Just an hour from Nice in rural Provence lies the beautiful village of Villecroze. Blink and you miss it but situated on the main street is 'La Cascade'. Every lunchtime and evening, Martine cooks quietly in view of her lucky customers. Delivering Salade de Chevre Chaud, Daube Provencale, Creme Brulee and Tarte aux Pommes. Complimented by wine from the local vinyard 'Valcombe' not a mile away. Welcomed with a cold aperitif on a summer evening and waved goodbye apres cafe, you just can't get more French than this.
Rue Ambroise Croizat, 83690 Villecroze, France
+33 826 10 69 06
Google map: bit.ly/HJmJtU
This is the best meal I have had in Paris. It is near Gare de l'Est at 2 rue St Laurent 75010 tele. 42 05 98 20. It is not open at weekends. The menu is limited but the food is awesome. It is also a wine bar and the wines are as good (and as reasonably priced) as the food.
2 Rue St Laurent, 75010 Paris, France
+33 1 42 05 98 20
Google map: bit.ly/HdKad3
This 10 mile cycle way follows the path of an old railway line from the main car park in Dolgellau (park in the cheaper long stay section near the rugby pitch.) It ends with a 3/4 mile trip across the beautiful Barmouth rail bridge (small toll.) The route is fairly flat and utterly spectacular, with views of the surrounding mountains and down the river to the sea. It is great for kids, not too strenuous and no real hills. At the end of your trip you can reward yourself with a delicious ice cream at Knickerbockers - beside the Anchor restaurant and facing you as you ride into town before setting off back to Dolgellau, or stopping off for dinner at the George the Third hotel beside the toll bridge in Penmaenpwll.
Centro is the place to go for imported Italian foods. This family-run shop has been in the Corso Italia neighbourhood for over 30 years, and it’s one of my mum’s favourite places to shop. Upon entering, you will see an enormous array of cheeses hanging from the ceiling, a deli counter stretching the entire length of the store, and shelves with cookies, crackers, pasta, coffee, olive oil and other delights from Italy.
While some of the cheese and deli sold is locally produced, most of the products are imported directly from Italy. The cheese sold here is some of the finest. My mum will only buy her beloved parmigiano reggiano here and I really love the taleggio and gorgonzola, always fresh and tasty.
The deli meats are great too, and you can have a panino, or sandwich, made right before your eyes. The lady behind the counter can fill up a freshly baked bun with whatever your heart desires: prosciutto, mortadella, marinated eggplants, salami, etc.
My mum and I always try to get here before lunch, so we can head to the back of the store where there is a very modest dining area serving some of the best homemade Italian food. The place is usually filled to capacity, so getting here just before noon is a must. Whether it’s a veal sandwich with tomato sauce and roasted red peppers with mozarella, two sausages with rapini or dandelion on the side, lasagna with salad, homemade ravioli, and even Italian wedding soup, there is no skimping here. Portions are generous, the food is superb and the price is great - lunch will cost roughly $10 or so.
1224 St. Clair Avenue West (near Dufferin)
+1 416 656 8111
Google map: bit.ly/GPtJ3g
* Giulia is our Been there local for Toronto. You can see her profile here: www.ivebeenthere.co.uk/places/canada/toronto/index.jsp and follow her tips here: www.ivebeenthere.co.uk/travellers/GiuliaFalsetti
Picture this. Stunning sun drenched open terrace overlooking a deep blue green Mediterranean sea. I could gaze endlessly out at the small islands in the distance. Instead, I have work to do: deciding what to order. Will it be the Ottoman style lamb shanks, grilled sea bass, a traditional claypot chicken or the fainting priest (aubergine and veggie hot pot)? Adam makes it easy and suggests grilled garlic prawns, rice and salads. We all opt for this and soak up the atmosphere with a bottle of cool crisp Cankaya white wine. We witness a spectacular pink hued sunset from our small corner of paradise.
We return a few days later for brunch- heaven on many little plates: Pan fried paprika infused white cheese, a selection of local cheeses, poached paprika egg dish, fresh bread, salads, organic tomatoes and cucumbers, a selection of home grown olives in various marinades, home made jams and honey and the list goes on! My daughter plays with bunny rabbits and works up an appetite chasing roosters and chickens with Adam's children.
Adam's Place allows you to escape from the hustle and bustle of a busy tourist town and experience a traditional Turkish meal in a relaxed informal setting.
