Dalyan Restaurants – Meze Makes A Meal Special

So, we got from Fethiye to Dalyan by bus. We’ve told you what we thought about Hotel Konak Melsa; the place where we stayed. But our whole reason for being in Dalyan was just so we could experience Dalyan at night. We were curious. And we wanted it to be good. We wanted a meal by the river, overlooking the Lycian tombs – and we wanted that meal to be memorable for all the right reasons.

So there we were. Two (Turkish) food enthusiasts, wondering where to go. What if we ordered our food and then it wasn’t quite what we were expecting. A good meal but nothing really special. Well there’s only one thing to do in situations like this. The meze table guarantees variety, flavour and conversation. We’d just hit the meze fridges and point. No big main meal, just lots of different dishes to take our time over.

Turkish Meze Dishes, Aktaş Restaurant, Dalyan

Aktaş Restaurant meze selection

Aktaş Restaurant was the restaurant we plumped for, for no other reason than we asked the waiter at the entrance if they had geren. They did! Sold. In we walked and chose a table by the water’s edge, overlooking the tombs. Then it was to the meze fridges to begin the pointing process. We can’t have a meze selection without Antep Ezmesi so that was first on the list. Next was aubergine salad and geren (on this occasion, minus the yoghurt).

As soon as you choose a dish like geren (samphire marinated in oil, lemon and garlic), you’re heading in the seafood flavour direction. So then we ordered pickled rock seaweed (kaya koruğu), marinated hamsi (anchovies) and – the best of the best – tasty, tender, marinated octopus (ahtapot). Yes, we do love us some octopus.

And, as with Antep Ezmesi, these days, we also feel a tad distressed if we can’t see tangy pickled beetroot (pancar) in the fridges. Where this beetroot obsession has come from, on my part, I have no idea – because, when I was younger, I couldn’t even bear to look at the stuff. Anyway, beetroot was duly ordered and then, just for good measure, a portion of liver and onions. Does liver go with seafood flavours? No, not really…but that’s the beauty of meze. You can order what you want and we fancied some liver, too.

Dalyan River & Rock Tombs At Night

View of the river and Dalyan’s Lycian rock tombs from Aktaş Restaurant

As the sky darkened, the food arrived at the table. Now, you can’t really tell in the photo – the liver plate gives you an idea – but we started to think we’d ordered a tad too much food. The meze plates and portions were of generous sizes. We’d already been given warm bread with olives and cheese (that we had tried not to eat too much of) and now here was more warm bread and all this food.

But we lingered over it, took our time, chatted, took in the famous Dalyan scenery – and made our meal memorable for all the right reasons. And so, we can’t even tell you what’s on the menu at Aktaş Restaurant because we didn’t see one. But we can tell you that their meze is just great! The setting is nothing to be sniffed at, either.

Dalyan, Turkey At Night

Dalyan centre at night

Dalyan is a place where you go to chill out – and so long had we lingered over our meal of meze, well, the night was yet young (relatively-speaking) but we were relaxed-tired. We ambled back towards the centre, had a quick nightcap at our favourite Dalyan bar, M&M Rock Bar, and then strolled on back to our hotel. We slept soundly, that night…

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Comments

  1. Love the photo of the tombs. When my sister visited me while I was living in Istanbul, we would have to tell her don’t fill up on the bread, meze and salad when we would go to the fish restaurants. It is so hard to resist though. I think you guys made a smart choice by order lots of meze!

  2. Mick Sutton says

    Dalyan is probably the most chilled out place in the world, to us.
    every year we intend to go back there, just the two of us, but some years, friends get in the way, and we go to calis, or olu deniz, or fethiye, but even then, we always try to get to dalyan at least for the day, and preferably overnight too.
    every year we get home and say “DALYAN NEXT YEAR, FOR SURE!”
    for those that like the life and noise of marmaris or bodrum it is probably not an ideal choice, but having done those two resorts and surrounding areas several times before, and being of the generation where music was a series of notes with a recognisable tune, rather than “thud, thud, thud, various racialist swearwords, thud, thud, thud” (ok we are old, all right!)
    we like the turned down, laid back, “manana” (yes, i know its spanish)feel to the place.
    the restaurants range from the cheapest lokanta to some VERY pricey or posh restaurants, (we havent been in the posh ones, we are peasants) and while we have had some pretty ropey service in some places, we have not yet had a bad meal anywhere there.
    we loved the Safrane, the first time we went, (it is a BIT posh) as it has a great view of the tombs at night, probalby the most expensive one we went in, but we did visit several times, so the food must have been worth it.
    The Cagri is a basic, working mans
    cafe, with the food costing next to nothing and being absolutely full of flavour, great value especially if money is tight, or you are.
    our top favourite, from every visit though, is Ramazan Han.
    even if we are only in dalyan for an hour, we would eat here.
    fabulous food, reasonable prices, and a very nice guy in charge.
    our first time in Dalyan was actually almost accidental.
    the wife found a cheap villa on owners direct, well it was one of four apartments in the villa, but for the most part we were in the place alone, and flights were exceptionally cheap to dalaman for the dates we wanted,(thats never happened again!) so orff we jolly well went.
    The villa Defne, where we stayed, is about 10-15 minutes gentle stroll to the town centre, pretty well appointed for the price, (its still very reasonable now) and quite private, although i believe some development has gone on since we were there the first time.
    for those who want a holiday without loads of people around them, a villa like the Defne is ideal.
    the next year, due to the collapse of Goldtrail, and our financial situation, the holiday we had paid for in dalyan went out of the window, as we could not afford to pay any extra at the time, we had to have the only destination that cost the same as we had paid for dalyan, which turned out to tunisia. september 2010.
    tunisia is the worst place i have ever visited, and ive been to Barnsley!
    the people were awful. rude, unhelpful and totally lacking in any warmth or humanity.
    the resort, hamam-sousse was an open sewer, with most of the rats working in the hospitality industry if our experience was anything to go by.
    one night, in port al kantouie, we asked for cous cous with our meal, only to be told that “you must give 24 hours notice if you want cous cous!”
    anyway, enough of that nightmare, suffice to say, never again.
    the following two years we found the Sahin at Dalyan, a smallish, very friendly hotel, with a good kitchen, serving really good food , really cheaply.
    again , a nice stroll into town.
    last year, because we went to tenerife with friends in may, we had to do turkey on the cheap in september, so went to our friends villa in calis, they have lived there for about four or five years now, but we only found out in 2011!
    crafty, they are!
    this year, (2014) we persuaded our tenerife buddies to come to turkey, and as ms friend had always fancied the blue lagoon, olu deniz it was.
    we took them to dalyan for the day and night though!
    next year is DEFINITELY Dalyan, though, no matter what!
    (and maybe september this year, if money allows!)

    • Thanks a lot for your comment, Mick. Glad you’re a Turkey – mainly Dalyan – enthusiast. 🙂 We really like Bodrum but only in winter. Very chilled. Believe summer is a different beast. 🙂 Hope you get to go to Dalyan in September and next year, too. 🙂

  3. Fabulous!! My favorite kind of food and Dalyan has it all 🙂 Ozlem

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