A Seafood Feast At Girida Balık Restaurant

We live in Fethiye. We know Fethiye. Well, of course we know Fethiye – but you should never rest on your laurels. There’s always something new to learn about wherever you may reside. In Fethiye’s case, there’s always restaurants or bars that we’ve never tried, be it newly-opened or a local institution. Eventually, we get around to these things…we just take our time about it.

And so, as the new harbour was being built (it’s still being built) between Fethiye and Çalış, parks were springing up and paths were being laid and new restaurants were appearing. Naturally, most of these were along the seafront, and so we were curious when we saw the appearance of Girida Restaurant. A restaurant that is set back from the rest, off the seafront and on the opposite side of the main road.

Girida Balık Restaurant, Fethiye, Turkey

Girida Balık Restaurant in its early days

It didn’t look much, but we were curious and decided straight away. Here was a seafood restaurant, 50 or so metres from where some of the local fishermen arrive with their catch each morning. We love Fethiye fish market and so we really wanted to try this place. It’s close to where we live and it’s close to the fishermen.

Days became months and for various, trivial reasons, we never made it there. Turkish friends kept saying, “Oh, you must go.” English friends who came on holiday kept saying, “Oh, you must go.” We were sick of hearing about the place! “We know we must go and we will go. We want to go and we will go…when we can.” Well, we finally made it to Girida Balık, a Fethiye seafood restaurant.

Meze Dishes At Girida Balik, Fethiye, Turkey

Very tempting meze fridge, part 1

We knew the drill from what people had told us. There’s no menu at Girida Balık. You choose from the fridges and it’s whatever’s there on the day. This is just perfect for us – and that, along with the great food reports, is what excited us. We love the meze fridge – and also prefer to choose our main meal from the fridge, wherever possible – and Girida Balık didn’t disappoint.

Meze Fridges, Girida Balık, Fethiye, Turkey

Very tempting meze fridge, part 2

A few of the regulars were in evidence: olives; broccoli in lemon, garlic and olive oil; pickled anchovies; haydari (garlic yoghurt and sesaonal green herbs) and aubergine salad. But this place is an out and out seafood restaurant. There was also dressed crab, mussels, king prawns, meaty tentacles of octopus and seafood-stuffed mushrooms and börek. Where to start…

Fish At Girida Balık, Fethiye, Turkey

What to have from the fish fridge…

We did what we do best and just started pointing and asking about the different meze dishes and fish they had a available. We didn’t go for a whole fish though – those skewers looked much more interesting. We picked everything to share as a table. Pointing and questions completed, we told the waiter what we wanted and took our seats at the only free table remaining, bar one more that had been reserved.

Outside Area, Girida Balık, Fethiye, Turkey

Sitting outside Girida Balık

The very top photo was taken soon after Girida Balık had been built. As you can see in the photo above, things have matured a little in the seating area. It was a very pleasant atmosphere with a gentle buzz about the place and Turkish folk music played quietly in the background.

Meze Dishes At Girida Balık, Fethiye, Turkey

Our meze selection

Cold meze and salad was the first to arrive and we even gave this a bit of a seafood feel by ordering what the waiter had told us was kaya otu – this literally translates as rock herb. A type of seaweed that grows between the rocks along the seashore. We’ve had deniz börülcesi (samphire) many times previously, so Barry and I opted for the kaya otu, despite our friend not looking too keen on the idea. Wow, it was good. Pickled in a tangy vinegar and yet still tasted of the sea.

Lightly toasted bread was present and we did cave in to have one piece – it’s necessary for dipping into the salad dressing, the dressing of the broccoli meze and the vibrant colours of the beetroot juice, not to mention the yoghurt dishes. We knew, however, that we should have just left well alone with the bread. There was lots more food to come.

