Travel Tips for Eating on a Budget in Bodrum, Turkey
3 Main Streets for places to eat:
This street is more widely known as “Bar Street” and is the most well-known area for restaurants and bars. It runs parallel to the water’s edge, and has sweeping views of Bodrum Bay and the impressive landmark of Bodrum Castle.
Although this street has a vast array of different cuisines available, the main clientele is the tourist market. I’d recommend getting off this beaten path, and going in search of a delicious local restaurants offering home-cooked food.
The good thing is, you don’t have to go very far to discover them:
Ataturk Street runs parallel to Bar Street, and you can reach it by going up any of the side streets that run off Bar Street. Ataturk Street is local business haven, and this is where a lot of the nearby locals shop for essentials. Peppered between the businesses, are a good selection of local eateries.
Cevat Sakir Caddesi
This street leads from the castle, through the centre of Bodrum up to the dolmus station and weekly market area. The fresh produce market is held adjacent to the dolmus station every Friday, and this is a great place for picking up snacks to tide your hunger over.
All along Ataturk Caddesi and Cevat Sakir Caddesi, you’ll also find local eateries; venture off these main thoroughfares and dip down a side street, and you’ll find even more options for satisfying your hunger pains.
What’s on the Menu?
Bakery: A frequent Bodrum sight are the Turkey bakeries. Here you’ll find a large selection of sweet and savory pastries. Some bakeries have seating available, so you take a break and enjoy a cup of tea or coffee with your pastry. Other narrow bakeries are nestled between businesses, where you’ll have to grab-and-go.
My favourite snack is a cheese and spinach pastry (Ispanakli Boregi), and depending on the size, it’ll cost you 1-2 Turkish Lira.
Kebab Shops: Many of these are hole-in-the wall kebab shops, with a couple of tiny tables and short stools outside on the pavement.
For under 5 Turkish Lira, you can buy a couple of Chicken (Tuvak) Wraps. This is a variation on the doner kebab, where chicken is loaded onto a vertical spit and slow cooked, and then wrapped in a small Turkish flat bread.
Lokanta: These local Turkish restaurants are basic with a limited menu, and offer both meat based and vegetarian dishes. Standard fayre on the menu is a selection of appetizers, basic salad, soups and stews. They usually have Kofe Kebabs, which are small, tasty meatballs served on their own, or wrapped in bread.
Lokantas are popular destinations where the locals eat. The staff don’t always have an extensive command of English, but don’t let that put you off. The menus are frequently just photos on the wall, so you can point at your selection. Other locations have a self-service counter, so you can choose your own selections and pay at the till before you take your seat. For 5 Turkish Lira you can enjoy a filling lunch, that will keep you going until dinner time.
Some of the larger Lokanta’s will also serve Gozleme, which is a Turkish flat bread, filled with ingredients and heated on a griddle. You can order Gozleme with a meat or vegetable filling, and they’re large enough to split between two.
Friday Farmers Market: If you’re in Bodrum on a Friday; venture past the dolmus station and wander around the market to pick up fresh produce and snacks. Most of the stall holders will offer you tasting samples, and one of my favourite sample is a fresh fig stuffed with a walnut.
Spoilt for Choice
Even if you’re only in Bodrum for a day trip, you can still take advantage of the myriad of local eating options on offer; you just have to be willing to veer away from the tourist traps and explore the alternatives.
Sometime the easy option is to just eat where you see other tourists eating, because it feels like the safer option. But you can’t get a taste of the real Bodrum, without stepping out of your comfort zone and going on a voyage of discovery.