Adam is charming, helpful and friendly. He and his family are gracious hosts. We have been frequenting Adam's Place since first coming to Kalkan in 2007. All meals include home grown organic produce. Whether an al fresco breakfast, brunch or dinner, Adam's Place does not disappoint.
Adam will even drive you to/from your holiday home in Kalkan as his restaurant is about a 5-10 minute drive from the centre of Kalkan.
Kas Road, Kalkan
+90 0242 844 3232
The Konagi is the restored mansion of an Ottoman provincial Governor, filled with antiques of the period, and is now a boutique/hotel complex in the tiny village of Resadiye, 2kms from the town of Datca, which is itself about 80kms from the resort/city of Marmaris. The hotel also includes a restored Ottoman 'hamam'. We have been there several times, eating and staying in the accommodation. The restaurant is a great experience with locally-grown and sourced produce and innovative menus, but it is also the complex's beautiful setting in Resadiye village, the sensitive resoration of the old Ottoman-style mansion, its gardens and positioning along the Datca pensinsula that continues to draw us to the place. The hotel is not that far from Maramaris and is a scenic car or taxi ride from the city, with the possibility of visiting the wonderful ancient site of Knidos (you can also get there by Dolmus, but this can take some time). We sail in the area and visit many small restaurants, some only accessible by boat, and recommend the Datca peninsula for all its various attractions, and the Konagi in particular, for a day-trip from Marmaris or a more extended stay on the peninsula, where there are also several attractive walking possibilities.
I'd arrived in Mardin from Sanliurfa in the evening, watching through the window of my bus as Mesopotamia turned from green to gold in the setting sun, before fading into the twilight as darkness fell.
Mardin is a small town in the southeast of Turkey, golden stone house rising in chaotic rows up the side of a rocky escarpment. To the south the land falls away to a vast plain that stretches away into Syria. Tiny rivers incise the heavily irrigated fields and it feels like the view continues on into infinity. However, I was staying in the far less glamorous, but far more affordable new town at the foot of the escarpment, and so for me the view would have to wait until the following day.
After checking in, I set off into the town in search of something to eat. No golden stone houses here, just the usual mess of concrete and brick and nowhere looked promising. Turning down a side street I saw one restaurant, but with no-one sat outside I walked on, hoping to find somewhere better frequented. After a few more minutes I turned back and took a closer look at the first restaurant; the Karburger Kino. Inside it was all fluorescent lighting and Formica tables, but it was also very busy; the locals clearly felt differently to me about what constituted suitable weather for dining al fresco. I walked in and a waist coated waiter handed me a menu and sat me at a table next to an old local man who was also eating alone.
Western pop music was pumping out of restaurants speaker system, but as Christina Aguilera gave way to Carlos Santana I conceded that someone had pretty decent taste. Around me local families were talking and laughing, and the old man at the next table was industriously demolishing a delicious looking combination of meat and rice. After several solid days of grilled meat and flat bread, it looked like heaven. The waiter came back over and I enthusiastically pointed at my neighbour’s dish. He flipped open the menu and pointed at the first item on there; Karburger. It seemed I had ordered the house special.
A few minutes later the waiter returned with my drink and a small plate of mysterious looking starters. I gingerly started eating, and found myself tucking into a selection of local specials, ranging from delicious meatballs fried in bread crumbs to a far less inviting suet based concoction.
Next came the Karburger main; a huge plate of shredded lamb on a bed of rice, with a side bowl of chilli and tomato sauce for pouring over the dish. It was fabulous, and I wolfed it down, but my waiter wasn’t done with me. My sun-chapped lips still stinging from the hot sauce, I was presented with a small Noah’s Pudding, which I finished off with the last bit of space in my stomach filled.
The meal done with and the waiter thanked profusely for the excellent meal, there was only the bill to come. It was 13 Lira, about £5. I paid with a hefty tip and left happy. Staggering back to my hotel, I realised how lucky I had been to stumble onto such a marvellous, local, authentic place. It may not have looked like a great restaurant, but that’s what makes such places such a great surprise!
Turn left from the Hotel Bilem in the new town.
Mardin Merkez, Vali Ozan Cad., Mardin, Turkey
+90 482 212 5568
Google map: bit.ly/GTRlDa
When visiting the historic town of Ayvalik on Turkey's Aegean coast, do as the locals and Turkish summer visitors do and head to Cunda (AliBey) in the evening.
