicy pickled cauliflower salad, and a sauerkraut salad.

Turkish Food At Kayıp Cennet Restaurant, Saklıkent

And the main meal was yet to come

Oh, and I just had to take a wedge of bread as well. We all headed towards the seating by the river, heavy trays in hand. All of us had taken the opportunity to sample just about everything on offer – well, it just looked so good. Weaving through the rows of tables, we arrived at the seating built over the river. Perfect!

River Seats, Kayıp Cennet Restaurant, Saklıkent

A peaceful setting over the ‘cool’ waters of Saklıkent

Ice cold bottles of Efes Pilsen were brought to our tables as we made ourselves comfortable on the cushions and all of a sudden we were very popular with the beautiful white ducks that were swimming along the river. As we began to tackle the feasts we had served ourselves, we remembered we still had our köfte to come, too. With all the food offered at the buffet and the low price being charged for it, logic told us it would just be a small plate perhaps with a couple of köfte looking lost in the middle of it.

Köfte At Kayıp Cennet Restaurant in Saklıkent

Main meal of barbecued köfte

Sometimes, especially in Turkey, logic does not prevail. 4 home made, juicy, barbecued köfte were served with real chips and Turkish rice. Somehow, we managed to get through all of our food – although I did give most of my bread to the ducks – and it left us struggling to finish our beers, but we got there, eventually….

This is the sort of place where you take your time, lounging on the cushions between mouthfuls and dipping your feet into the river. It all made for one of the best lunches we’ve had in a long, long time.

Eventually, the time came to move on so we hauled ourselves up from our cushions and went to pay…and as we did so, the jeeps descended. Perfect timing!

Kayıp Cennet Restaurant, Saklıkent – Useful Info

  • 2 plates of self-service meze and salad followed by a choice of köfte, trout or chicken costs 10 lira per head.
  • A large bottle of Efes Pilsen costs 5 lira.
  • We arrived at the restaurant just before midday and left around 1:30.
  • Although it’s not actually in Fethiye, we’re putting this meal in our Fethiye Cheap Eats section just because it’s fantastic value and many people visit Saklıkent on a day trip from Fethiye.

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Comments

  1. This looks like a lot of fun. Our daughter, Scout, just LOVES a buffet… not to mention the ducks. I love the Efes Pilsen and the cushions. We must check it out when we get to Fethiye.

  2. I remember our visit to this restaurant, unfortunately, with the jeeps and longed to sit down by the river! Maybe we will get to enjoy it the way you have! Reading your blog makes me long to come back . . .

    Kat

  3. dont know if you are aware but your comments aren’t showing up correctly, they are cut off on the right hand side.

  4. @ Mark: Hope it’ll all still be open by the time you get to Fethiye. There’s something VERY pleasant about drinking an Efes while dipping your feet in the water. 🙂

    @ Kat: Hope you get to come back soon then, in that case. 🙂

    @ Anonymous: Thanks for your comment. We’ve been told about this by someone else in the past. We’ve checked the look of the blog on our computer in all three major internet browsers (Google Chrome, Firefox and Internet Explorer) and it all looks fine from here. We’ve been to internet cafes and bars to have a look, too and all looks fine. Not sure what the problem is for viewing it on some computers unfortunately. Sorry.

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