Iskele Restaurant, Fethiye: Kebabs From The Ocakbaşı And More Food, Too

Yesterday started off as me supposedly preparing Rodos Kabağı for lunch and then we would walk into Fethiye because everywhere is just so bright and sunny and clear at the moment (the floods in Fethiye from a few days ago seem almost unreal now). But the weather was just teasing us, tempting us not to stay indoors and to get out there and enjoy it as soon as possible. So, rather than do battle, we succumbed to temptation and decided to go for a walk earlier and have lunch in town instead.

Where to go, though? We weren’t really in the mood for a tost and fruit juice or a balık ekmek. Somewhere to sit down and be leisurely. That’s what we fancied. Hmmm, when was the last time we ate at Iskele Restaurant? We’re in years, not months, here. We often have a drink there – but not food, so we decided to surprise the staff by asking for a menu…

Iskele Restaurant, Fethiye Harbour

Iskele Restaurant in the summer months

Iskele Restaurant has been a part of Fethiye for as long as we can remember. It wasn’t the same name when we first came to Fethiye in 1998 but there has always been an eatery there…and Iskele has been around for years. Even with the road passing by it now, summer diners still pack onto the terrace. We didn’t sit on the terrace yesterday. In winter, the sun struggles to reach the Karagözler area so, even on a bright, winter’s day, it’s still cool around here. Inside for a bit of warmth we went…

Iskele Restaurant has display fridges, like many of the restaurants in Fethiye, and it’s also an ocakbaşı, meaning kebabs and meat dishes are cooked over open coals. Think massive barbecue. So it had to be kebab, didn’t it? Freshly grilled meat cooked over coals – can’t beat it.

Appetisers, Iskele Restaurant, Fethiye

Because you always need a meal before your meal

We ordered our kebabs – and then freshly made hot lavaş bread was brought to us along with very garlicky butter and hard, crumbled cheese. A pleasantly spicy Antep ezmesi and haydari (also very garlicky) complemented them. These are the times you’re glad you didn’t order a starter. These are also the times where you look at the hot lavaş bread, then you look at the butter, then at the bread… Don’t eat the bread, you’ll not eat your lunch. Don’t eat the bread, you’ll not eat your lunch. Oh go on then, I’ll just have a little corner of bread with a little smidge of butter and cheese.

Mmmm, melted garlic butter in a pocket of hot lavash bread and more than a smidge of crumbled cheese. Alternate forkfuls of haydari and Antep ezmesi…and just a tad more bread on which to melt that lovely oh-so-garlicky butter. And meanwhile, our kebabs were sizzling and smoking on the ocakbaşı at the far end of the restaurant. And then lunch arrived and I wished I’d left the bread well alone. It’s just not possible, though, is it?

Beyti Sarma Kebab, Iskele Restaurant, Fethiye

Beyti sarma at Iskele Restaurant, Fethiye

Because I’d ordered sarma beyti. The last time I had this? Years ago, again. No idea why…because it’s one of my favourite kebabs. Herby, lightly spiced minced lamb grilled on a skewer is the ‘beyti’ part. The sarma is the wrapped part. Yes, more lavaş bread. The long tube of grilled, minced lamb is wrapped in lavaş, cut into bite-sized pieces and is then topped in a garlic yoghurt and warm tomato sauce. The usual grilled kebab accompaniments of bulgur wheat, grilled pepper and tomato and thinly slice raw onion mixed with finely chopped parsley and oodles of sumac. Just lovely!

Patlıcan Kebab, Iskele Restaurant, Fethiye

Patlıcan kebabı at Iskele Restaurant, Fethiye

Barry ordered one of his all time favourite kebabs, too; patlıcan kebabı (aubergine kebab). Not many restaurants do this…so, whenever he sees it, he orders it. And he wasn’t disappointed with his meal either. A huge aubergine, char-grilled until soft in the middle and interspersed with chunks of juicy minced lamb köfte. He left a piece of aubergine, unable to eat anymore…

Iskele Restaurant Fruit Plate, Fethiye, Turkey

Post-kebab fruit platter

And then a simple fruit platter of apples, oranges and pomegranate was brought out. Perfect to cleanse the palate, we thought. But someone in the restaurant then saw fit to deliver some sıcak helva to our table.