The Deniz Restaurant on the sea front has a marvelous array of hot and cold mezes, mainly vegetarian or sea food, including stuffed courgette flowers, samphire and sea urchin when in season. The fresh fish that almost inevitably follows is delicious although prepared simply by either frying or grilling (depending on the type of fish). Try the local speciality, papalina, tiny fried fish eaten bones, head and all.
In winter you can eat inside in front of an open fire.
You should try drinking Raki whether winter or summer, but don't forget to dilute it!
The best thing about the Deniz Restaurant is its affordability - a full meal with Raki or wine will cost about £20-25 per head which compares favourably to the many neighbouring restaurants. The Deniz Restaurant is the one the locals choose and they can't be wrong, they may even have caught the fish served there!
Cunda Deniz Restourant sahil boyu no:15 Alibey adası Ayvalık/Balıkesir
+90(0)266 327 16 85
Accessible by bus or dolmus from Ayvalik or by small ferry in season. Or you can drive over the causeway. The restaurant is on the seafront near the "Tas Kahve".
Tel: 0266 327 16 85
‘Son Çare’ (meaning Last Chance), situated in Antalya’s atmospheric and beautifully restored Kaleiçi (old town) provides a glorious sight at any time of the day. This small – barely more than a kiosk – establishment is secreted away just behind the picture postcard Clock Tower. It comes into its own late at night when the bars, clubs and music venues are starting to disgorge their customers.
The smell and sound of sizzling köfte (a spicy Turkish meatball) will direct you to the right place. Ask for a köfte sandwich and the guy will throw four or five meat balls on to the barbeque, closely followed by a generous portion of bread. Once this is cooked, the fun really begins - a large counter out front displays every kind of fresh salad vegetable available including: different types of lettuce, rocket, flat-leafed parsley, mint, tomatoes, cucumbers, radishes, onions, carrots, the list goes on. Next there are bowls of spices: pul biber (red pepper flakes), sumac, thyme, cumin, black pepper and small but deadly pickled chillies. Fill your sandwich to your heart’s content and wash it all down with a cool glass of ayran – a refreshing salty yoghurt drink.
Not only does this mop up any alcohol and help ward off next day’s hangover, but you can feel justified in having indulged yourself in a healthy snack. Beats chips with curry sauce any day.
Just off Dönerci Çarşısı, close to the clock tower in Antalya's Kaleici - just ask any local!
An hour’s drive out of Antalya lies a small village next to the sea called Cirali. After sunbathing in the early afternoon sun and a refreshing swim we sat in the shade with a cold beer wondering where in this small village we would eat dinner. We asked at the pensyion where he could recommend eating. “What do you like?” he replied, I said fish, Jimi said Kofte. “OK come back at 7pm and it will be ready”.
He then set off in his little boat along the coast with us wondering why he left in such a hurry. 7pm arrives and we apprehensively approached the cushioned area at the front of the Pension. (It was out of season so not set up for a restaurant.) To our great surprise Cemil laid out a wonder of treats before us. Meze to start with Babaganoush style dip, fresh Turkish warm breads, a tatzijki sort dip and fresh rough looking pitted olives. The main was just as I asked, freshly caught fish to order just hours old and home-made sizzling koftas with a delicious fresh mouthwatering local salad. We ate our feast to the sun setting, looking out to the sea and delightful Turkish music playing in the background. We were offered cold beers or Raki and water (a traditional Turkish combo). I would never have imagined that a small pension in the middle of nowhere could have produced us such a wonderful meal in such a picturesque and idyllic setting. I would recommend Cemils Pension in Cirali as a relaxed and beautiful place to eat a delicious and memorable meal.
+90 242 825 7063
When walking from the Galata Bridge to the Galata Tower, you might be fooled to thinking this little back street patisserie is just that, but when you take the almost hidden lift to the third floor of the building you can enjoy beautiful views of Sultanahmet across the Bosphorus. A large open air terrace sits upon the rooftop with excellent service, good prices and tasty food. The menu has a selection of Turkish, Italian and international dishes as well as a large selection of cakes from their ground floor patisserie. Excellent homemade soups for cold evenings and big salads for summer nights. A great place to watch the sun go down and the lights of nighttime Istanbul illuminate the Mosques and palaces across the river.
