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Oben Restaurant, Çalış – Foodie Home Comforts

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Right at the end of Çalış Beach promenade is a shaded oasis that has been a feature of this stretch for as long as we can remember: Oben Restaurant

A cobbled promenade shaded by trees to the left and a vertical sign with Oben written on it in green letters.
Oben has been here for as long as we can remember

Which begs the question, why had we never eaten at Oben Restaurant before, until recently?

And for that question, we have no answer.

Friends have been and loved it.

We’ve seen oodles of online reviews – the vast majority of them fantastic.

We’ve walked and run past this place more times than we care to remember.

We’ve sat in Lukka Bar, just opposite, more times than we care to remember.

Oben Restaurant, however, never made an appearance on our eating-out-radar.

Until this season.

We both turn 50 this year and one of our little things that we’re doing is making sure we try lots of new-to-us places as well as the old haunts; be they local bars and restaurants, archaeological sites, towns or cities.

And on this occasion, we didn’t need to leave Fethiye.

It was a mere walk down Çalış Beach promenade to Oben Restaurant for that ‘somewhere new.’

And now, we can see that we’re going to become regulars.

Because there’s absolutely nothing pretentious about this place.

Bamboo tables and chairs shaded by vines at Oben Restaurant, Çalış Beach.
Shaded by vines at Oben Restaurant

Oben Restaurant is family run. And, when you eat here, you feel like you’re in a homely garden extension of their kitchen (a kitchen which is visible to diners).

In the late ’90s and early 2000s, just about every eating and watering hole in Fethiye and surroundings had bamboo furniture.

And Oben Restaurant still has that look.

Maybe it’s a bit of nostalgia on our part – being transported back to a Fethiye of yesteryear – but it feels really comfortable to be sat in a family atmosphere, under the shade of vines, browsing a menu that is full of traditional, home-cooked Turkish dishes – and a bit more besides.

All of that and the bamboo furniture to boot. How can we possibly go wrong?

Well, we can’t. At least we couldn’t on that day.

Because then we ordered our food.

Unfortunately, we weren’t hungry enough for any meze or starters, despite all the temptation on there.

Sigara böreği, cacık, mücver (coıurgette fritters), soups, şakşuka, stuffed mushrooms – just lots of Turkish favourites and some other tempters besides.

So, for future reference – it was a quick scan through those dishes and straight onto the mains.

A close up shot of bread in a red napkin with olives and dip in the background.
An appetiser treat

When we’d chosen and ordered our mains, a little pre-meal treat arrived anyway.

Thick wedges of fresh, crusty bread, olives and spicy ezme.

We might not have been hungry enough for starters as such, but we still managed to make short work of the ezme and olives.

One piece of bread each for dipping into the ezme and the rest was saved – I knew I would be mopping up the tasty remnants of my main meal…

Barry had plumped for the Turkish musakka.

Turkish musakka topped with a green pepper in a blue casserole pot.
The musakka is in a rich tomato sauce and served in a casserole dish

It came steaming hot in a casserole pot.

Lots of meat and aubergines and a rich tomato sauce (of course, I sampled it).

Perhaps not ideal sunny weather food – but satisfying and delicious, nonetheless.

As for me, I was in prawn heaven and struggling to choose from the choices on the menu.

I eventually settled for the acılı ve kremalı karides – prawns in chilli cream sauce.

Overhead shot of shelled prawns in a creamy sauce, topped with red chilli flakes.
A generous offering of prawns

On the Oben Restaurant menu, their selection of prawn dishes is translated into English as ‘shrimps.’

For me, shrimps are the tiny little coldwater prawns, popular in the UK.

If you think like me, you’ll also be happy in the knowledge that it’s big meaty prawns that are served up at Oben.

And it’s a generous portion, too.

Prawns are not cheap. So, these days, despite my love of them, I’ve stopped ordering them in restaurants because it’s no longer value for money.

But I’d read good things online about the prawns in chilli cream sauce at Oben, so I took a chance.

And it didn’t disappoint!

Bubbling, spicy, creamy, garlicky sauce smothering a generous offering of those meaty, shelled prawns.

A circular portion of rice with a love heart shape on top.
Made with love

And you can’t enjoy all that lovely homestyle cooking without the obligatory side serving of famous Turkish rice.

We’ve seen photos online of differently shaped servings.

Ours arrived topped with a rice love heart.

Which just about summed up how we felt about the meal and the atmosphere!

As we said above; the first, but definitely not the last; time we will eat at Oben Restaurant…

  • Oben Restaurant is at the far end of Çalış Beach, just off the beach (see map below).
  • The restaurant is open summer only from April / May to October.
  • If you are having an evening meal in high season, it might be better to book a table for the time you prefer.
  • Various traditional Turkish dishes are served: from breakfast dishes like menemen to meaty mains such as liver, pirzola (lamb chops), köfte and chicken shish. There are also güveç (casseroles) dishes, including vegetable güveç.
  • If you don’t want a Turkish meal, there are Mediterranean choices and international dishes – chicken, meat and seafood dishes; pasta dishes; salads; burgers; snacks and sandwiches.
  • If you’re with kids, there’s a small children’s menu.
  • Oben Restaurant has a bar that also serves soft drinks, teas and coffees as well as alcoholic drinks.
  • You can keep up to date with latest goings on at the restaurant via their Instagram account.

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