Although it has not been mentioned among the popular holiday resorts in recent years, many beautiful things are happening in Side. While extraordinary works are being carried out to highlight the ancient heritage of the region, the number of quality eating and drinking places is increasing day by day. We started exploring the real cuisine behind the touristic side of the city, in the footsteps of the locals of Side.
Side, which surrendered its popularity in the 80s to mass tourism as of the 90s, had lost the interest of local tourists for a long time. Unfortunately, for the majority of the audience over the age of 40, Side could not go beyond the memories of adolescence. However, Side took an appropriate attack both with the renovation works carried out in the district and the promotional moves of the visionary investors who are locals of Side. Manavgat Municipality to which it is affiliated, demolished the buildings in the bazaar in the area called Old Side. Then excavation work was carried out. The unearthed historical texture was covered with glass and the shops were rebuilt in a single order. After this brave work, a great museum city emerged.
Let’s talk about the food culture of the city… My first stop was Nesrin Barut’s house during my visit to Side to listen to the hidden Cretan cuisine of the city from a young and an older generation. The grandmother of Aunt Nesrin, who is in her 80s now, was from Chania in Crete and her grandmother was from Ebora Village. With the sensations they received, before the exchange, they got on ships and escaped from Crete, came to Antalya and from there to Side and settled. Her grandmother even gave birth to her aunt on the ship. Nesrin Teyze, on the other hand, started pensions with her husband after her marriage. “I laid the guests in the satin covers on my dowry, I would cook Cretan dishes I learned from my elders,” he tells those days. Nesrin Hanım understands the reasons for the success of Barut, which is currently owned by her sons and relatives and is the biggest local hotel brand in Antalya.
Nesrin Teyze explains her most special food, ‘çulama pastry’ and other dishes as follows: “In the past, Greeks used to cook this pastry with pork to be with fatty meat. Our Turks used to cut fatty chicken or turkey and make it with it so that their children would not eat it; to keep the same taste. Now we practice what we see from our mothers and ancestors. We boil the village chicken and pick its meat. We lay the dough by pouring a ladle of chicken water on each layer of the pastry. We add meat and rice with plenty of spices, almonds and pine nuts and cook. Also, we eat every grass you step. We make Cretan style fish soup, fill milk lamb on important days. Everyone teaches each other about these dishes and herbs … ”
The family of Seba Erol, a young generation, is immigrant from Crete. He also cooks Cretan dishes that he learned from his mother. Piterac, which they mix mixed herbs with onion and curd and baked in yeast dough; kenger (şevketibostan), which they seasoned with flour, egg, lemon juice and cooked with lamb meat; broad bean gilikli (inner grain) artichoke; avrunez and all other herbs are the most cooked dishes in his house. As we can see in the example of Seba Hanım in her early 30s, teaching all these traditional dishes to young girls in the family has been the biggest factor in the survival of the Cretan cuisine in Side until today.
Where, what shall we eat?
Its owner, Mahmut Gökkaya, is a true Side volunteer. Mahmut Bey travels the world and sends his chefs from the restaurant outside the city to have a vision when the season ends. This is definitely the most elaborate ‘fine dining’ restaurant in the city. The grida, the most abundant and characteristic fish of the region, better known as the lagoon, handle very well. Especially the raw tartolets they prepare by marinating are extremely delicious. Veal carpaccio with arugula, which they serve by making rolls in their own way, cuttlefish with citrus sauce, cooked octopus in garlic butter, seafood combo, seafood pasta varieties are the stars of the menu. The chef touched baklava interpretation is served with a ‘mousse’ with pistachio among the crispy baklava dough, not to be missed. The place turns into a club after dinner. Let’s give the good news of the Cretan food tradesman restaurant that Mahmut Bey plans to open in the near future.
It is in the top 10 in the list of the most romantic places not only in Side but also in all holiday regions. Azumare, where you can enjoy the balcony and terrace over the sea, is also the brother of Karma. Kav of Turkey’s most exclusive boutique wines available. The stars of the menu are high-quality cheese plates, tacos, kokorec in pita bread, and goat milk ice cream, from Divle pothole cheese to Kars gruyere.
It is the only fisherman in the harbor just below the Temple of Apollo in the city center. They cook on the boat and serve on the shore. If you inform in advance, the owner Rasim Sakarya also prepares Cretan appetizers such as egg avrunez and okra roasting. Maybe they don’t have many appetizers, but they cook all kinds of fish properly.
RADİKA MEZE BALIK
Transfer from Ankara kitchen master Rıza İpek is very assertive about appetizers. As a matter of fact, shrimp with avocado served with honey mustard sauce, cucumber appetizer in tomato sauce, octopus slices smoked in cherry wood shavings are just a few of the appetizers.