So, what’s going on with the title of this post, then? Just trying to sum up a description of our latest local eatery article in a few words, that’s all. Hopefully, as we tell you more about our recent experience at Begonya Ev Yemekleri in Çalış, and you scroll through the photos, all will start to make sense…
Where Is Begonya Ev Yemekleri?
Yerguzlar Caddesi, the street where Begonya Ev Yemekleri lives, seems to be becoming a road of businesses that are popping up to serve the growing population of this little corner of Fethiye. Yerguzlar Caddesi is home to one of the main entrances to the Pazar Pazarı (Çalış Sunday market). And, over the years we’ve lived in Fethiye, it’s gone from almost empty road to a lane of businesses and homes. Businesses at street level; homes above.
Yerguzlar Caddesi is home to Cafe Pazar; the Çalış branch of Baba Fırın bakehouse; Akkent Garden Hotel and its restaurant, Mandalin Bistro. And it’s home lots of other shops, services, and eateries – not to mention one or two too many supermarkets. Sarge’s, another of our little haunts, is just off this main road, too. Begonya Ev Yemekleri is one of the jigsaw pieces that make up the side boundaries of this wide, ever growing boulevard.
We were visiting there because it was high time we did so – we know the owner! Always nice to pop in and say hello and sample the fare. And we’re writing about it because we loved the fare.
Begonya Ev Yemekleri – English Tearoom Style
Anyway, let’s get to the food and the place itself. Because we’re not just being biased because these are our friends – well, maybe a bit, but stick with us. It’s just a really different space for this area. Very Turkish in an English tearoom style, as we said in the title.
Homemade preserves and pickles, biscuits and kurabiye are displayed on shelves, set off against blocks of amethyst and other ornamental stones that co-owner, Rana, used to sell.
The furniture is a pretty mishmash; traditional in a modern way. The whole feel of the place reminds me of when we used to go hiking in the Lake District in England. There was always a little cute tea shop somewhere that you could clump into, plonk down and get a hot drink and some homemade nosh that you just knew was going to do the trick.
Home Cooking In A Homely Setting
Begonya Ev Yemekleri (Begonia Home Kitchen) is Yerguzlar Caddesi’s answer to that. Well, if you’re around these parts, chances are you’ve not been hiking anywhere…but you get the picture. Country flower textiles, cute preserves on display, window box wall decorations, plant displays.
The traditional Turkish lokanta – places like Seçkin Restaurant near the industrial estate and Yeşil Asma Yaprağı in Fethiye’s Dispanser area – are there to serve hungry workers with a daily menu of fantastic homemade traditional Turkish food. Their layout and decor is purposeful. It doesn’t have to be anything else. You’re there to eat and leave.
Begonya Ev Yemekleri is also serving up that delicious homemade Turkish food; the types of which you get in the lokantas of Turkey. But life here is at a bit more of a leisurely pace. With the homely food comes the homely atmosphere. We were here quite some time when we came to eat. No rush. No need (or desire) to guzzle and go. We’re eating one of the top 3 ranked cuisines in the world, here. Savour and enjoy in this pretty setting.
Begonya Ev Yemekleri Daily Menu
No printed menus here at Begonya Ev Yemekleri. You are eating whatever Rana and her partner have prepared for the day ahead. All food is made in the rear kitchen and the menu for the day is written on the board in front of the cafe.
This is the Lezzet Durağı (Taste Stop). Yes, it’s all in Turkish (this being Turkey and all) but don’t worry. There’s not much English spoken here but it’s a very friendly place and some words are known to help you through the menu. There’s always Google Translate, too. This was the menu on the day we went. Let’s have a look:
- Tavuk Çorbası – Chicken Soup
- Ezogelin Çorbası – Red Lentil Soup
- Zeytinyağlı Yaprak Sarma – Rice-stuffed Vine Leaves in Olive Oil
- Kadınbudu Köfte – Lady’s Thigh Meatball. Yes, you read that right. We love this and have our own recipe for Kadınbudu köfte. It’s a favourite!
- Fırında Karnıyarık – Aubergine with minced meat filling baked in the oven
- Tavuk Pirzola – Chicken Cutlets
- Kabak ve Biber Dolma – Rice-stuffed Peppers and Courgettes
- Karışık Ot Kavurma – Sauteed Mixed Herbs and Greens
- Sebzeli Karnıbahar Pane – Coated Deep-Fried Cauliflower with Vegetables
- Mantı – Meat-filled dumplings often served with yoghurt. We love mantı
- İçli Köfte – And we all know how this gets lost in translation. A bulgur wheat casing filled with minced meat. We’ve had this as part of our meze at Çarıklı Et Restaurant
- Pilav – That’s the Turkish rice we all love
- Fırın Sütlaç – And for the sweet tooth, some traditional oven-baked rice pudding
But How To Choose?
Well, that’s the problem, isn’t it? If you’re a Turkish food lover, like we are, how do you go about choosing something from that scrumptious list? It’s the same whenever we’re in lokantas. The food isn’t on display at Begonya Ev Yemekleri but Rana invited us into the kitchen to take a peek at everything. Lids were lifted from pans, trays from the fridge and oven.
Of course it all looked so tempting. If anything, viewing all the food made matters worse. We were all just staring and, “Hmm, shall I have that or that?” And then, if you’re at all familiar with these types of places that celebrate the Turkish kitchen, you’ll know the famous rescue words. Those that take the pain from having to choose. Rana put forward the suggestion…
“Shall I just do a mixed plate for you?”
Yeahy, great idea! Right after we’ve all had a bowl of soup…
Lunch Is Served
We plumped for the chicken soup. In keeping with the country theme of the rest of the interior, a basket of fresh crusty bread was delivered to the table. Not just any old basket. This is a pretty one of crisp white cotton covered in a delicate flower print. Fresh lemon and ramekins filled with chilli flakes and kekik (oregano and thyme) were also brought out. Perfect start.
And then the mixed plate was delivered. By which time, I’d eaten too much bread with my soup (as usual) but we all managed to make our way through the treats before us…slowly.
The karnıyarık was always going to be so tasty. Minced meat and aubergine marry so well together (traditional Turkish musakka is another example). The biber dolma was a light mix of rice and minced meat and, as with all biber dolma recipes, was the most filling part of the plate. You can tell this is my plate – a lovely colourful sprinkling of chilli flakes all over the place. I worked my way through, and savoured every mouthful, of the selection. I saved the kadınbudu köfte for last, it being a favourite. And what a great ending to the meal it was.
Time For Çay
And what’s an ending to a mini Turkish feast without a big glass of çay – especially when it’s served with a little homemade kurabiye (a type of shortbread biscuit). There’s that pretty bread basket, we mentioned before, in the background of the photo, too. Anyway, it was a sunny day, we were all relaxed and so we just had to have a second glass of çay before we left…
Begonya Ev Yemekleri, Çalış – Useful Info
- Begonya Ev Yemekleri (Home Kitchen) is on Yerguzlar Caddesi; the main road entrance to Çalış Sunday Market.
- They’re open daily, throughout the year.
- There is indoor and outdoor seating available.
- The menu is a daily menu and prices are reasonable.
- Whether you’re looking for traditional Turkish cuisine like the food at Begonya Ev Yemekleri or you want cuisines from other climes, we’ve got lots of ideas for where to eat on our dedicated Fethiye bars, restaurants and cafes page.