In Istanbul there is a wealth of places to enjoy Turkish culinary splendour (as you’d imagine!) and in all shapes and sizes, with the most unseemly looking establishment offering the best in dürüm (Turkish kebab) in the city and the most Turkish looking places not always being that tasty. I’ll look forward to doing a post on all of our favourite places to eat soon but this one is all about what restaurants and food we discovered and devoured on our jaunt to Cappadocia.
Cappadocia Pide House & Restaurant
Wow, this was our saviour – if you’ve read the previous blog you’ll know that we hired a car and it was this day that we stumbled into the doors of this restaurant (even though it’s only 5 minute walk from our hotel and we’d walk directly past it everyday). But you see we get a lot of Pide in Istanbul – with spinach and cheese up there as one of our favourites – so although we’d seen it and thought how inviting it looked we were determined to find something different. However, on this particular day we’d driven all over the place looking for somewhere to eat and this was the restaurant to answer our prayers!
February is mightily low season and every restaurant that we passed outside of Goreme was closed, so we found ourselves back in Goreme. We knew that we could get something to eat here. By now being very late for lunch (like 4pm) and the only way to describe the both of us as forgotten about and non charged Duracell bunnies.Carbs and fizz were the only clear answer and we couldn’t wait to dive in!
I have struggled to eat big portions or even to keep up with regular food intake, with food aversions veering their ugly head in the early stages of my pregnancy, but right now, I was more than hungry so we were quick to find ourselves a menu and order! With us being so hungry and not really looking around to gauge portion size we went for one Pide each, but when they arrived they were huge! We had expected to be staring down at something that could resemble the shape of a rowing boat or a canoe but we were greeted with a double decker luxury yachts worth of Pide. We didn’t really speak much as we were just so hungry and dove straight in but about half way I had to give up – we could have taken away the left overs but with dinner later I knew we wouldn’t get round to eating it!
All Pides looked to be freshly prepared and all cooked in front of you in a traditional wood-fired oven. The most traditional flavour is local cheese and spinach I believe but there are so many different varieties available including lots of options for vegetarians, as well as plentiful meaty options include chicken and pastrami. Although the restaurant specialists in Pides there are lots of other traditional options such as soups, salads and Ottoman pots, so you would be able to find something for everyone and treat yourselves after a big day of exploring this isn’t somewhere that’s going to break the bank which is great.
The restaurant is on the main road through Goreme and isn’t difficult to spot – hope you enjoy your traditional meal if you get the opportunity!
Ah where to start! Our hotel had recommended this restaurant as we were keen to try a ‘Pottery Kebab’, something of a local delicacy to the area,and we are a big fan of the traditional smashing of clay pots when a beautiful meaty casserole type dish appears.
We’d tried to book for Dibek straight after hearing about them but hadn’t been able to reach them, so we just turned up hoping for the best. As it was quite early we were lucky and were seated straight away and on a lovely corner area of the floor where we got to sit on lovely traditional rugs and soft cushions, opposite a beautiful open fire!
It was lovely and so traditional here, we were next to a couple who were not getting along at all though with both of them sitting apart and staring into space. They were brought complimentary cay and they looked like they wanted the ground to swallow them up. They speedily drank their cay and darted off with the girl not even gesturing to hold the door open for the boy, in fact quite the opposite! Martin was sitting opposite them so was quite relieved when they ventured off!! Such a shame when in such an awesome restaurant!
Shortly after getting settled into our corner the menu came which was small and clearly carefully put together with every dish speaking to us so much so that Martin didn’t go for the Pottery Kebab and we instead opted to have a mixture (our own version of meze!) and went for the following:
Mercimek Çorbası (Lentil Soup) which if you’re in Turkey you have to try and it’s so much more exciting then you could think or than it sounds – The perfect winter warmer.
Gozleme – which is one of our favourite dishes in Turkey, It’s a traditional savoury flatbread made with yulfka dough and filled with various toppings that’s then sealed and cooked over a griddle. We went for their recommendation which was filled with a local cheese – it had a bit of a goats cheese taste and just thinking about it make me want some now – writing this blog is certainly making me hungry!
Kurufasukye (White Beans) We opted to have this as a vegetarian dish so it had white beans and tomatoes which were cooked in pottery in a traditional oven and was a great option to bring all of our choices together.
To start with we were also given lots of lovely fresh bread, a small salad, artichokes and red cabbage so it’s fair to say that after all of this lovely food we were well and truly full to the brim and after graciously accepted a cleansing cup of cay we rolled ourselves back up to our hotel – a steep 10 minute walk up a hill – ouch!!
For our first wedding anniversary I was keen to book us into a romantic and treat of a restaurant, not that we’d done badly so far! I’d stumbled across Seten online and it looked like it had the perfect ambience and described itself as having ‘a mix of culinary treats and visual delights’ so it was the perfect choice. I emailed them and booked us in, telling them that it was our first wedding anniversary and that we’d love a quieter table. They confirmed our table quickly which was great as you really don’t always get this, with phoning, or popping by much more favourable here.
It was a freezing night when we went looking for Seten, armed with good old Google maps open we still managed to get lost, but in peak season you shouldn’t have a problem as daylight will be on your side until later in the evening. When we arrived we were shown to a lovely table tucked away in a more private room and we were the only diners in there to begin with but soon followed a couple who were celebrating a birthday!
For food we both opted for the chef’s soup of the day which was Yoğurt Corbası (yogurt soup). This was delicious and I was relieved as I’m still coming round to the idea of having yogurt as a more savoury offering. We then both moved on to casserole type dishes with Martin now opting for the Pottery Kebab and mine was a fairly similar dish, Lamb in a Clay-Pot. Martin’s kebab was filled with lamb, pearl onions, garlic, pepper, tomatoes with local spices cooked in Cappadocian pottery and broken into in front of you – quite the Turkish experience and mine was made with lamb, peppers, tomatoes, garlic and pearl onions and served in a clay-pot so quite similar mine was!
We also opted for homemade ice-cream and when having our dessert the next table who were celebrating a birthday were sung to and offered a sparkling treat but sadly no one had said congratulations on our anniversary. It seemed like an anniversary wasn’t something big to them so we were a little disappointed but we still thoroughly enjoyed the restaurant and would recommend it. It’s definitely the ‘treat meal’ of a holiday with prices being slightly steeper then others and Martin would fully recommend the Pottery Kebab here!
There are other restaurants we tried but these are the ones that really stood out to us as something very special and for different reasons.Hope this gives you a good starting point for eating out when you’re here!
Next blog will be a bit about first Wedding Anniversaries including a little gift guide for those celebrating their first year together or their first year of being married so watch out for this one!
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