We had two more free nights on our own left in Yahsi before we were to go to a hotel, to be with our friends for four days. As much as these all inclusive establishments are convenient, I find them to be stifling as if I am losing my freedom somehow but this is the only way four families can get together in harmony so I go willingly. This has been the reminder that has been on my mind…only two more nights to revel in the delights Bodrum has to offer. I didn’t want to waste those precious nights by trying some new restaurant but wanted to go back to my favorites in order to savor them in conscious bliss and store the experiences in the recesses of my mind for the cold, hard winter days and nights of New Jersey. So, we picked the two different establishments for two different reasons.
Ever since the night of my son, Murat’s birthday dinner, in Yalikavak, I had been dreaming of O’ Sole mio and the incredible gluten-free pizza, Kutlu Bey prepared for me that night. I was waiting for the opportunity to go back and it arrived on Saturday, as soon as Murat suggested we eat pizza. I could already smell the wonderful aromas emanating from the tiny kitchen and feel my mouth start to water at the prospect of a fulfilling dining experience. We arrived just as they were winding down from a huge order to-go to a yacht and were very lucky to find the place practically to ourselves; till the other patrons arrived, Guloren Hanim, the managing partner and Kutlu Bey Chef/ partner were able to chat with us as they took our order and later while we enjoyed our dinner. This time, we just left the decision of what type of pizza to prepare to Kutlu Bey and we were not disappointed when he brought out a special pizza topped with freshly delivered imported hams and bacons from Italy and France. But this wasn’t the extraordinary surprise in store for me that night; it came in the form of especially baked gluten-free garlic bread, same as the one my husband and son were having. Not being left out makes me feel as happy as a kid… The pizza was so good that it begged for a glass of red wine. Everything that night, the green checkered table cloth, the roses in the terracotta vase, the red wine and the pizza on huge, white, round plates, even the art work displayed inside the shop were part of the perfect image worthy of a master artist. We parted with the owners with wishes of seeing each other next summer and sharing email addresses and promises of keeping in touch.
Our next night’s dinner was just as gratifying for reasons besides the exceptional food. My husband and I had gone out to eat at Palavra, a local restaurant in Yahsi which had been recommended by several of our friends; we were very happy with everything we tried. Palavra is a seafood restaurant that is situated right on the water with the tables setup on the sand and the sound of waves was the background music to our ears as we sipped our drinks and enjoyed excellent ‘mezes’; although I should actually say, while I sipped my ‘Raki’ (Turkish Ouzo) since my husband’s preferred beverage was Diet Coke, as usual. When the waiter came to get our drink orders and I asked for a double ‘raki’, he suggested that I get a small bottle; when he saw me hesitate, he mentioned that they could put away the rest for the next time I was there. Just the idea of having a bottle of ‘Raki’ with my name on it at a ‘meyhane’ (a drinking establishment) was so wicked that I had to do it. We didn’t have any fish but we’ve been told it is just as great as their ‘mezes’. We had eggplant salad, fava (broad bean paste), kopoglu – a local specialty (fried eggplant, peppers and tomatoes served in garlic yogurt), octopus salad, pilav with octopus, sea bass in mustard sauce, fried and grilled Calamari, and a shepherd’s salad (salad of tomatoes, cucumbers, peppers and onions with oil and lemon juice) – all fabulous… and wonderful accompaniments for my left over bottle of ‘Raki’. They had baklava and ‘kalburabasti’ (a Turkish desert baked with flour and butter and then dunk in syrup) that Mehmet and Murat both raved about. It’s definitely worth a trip into Yahsi for this dining extravaganza.
I can now go happily to my golden cage of open buffets and endless drinks knowing that I’ve already had the best.
Palavra Fish Restaurant http://www.palavrabalik.com/tr/?main=restaurant
Ortakent Yahsi Belediyesi
BodrumTel : (+90 252) 358 62 90
Gsm: (+90 532) 677 39 67