Seafood Dishes At Girida Balık, Fethiye

Our hot seafood meze selection

Girida Balık is an eating experience rather than just going out for a quick meal. The hot meze plates shown above were brought out only as we were finishing the cold meze. Plates that still had food on them were left on the table and empty ones removed to make way for the hot treats above.

The prawn and vegetable-stuffed börek was presented cut through the middle because it was so big. This gave me an opportunity to start inspecting with my fork – I want this recipe! And the octopus might not look too appealing to some, but we can tell you we were scrambling for the last pieces. Charcoal-grilled and cooked to perfection. See the sauce in the bowl of prawns? Yes, more bread was used to soak that up. Just too tasty to be allowed to back to the kitchen.

Seafood Mains At Girida Balık, Fethiye, Turkey

Main meal and time to go home…

Of course, by now, we were all completely full…and then the skewers arrived. Thinly sliced swordfish rolled and skewered and topped with a light coating of breadcrumbs and huge chunks of grouper fish separated by peppers and tomatoes. Eventually, there was just one chunk of grouper fish left – it looked so filling and none of us could face any more food. Barry relented as the waiter was taking the plates away.

It was midnight now and we’d been eating for three hours. Time to get the bill as the restaurant began to empty. Even the bill box is covered in shells! And we’d love to tell you what the bill inside the box said on it – but this meal was a treat from a friend and she wouldn’t let us see it! We’ll definitely be going to Girida Balık again though so we’ll let you know, next time.

Girida Balık, Fethiye: Useful Info

  • Girida Balık is set back, just off Cahit Gündüz Caddesi on 807 Sokak, opposite the new marina along the harbour (view on our map of Fethiye).
  • The restaurant is open daily, till late, all year round and sometimes has live fasil music evenings in winter.
  • As we said, there is no menu at the restaurant. Go inside and choose from the fridges. In these situations, we prefer to choose lots of dishes to share between the table rather than ordering a meal each.
  • If you are concerned about what your bill might come to at the end of the evening, there’s no harm in asking the waiter how much things are as you go along. They’re a friendly bunch.

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Comments

  1. Now I’m really hungry!! The food looks delicious. Obviously one I can recommend to friends who are heading your way!

  2. Very envious of your seafood fest in Fethiye! I wish we had that variety of seafood here in Istanbul. Maybe we’ll make it back to Fethiye this year? 🙂 Afiyet olsun!

  3. @ Jenny: The food was really good – some of the best we’ve had in a long time in Turkey. 🙂

    @ Joy: Istanbul should have good seafood restaurants, shouldn’t it? Be good to see you here in Fethiye seeing as we missed you last time. 🙂

  4. This restaurant looks amazing! Having a great variety of different dishes and pointing out exactly what you want, is my kind of a meal. Three hours? That’s a very successful feast!

  5. @ Mark Wiens: We love to go to the fridges and point out what we want. Make so much sense than looking at a menu. A good way of eating out in Turkey. 🙂

  6. I would check the weight of the fish and price per kilo very carefully. We were charged 72TL for a very average size fish for two last week. The whole bill was far more expensive than then average and we certainly felt we had been ‘had’. Only restaurants with priced menus for us in the future!!

  7. @ Anonymous: We ALWAYS check the prices first if there is no menu. We’ve been back here since and found the seafood meze in particular to be quite cheap. As for the main meals,if you had something like grouper and it’s not in season, then it is going to be pricey. We’ve had that experience in other seafood restaurants so now, it’s a case of ask the waiter, if in doubt.

  8. Julia I dont understand how the fridge could be full of fish that are not in season! I thought the idea of the co-operative is that they sell fish caught in Fethiye Bay that day??..but whatever, the price per kilo should be shown so foreigners and Turks know they are paying the same – and the weight of the fish should be acknowledged by the customer so there is no mis-understanding.

  9. @ Anonymous: Wrong phrase, sorry. The market price of any particular fish varies, depending on the stage of the season. As I said above, we ask the waiter, if in doubt and if it’s too expensive for us, we don’t buy it.

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