Truly Turkish – your guide to Alanya and Side
Take a swerve past the tourist haunts and seek out traditional Turkish restaurants instead, where old men play chess, people smoke waterpipes and you can listen to live music. Choose Turkish staple dishes such as dolma, stews and meze. Accompany your meal with thirst quenching yogurt ayran.
Restaurant Eski Ev is a firm favorite with Alanya locals. The owner and chef is a food lover in the true meaning of the word. He is passionate about Turkish cuisine and is always willing to share both his knowledge and recipes.
Damlataş Cad, Alanya
Morning café splendor
Give the hotel breakfast a miss one morning and try a traditional Turkish breakfast in a cafe in the mountains. We recommend Yamaş Café, where Aunt Ayşes prepares the food. Enjoy a cheese and spinach filled börek with strong cay (tea). Olives, tomatoes, cheese, jams, börek, vine leaf dolma and fresh squeezed orange juice are typical breakfast dishes. Take the local number 4 bus from Alanya, up into the mountains.
Çarşi Mah, just outside Alanya
The best lunch deal in town
You will find the quickest, simplest, tastiest, cheapest and most Turkish lunch at a local kebab bar, a hole-in-the-wall operation. Order a doner kebab!
If you’d prefer to eat your kebab seated, we suggest you head for Meshur 49, in Side. The portions are very generous and you’ll be in a genuine restaurant as opposed to a takeaway.
It’s a popular haunt of local residents and workers in the area.
Kemer Mh.K.Karabekir, Side
Take a dolmush (minibus) to the local restaurant
Traveling is generally pretty easy in Turkey. People are helpful and friendly. Hop on a dolmush that will take you to a nearby village. An easy way to avoid the tourist eateries. Dolmush minibuses do have their fixed routes, but not always with regular bus stops. Simply wave to the driver if you wish to get on. You then pay the driver, tickets cost from around one to three dollars. A one-way ticket from Alanya to Side costs around $4. From Alanya to Antalya about $6 and from Alanya to Izmir around $30.
A visit to a bazaar or a local market is a must. You will find everything here – from clothes and sunglasses to fresh fruit and street food. Market days vary from town to town. Don’t forget to haggle. Try to knock at least 30 per cent off the price. Compare prices at different stalls. Keep calm – a smile goes a long way. Offering customers a cup of tea is a Turkish custom, do not feel obliged to buy anything.
Market day in Alanya is on Tuesday, Friday and Sunday. In Side on Saturdays. Also in Manavgat, a 15-minute bus ride from Side, there are markets on Mondays and Thursdays.
Shopping in Side
For: gold, jewelry, gems
Large jewelry store with certificates of authenticity, a private drive from the hotel and a glass of wine while you browse.
For: Leather jackets, leather bags, gloves, shoes
The small store is in the old quarter of Side, the larger four-floor complex is situated along the main road.
For: Spices, baklava, Turkish delight, dried fruit
You will find the large spice store in the middle of the square in the old quarter of Side by the water.
Fine carpets and tips for buying them
A beautiful patterned kilim rug is a small work of art and often a wise investment.
Mehmed Gedik, who owns the Beste Carpet store in Alanya, offers the following advice:
Wool: The knot count is not that important. Check whether they are single or double knots instead. Ask about the quality of the wool and whether the colors are natural or chemical. The pattern is also important: is it original? Is the carpet made in the area where the pattern originally came from?
Wool and cotton: Here the knot count is important. The colors are always chemical in wool-cotton mix carpets – but do check they are good quality.
Silk: The knot count is important. The higher the count – the higher the quality (and price).
Published: May 8, 2015