What and where to eat in Turkey?
Natural and affordable products, delicious and varied cuisine, the friendliness of the staff in cafes and restaurants do not leave indifferent anyone who comes to rest or moves to live on the sea. And the more details and subtleties you learn, the tastier your gastronomic life in Turkey becomes.
Each institution for its own case
Over time, it is easy to notice that in Turkey many catering places have their own specialization. For example, there are cafes that cook mainly soups, cook only meat kebabs, serve desserts, or offer fish and seafood. You can find small cafes where they cook, for example, only pasties or cutlets with beans, and they do it masterfully. It is not worth taking risks and taking something in which the chefs are clearly not strong.
Only chain bistros can boast of a universal menu, but the quality of their dishes is not always perfect. In the resort areas, many restaurants adapt to tourists and try to supplement their menu with dishes of European cuisine.
In general, the Turks like to move around, so changing 2-3 places per evening is a normal practice for them. For example, they can have dinner in the first restaurant, drink raki, dance and listen to live music in the second, smoke a hookah in the third restaurant, and finally eat dessert in a specialized cafe.
Features of Turkish catering
Turks actively use cereals, legumes, fresh vegetables and spices in their dishes. Olive oil is actively used, but many people also like to add tomato-pepper paste, which can make food more heavy.
Local fast food is very popular in Turkey. You can safely take doners (Turkish shawarma), fish sandwiches (“balık ekmek”), boiled corn, stuffed mussels and much more right on the street.
Keep in mind that there are restaurants and cafes that do not sell alcohol, but due to lower taxes, such establishments offer favorable prices. Turkish canteens (lokanta) with a self-service system are also popular, where you can choose from ready-made dishes in the window.
The menu is without pictures and detailed descriptions, but the waiters readily answer all questions. There are places, for example, family small restaurants, where not only the menu, but also the prices are absent. If you are a tourist, it is better to clarify everything in advance to avoid unpleasant surprises. Bread is brought free of charge, drinking water is often also provided.
Compliments from the chef and the institution, especially if you are regular customers, are a common practice. After dinner, you can be treated to tea, coffee, fruit or oriental sweets.
In Turkey, tips are not included in the bill, usually customers leave encouragement to waiters at their discretion, about 5-10% of the bill. In most places you can pay in different currencies and by card.
If you liked the way they fed you, keep your business cards. Most cafes and restaurants have a home delivery service.
Tips & Tricks
1. Eat where there are fewer tourists.
Ask locals for recommendations. Very often, the most delicious food is prepared in inconspicuous cafes without an elegant interior and a beautiful view, lost in the alleys and not in need of loud advertising.
2. Specify portion sizes.
Rarely, the menu indicates the weight of the portion in grams. It happens that one salad or hot, combined with many appetizers, is enough for two.
3. Check your account.
Sometimes in tourist places they can make a mistake not in your favor. It is better to check once again, especially since usually the waiters quickly fix everything.
4. Reserve tables.
At the height of the season, it is better to take care of places in popular view restaurants in advance if you are going to have dinner.
5. Try new things.
The names of the dishes will not always be familiar to you, but do not refuse the advice of the waiters. So you can make very pleasant gastronomic discoveries.