When I first started this blog, the aim was to explore Turkish food and review Turkish restaurants. However, I’d realised after a long period of trials and errors that there weren’t many restaurants worth a visit, let alone a review. So I’d stopped.
It is very difficult to find good restaurants in Istanbul without breaking the bank – mind you that trying local food as a tourist is different to having to eat the same food everyday and at every restaurant. And even if you did find some, you can’t hide the feeling that you’ve been ripped off upon paying because you know that you would get the same food for less than half the price back home; uh hm… by home, I meant Australia. Confused? Don’t worry. I’m confused myself, too.
Sezai’nin Yeri, Deniz restaurant, Fethiye, Turkey
After the long pause of nearly half year, I’ve resumed to my exploration and this time I’ve consulting my six sense and local people; neither Tripadvisor nor food magazine sites. I’ve been let down by many restaurants recommended by TripAdvisor and now I’ve decided to call it “TripSpoiler“. Every venue nowadays flashes a Tripadvisor certificate and it looks ugly when the venue doesn’t deserve it and, worse still, the owner tries so hard to get good reviews from customers by bribing them.
I stumbled across this restaurant, which I’ve already been to twice over two months, by chance. If you ever pass through Fethiye in Turkey, I strongly recommend this place. Fethiye centre along the waterfront is saturated with cafes, restaurants and tour boats. You ignore all of them and reach a square at the end of the harbour walkway, then you will see more local people and children hanging out.
The restaurant is called Sezai’nin Yeri. Having eaten here, I felt stupid for having eaten at the fish market which all the tourists, not foreign but Turkish tourists, go to and is recommended by travel books and blogs. So please stay away from “the fish market” and save your bucks.
Istanbul is no place for seafood, except one place, which I will review soon. So every time I get down to Fethiye, I try to eat as much seafood as I can; cheaper and fresher. It is shame that I didn’t have my camera with me on my first visit but the fish I had then was the most delicious fish I’d eaten for a long time. Fresh off the sea and nicely grilled.
On top of that, food is nicely presented and even the salad was served differently to most restaurants.
The marinated seabass, bathed in lemon and olive oil, is fresh and zingy, and the grilled calamari is one of the best. On both occasions, it was exceptionally tender, perfectly barbecued, and had a subtle chili kick without any chili flakes or spices to be seen- superb!.
That night we picked “red mullet” in the fish display. With this fish, it had been confirmed that the chef knew how to cook fish. The fish was juicy and tender, and not oily as other fish restaurants. I enjoyed dinner on both occasions with the same glass of house rose, which was also acceptable.
The staff remembered me from the last time and was extra attentive, which also made a huge difference on my impression of the place. They tended to every small needs with smiles and hospitality. As I’m not a huge fan of sweet Turkish dessert, Mr.O asked for a very tiny slice of Tahin (nougat made of sesame paste) and later we found that they didn’t even charged us for the dessert and coffee.
This time they gave us a much bigger slice of Tahin on top of the fruit plate. Eating “Tahin” after a seafood meal is a tradition in Turkey. There is another type of tahin dessert, which I much prefer, is “Firin Tahin“, meaning “baked tahin”, and it is like “creme brulee” but without the cream – I call it “sesame brulee”. It is less sweet and more delicious as it contains fruit, sometimes nuts, and with cinnamon flavour.
To be honest, I was tempted to try a new place the last time I was there so I started to walk along the harbour, checking menus and plates on people’s tables but none looked good. I was glad that I didn’t go somewhere else that night, otherwise my first night in Fethiye would have been spoilt.
- Fethiye (guppyroad.wordpress.com)