Private boats operate from Fethiye, Göcek and Marmaris in Skopea Limani (Göcek Bay), and if you take a week long cruise or just a day trip, please don't miss the biggest island of Tersane Adasi. Believed to have been a dockyard during the early Ottoman period, ruins are scattered around the desolate land and shallow waters of the creek. Most importantly, though, this is where you will find the most unusual local restaurant in the bay.
A precarious jetty juts out from what is essentially a farm homestead, owned by a family who keep sheep for most of the year, but during the peak tourist season open up their home as a restaurant. When you arrive a family member will take the boat's line and ask you what you would like for supper. If home-grown lamb is on offer jump at the opportunity: cooked until it falls off the bone, it melts in the mouth. Sitting under the stars in the silence (no banging beats here), will be a memory to cherish.
Tersane Adasi restaurant, Tersane Adasi, Göcek, Muğla Province
+90(0)535 459 41 73
Get there: by day trip boat, gulet cruise or private yacht charter
Google map: bit.ly/GA7hLR
Dotted around the bays and islands of Göcek Bay are a number of family-owned restaurants which flourish during the tourist season. What makes the Yat Muğla Restaurant in Boynuzbükü special is that despite the area being a yachtsman's paradise, you don't have to be on a boat to reach it. Set in the shade of a protected forest of aromatic Oriental Sweetgum (Liquidambar orientalis), and caught between two natural spring water streams, the restaurant is an idyllic place to while away a long lunch of fresh fish, salads, kebaps and köfte. Run by Ali Döndar's family in the summer (they keep sheep and fish in the winter), all the generations get involved in making the area a welcoming and relaxing place to stay. I defy your mouth not to water at the smell of home-made flat bread being cooked.
Boynuzbükü, Muğla Province
+90(0)542 634 09 75
By boat: Skopea Limani (Göcek Bay) 36°42.7′N, 28°54.4′E
By car: the bay is at the end of a gravel road from the Tersakan turning off the Dalaman -Fethiye highway.
In the words of the bad guy from the movie The Rock, “I sh#t you not,” this is the best meal out I have ever had in my life. With a morning dash up Needle Mountain, the ominous peak which bisects the intimidating Commando training base and idyllic fishing town Egidir, under my belt, Rose and I strolled along the man-made causeway which connects the main town to the tiny outcrop which is home to a few Pensyions and restaurants. It was a hot day and we stopped for a quick swim to cool off, only the sound of a few truants playing nearby for company. After drying off we meandered past a couple of empty restaurants and came upon one that although not full was showing signs of having recently been enjoyed by many; busy smiling staff, messy tables (unheard of in Turkey) and the smell of many flavours still in the air. Expecting to be told we were too late for lunch we politely enquired, “of course we do food sit down” was the clear message. We were seated under a lemon tree right by the lakeside, the only boat in view was a small rower with two old men smoking and talking under the guise of fishing. We each ordered a different fish, with other options of course being tavuk (chicken) and the staple Kofte. Our perfectly cooked, freshly caught fish was presented in a proud manner which suggested the waiters were used to happy customers. They didn't disappoint and were perfectly accompanied by a delightfully light and zingy parsley salad. We ate contentedly but not too quickly, happily savouring the taste, the atmosphere and the view, all working together in perfect harmony. It was one of those meals where you wouldn’t change a thing, topped off with a bill of about six quid. Teşekkür ederim. And we shall see you again.
3rd Restaurant as you enter the island on the South side.
Google map: bit.ly/GAyE8b
Quite simply the most beautiful breakfast in Istanbul with the most stunning view.
House Cafe is a modern stylish eating establishment sitting on the banks of the Bosphorous serving a wonderful East meets West selection of fare for a reasonable price (much better than the surrounding hotels). I recommend their scrabbled egg on rye bread followed with a gorgeously presented fresh virgin apple mojito.
You can sit in the shade on decking looking out at the water or inside if its just too hot. At night the place becomes a nightclub/bar which is much friendlier than their neighbours.
Salhane Sokak No: 1 Ortaköy İstanbul
+90(0)212 227 2699-39
Beg, borrow or steal a boat somewhere between Bodrum and Marmaris, because that's the only way you can get to the fabulous wild bay of Bosuk Buku and the ancient ruins of Loryma. You'll know you've arrived when the skipper gently nudges the boat through the narrowest of entrances, beneath the ancient battlements running along the spine of the boulder-strewn headland.
