We don’t often eat out in restaurants here in Calis/Fethiye, it’s nice every once in a while to splash out and go out for dinner but it’s expensive when you’re on a tight budget. We do however, go to small Turkish cafe’s regularly – usually once a week.
You can’t beat the small cafe’s in Fethiye for their Turkish food, whether it be beans and rice, green beans, pide, köfte, chicken saute or our good old favourite – chicken döner. It’s all so cheap, in fact I think a lot of it is cheaper than actually buying the ingredients and cooking it yourself at home.
Our favourite place to go for a good chicken döner kebab is Dönercim. It’s located in Fethiye on the corner of the main town centre road behind Mercan Pastanesi and Cem Optik.
A Turkish döner kebab is nothing like the ones you’ve come across in the UK. They’re not greasy, mixed meats all slung together into a brown pile served in a pitta bread with chili sauce and greasy chips… When we were in a kebab shop in Essex, Berkay asked the owners (they were Turkish too) what the meat was in their version of a ‘doner kebab’ and was shocked at their answer – it was a mixture of everything and made up of several meats including pork, something Turkish people do not normally eat.
The döner kebabs here are different. There’s no such thing as ‘doner meat’ – it’s either seasoned chicken, beef or lamb. The name relates to the way the meat is cooked slowly on a vertical rotisserie. As the outside layers of meat get cooked, they are carved off and served. There are various ways the meat is served – e.g, over rice with salad, in a wrap (dürüm) or in a half-bread like a sandwich (yarım ekmek).
We usually get the half-bread, the perfectly cooked chicken is shaved off and put inside along with onion, tomato and lettuce. It’s always served with a side of pickled hot chili peppers too – I love them, although they took a bit of getting used to, once I managed to control the mouth burning sensation I grew to love them. (;
It’s not a very ‘Turkish’ thing to do, but we always order a side of chips, pour some salt and vinegar on them and stick them inside the half-bread too – trust me, it’s perfect!
We love this cafe so much, the staff know us. They see us walking down the road towards it, Berkay gestures to let them know we’re coming in, they know our order (including drinks) off by heart and have it ready and waiting by the time we’ve sat down at the table. That’s how you know you visit a place a little too often, isn’t it? The first few times we went they had to ask if we wanted ketchup and mayonnaise in the half bread (ewww no), what drink we wanted and always gave us weird looks when we asked for the vinegar (apparently vinegar on chips isn’t a normal thing to do here), but now they don’t even have to ask and the bottle of vinegar is always bought out to the table without thinking twice. They are so friendly and I really recommend the place. Our bill usually comes to around 12.5 lira. 3.5tl for one half-bread with ayran, 5tl for one half-bread with a cola light, and 4tl for the side portion of chips. Bargain.
This cafe doesn’t just sell döner kebabs of course, it has other Turkish meals – various kebabs, chicken saute, fish, liver, meatballs etc and it also caters for those wanting something more ‘British’ although I’ve never tried any of these meals, so I can’t comment. The prices are clearly displayed outside so there’s no ‘double price’ system for local people v tourists, something that is an issue in a lot of places.
If you’re in Fethiye give it a try – I don’t think you’ll be disappointed, and for the prices you really can’t go wrong. There’s a good chance you’ll bump into us there too! 😉