Sıcak Helva, Iskele Restaurant, Fethiye

Sıcak helva – A comfort dessert

Wow, the guys at Iskele Restaurant certainly know how to fill you up. What on earth happened to our light, leisurely lunch? Sicak helva is a sugared, creamed sesame paste cooked under a hot grill so that it gets a caramalised, almost crunchy glaze over the top. Ours was then topped with crushed nuts. So yummy…but so filling…and we were so full already. We ate what we could before taking our leave and walking home to try and get rid of some of the calories we’d just consumed.

No, we didn’t need to eat again yesterday…

More Foodie Indulgence At Iskele Restaurant

Yes, since first writing this post, we’ve eaten at Iskele Restaurant a couple more times and, being creatures of habit, have plumped for exactly the same meals from the ocakbaşı. However, an errand into town to buy tickets for the first Fethiyespor home match of the season meant a good excuse to grab a bit of lunch while we were in town.

The Fethiyespor Store is quite close to Iskele Restaurant and, as it was Sunday, many of our other regular haunts were yet to open…so our feet led us in the direction of the ocakbaşı. Ahhh, a sunny, breezy day, the gülets lined along the harbour…and, for a few minutes at least, we were the only customers in the place (it wasn’t quite 12:00).

Cold Meze At Iskele Restaurant, Fethiye

The obligatory ezme and some pickled beetroot, too

We browsed the menu – it was early – it felt like a kebab from the ocakbaşı would be a bit heavy for that time of day. But Iskele Restaurant in Fethiye also do a range of meze plates, including hot meze, too. It was the way forward. As you can see in the photo above, we ordered a couple of staples to go with our fresh, hot lavaş bread and then we ordered a couple of hot meze, too; seafood meze to be precise.

Crab Croquettes At Iskele Restaurant Fethiye

These crab croquettes are a longtime favourite

Crab croquettes have been on many Fethiye restaurant menus for an age – and we love them. We’ve not had them for years, so, when we spotted them, we just had to do the memory lane trip. Four large, crunchy croquettes filled with finely chopped crab were served with a wedge of lemon, rocket leaves and a marie rose sauce. And what to order next…

Fried Calamari At Iskele Restaurant, Fethiye

Lightly battered, fried calamari – foodie heaven

Mmmm, another memory jumped to the forefront of my brain. A year or so ago, while just sitting having a drink in Iskele Restaurant, a family arrived and just ordered lots of portions of fried calamari to share. I remembered it arriving, and the aroma…and we coveted. So time to try it for ourselves…

A whole squid, cut into rings and fried in a fabulously light tempura batter. Perfectly cooked, too, and served with lemon, rocket and, this time a white tartar sauce. Calamari can be so disappointing if it’s overcooked but, for us, Iskele Restaurant in Fethiye got it just right.

Another perfectly satisfying lunch, tickets for the match later on…and our team, Fethiyespor lost! See, it can’t be rosy in Fethiye all the time…

Iskele Restaurant, Fethiye – Useful Info

  • Iskele Restaurant is on Fethiye harbour, overlooking the bay, between the town marina and the ancient Telmessos Theatre.
  • There is a regular menu and display fridges with a range of meze, seafoods and kebabs on display.
  • Because there is an ocakbaşı, grilled kebabs are a speciality.
  • Prices are reasonable. The lavaş starter, sıcak helva and fruit platter were served as part of the meal at no extra cost.
  • Iskele Restaurant is open all year – the inside is heated and there’s also a log fire.
  • Iskele Restaurant, Fethiye is just one of many places where we’ve eaten over the years. Click into our dedicated page for other ideas about where to eat and drink around the area

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Comments

  1. You two are going to have take up running weekly marathon if you keep this up ! I am now deliberately reading your blog at the end of the day, when it’s too late to go out and be tempted.

  2. Found Iskele ourselves this year,my wife had been wanting calamari. The look of joy on her face as stuffed calimara was put before her was picture itself. Fine food indeed and a lingering lunch,wonderful staff,Iskele converts now,we cant wait for our next visit to Fethiye!

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