When Fethiye’s new town square (Beşkaza Meydanı) and adjoining Uğur Mumcu Park were being built, that also meant a bit of a facelift for that stretch of the harbour, too. We got benches framed with vibrant bougainvillea, a feature bridge, new paving stones – and a row of little kiosks that would serve snacks and refreshments to passers by.
Mezgit Cafe, Fethiye
That row of kiosks, along with all of those other facilities, is now a firmly embedded feature of Fethiye. Places where you can sit, eat and drink by the water’s edge in unpretentious surroundings whilst watching the world go by – fishing boats, yachts and gülets, fishermen, those just out for a stroll.
Sitting right on the corner of the harbour at the opposite side of the park to Cafe Park Teras, one of those kiosks is called Mezgit Cafe.
What Is Mezgit?
Mezgit is the Turkish word for Whiting and this is the sort of fish that is often battered and served betwixt fresh, crusty bread in the Fethiye area.
Mezgit Cafe is slightly different to the other kiosks along this row in that their main focus is a small menu of seafood treats.
It’s the mezgit balık ekmek that drew us to the cafe. The tasty Turkish street food that, when you’re in the mood for it, nothing else will suffice. When it comes to favourite Turkish foods…
Mezgit Cafe serves up a rather decent – and substantial – mezgit balık ekmek! We’d seen customers eating them as we passed by and it always looked so tempting. So it was time to see for ourselves if it would match our hopes and expectations.
Whichever seafood snack you choose at Mezgit Cafe, you can either sit along the harbour or you can enjoy the dappled shade of the trees at the side of the cafe.
All of the little kiosks along this stretch of harbour are serving up a mezgit balık ekmek and Mezgit Cafe’s offering is actually slightly more expensive than the others.
But there are reasons why we like to come here: the views, a bit of nostalgia and, of course, the tasty treats!.
Views And A Bit Of Nostalgia
The views from Mezgit Cafe are uninterrupted. If you’re going to enjoy a fish sandwich or other seafood snack, you might as well enjoy it alongside views of the sea.
And those of you that have known Fethiye for some years will recognise this scene.
Just to the right of this shot, tucked away in the corner of the harbour, is what used to be Popeye’s boat. The place where everyone used to go to bob about on the water whilst devouring their supreme balık ekmek.
For us, sitting at Mezgit Cafe is the next best thing. The location is almost the same – it’s just that we’re on terra firma rather than Mediterranean waters.
And the presentation is slightly more upmarket, too.
Whiting fish, deep fried in a light crunchy batter, is served in warm, crusty bread with rocket and onion. On your plate is extra rocket to nibble on, a wedge of fresh lemon to squeeze into your sandwich and a side of pickled red cabbage and gherkins.
A bottle of ‘fish sauce’ is brought to your table, too. A diluted nar ekşisi (sour pomegranate sauce) and lemon sauce – which is a perfect compliment to any fish dish.
Time To Eat
It’s street food, kiosk-style. And with views like this to compliment your balık ekmek, what’s not to love?
Pick up your sandwich. A sprinkle of salt. A squeeze of lemon juice. A drizzle of sauce. Place a gherkin or two between the bread.
Bite into your sandwich and savour the textures and combination of flavours. A nibble of fresh rocket and red cabbage.
And repeat the process. Mezgit balık ekmek bliss!
Other Seafood Treats At Mezgit Cafe
Mezgit Cafe serves up more than chunks of battered whiting between bread – but this is probably their most popular offering. If you’re really hungry, you can order a portion of fries to go with it. Or you can order a plate of fish and chips.
If you’re not so hungry and feel like something lighter, you can order a fish salad – a salad bowl featuring battered goujons of that from which the cafe takes its name; mezgit (whiting). Fish burgers are there, too.
Hamsi (fried anchovies) and midye tava (fried mussels) also feature on the menu. We love fried mussels.
For one of our visits to Mezgit Cafe, Barry was more in the mood for hamsi on his sandwich rather than whiting. This is served with the same accompaniments and is another winner.
Flour-coated anchovies plunged into hot oil to give a crisp coating. Rocket, onion and tomato complete the sandwich.
But for me, on this occasion, I was curious. I just had to order the fried mussels; midye tava.
Five wooden skewers with four large battered mussels on each skewer. Sooo tasty. 4 little pieces of hot griddled bread with which to make baby mussel sandwiches. One mussel per slice.
And as for the rest of the mussels, they were simply enjoyed, dipped into the sauce and savoured.
These are Mezgit Cafe’s most expensive offering, but, on this particular day, plate after plate of them was making its way to the busy tables. They’re popular and they’re a must.
Not A Seafood Lover?
If the flavours of the sea are not your thing, you could always opt for a (cheese) burger or some good old köfte. Other than that, it’s a portion of chips. Like we said, seafood street food is the main focus at Mezgit Cafe.
After the sad demise of Popeye’s boat, we struggled for some time to find a balık ekmek that did the trick for us. Now, when we’re in Çalış, we love to sit by the canal and enjoy our ekmek at the Fishermen’s Place.
And in Fethiye, we can once more sit by the sea, take in the views from Mezgit Cafe and know we’re going to enjoy what is put before us.
Mezgit Cafe – Useful Information
- Mezgit Cafe is on the corner of Fethiye harbour, opposite the entrance to the Tuesday Market.
- The cafe is open daily, year round.
- Mezgit Cafe is a small kiosk and is very popular. As all food is cooked to order, there could be a bit of a wait at busy times.
- All the sandwiches on the menu can be ordered alone, with a side of chips or as a plate meal.
- Prices are reasonable. Mezgit balık ekmek will set you back 17 TL which is just over £2. Hamsi ekmek is 15 TL (Summer 2020).
- Midye tava is the big treat at 40TL. The fried mussels can also be ordered as a sandwich for 15TL.
- Soft drinks, çay, Turkish coffee and ayran are available.
- Along with other eateries and bars, Mezgit Cafe is listed in our places to eat and drink around Fethiye.