There are no houses or hotels in the bay, but a couple of enterprising local families from nearby villages have set up restaurants. They get their power from antediluvian generators and bring water in by boat every day. The best of these is the eccentric Sailors House in the north western corner. Serving the best mezzes in the whole of Turkey (well, at least the best we found in the four years we lived around the southern coast) Ali, with his son Mustapha, go to great lengths to make your stay memorable. Sublime food, excellent hospitality and ad hoc entertainment combine to make every visit unique.
Nr Bozukkale, Bosuk Buku, Muğla, Turkey
Lon: 028° 01 5 E
Lat: 36° 34 0 N
The Captain's Place is a village taverna overlooking the marina in the pretty village of Datca serving delicious local fish courses (£8-10) and meze (£4-5) to holidaymaking families, locals and international tourists. Grab a table outside to enjoy dinner from its elevated dining area overlooking the harbour and the spectacular sunsets. Chicken with walnuts, sea bass (levrek) and raki (Turkish aniseed liqour) are highly recommended. You can add your opinion to the other thousands of positive ones on the tables and walls! If you want to get away from Brit dominated Marmaris, it's a beautiful one hour drive or bus ride on a winding road with jaw dropping Aegean views.
Yat LimanI, Datca, Turkey
+90 252 712 3375
Beautiful Fethiye is set in a spectacular bay, on the edge of the Lycian coast. With the wild snow-capped Taurus mountains as a backdrop it is one of the dreamiest places to spend the winter. On the harbour, just in front of the ancient theatre by the marina, is Fethiye's best local restaurant. Unlike the fish market and other harbour-side restaurants frequented by Fethiye's summer tourists, Ocakbaşı Iskele stays open all year round. The local community – and holiday makers who want authentic Turkish dishes made from local produce – come here for its tasty meat dishes and the morning's catch. You can sit outside in the summer and watch turtles swimming in the harbour, or go inside where the chef will cook tender şiş kebaps in front of you.
Cheaper than the average over-priced restaurants in most Turkish sea resorts, the best mezzes in town begin at 4TL for the unmissable aubergine salad. Wines are not cheap (but then they are not cheap anywhere in Turkey) and at 7TL for a glass it is better value to go for a bottle. Beer is 5TL.
In the winter they close the floor to ceiling windows and light the log fire, creating a simply perfect atmosphere to while away the cold, dark evenings over coffee and whatever else tickles your fancy. We spent many happy hours here during our stay from October to April lingering over a rakı or two.
Corner of Fevzi Cakmak Cad,
(By the marina, overlooking the harbour)
(Nr Telmessos Ancient Theatre)
+90 (252) 614 94 23
There are plenty of restaurants in the old town of Bodrum, most of which close in the dead of winter. Not so the family run Sünger Pizza café. Literally translated as "sponge diver" this busy, informal restaurant makes perfect thin-crust pizzas, but is more famous with the locals for its seafood.
Up on the roof in the summer is for tourists, where the fast and efficient waiters are quick to deliver your meal. The fish soup is to die for and the köfte (Turkish meat balls) is the best in Bodrum. Downstairs you'll rub shoulders with the local cognoscenti at any time of the year. Squashed together among the tables of the two dining rooms, or outside on the pavement on the shared benches, have a few glasses of rakı and you could end up talking about the state of the mausoleum (one of the ancient seven wonders) with local archaeologists, or swapping Mark Twain quotes with the resident sail maker. Ex pats from all over the world live in the marina opposite and use the restaurant as their dining room, so there's always a fishy tale to be told. It's open every day of the year and is rammed to the rafters with atmosphere.
Unspoilt Gümüşlük, stubbornly refusing to allow any concrete tourist developments within its tiny bay, is the prettiest fishing village on the Bodrum peninsular. And just a short walk away, hidden along the road towards Yalıkavak, is Limon Café, the region's most picturesque restaurant. From the road you walk through an unprepossessing series of shacks, past the art shop and kitchen through to the outside bar and terraced garden. Under the sky an assortment of wooden tables, chairs and sofas sit higgledy-piggledy, lit with candles or low lights, and decorated with home-made ceramics. Oversized cushions artfully tumble down the hill, inviting you to lounge and admire the view across the ruins of ancient Myndos. The food, often flavoured with lemons, is predictably fresh, scrumptious and authentic. Try the home-made lemonade or lemon cocktails before you eat. It is all made just that bit more magical by the nightly spectacular sunsets over the Aegean.
Send your feedback or queries to email@example.com