Once a rural peninsula scattered with fishing villages, Bodrum’s growing reputation as a centre for international yachting and luxury property developmentshas shot this formerly sleepy Turkish destination onto the world stage.
The Bodrum peninsula has become the holiday destination du jour for some of the biggest names in the world. Jagger. Gates. Abramovich. Kidman - the list goes on. The rich and famous are heading to Bodrum for sunshine and sea - with an added dash of glitz and glamour.
And with this glitz and glamour has come a new wave of restaurants appearing all over Bodrum. After all, like the rest of us, the rich and famous have to eat. Some of Turkey’s best restaurants are now to be found in Bodrum, including a couple that are rumoured to be on the cusp of Michelin Star awards. Let us give you the lowdown on the very best places to eat in Bodrum. And fear not: if you’re after something a little lower key than dining two tables along from Bill Gates, we also know the best traditional restaurants on the peninsula - you know, the kind of place that doesn’t look amazing from the outside but serves up the best koftes or seafood you’ll ever taste.
Join us for a culinary tour of Bodrum.
This seafood restaurant is on Yalikavak’s seafront. Diners are seated on a large deck extending over the sea - you really can’t get any closer to the water. You’re also perfectly placed to enjoy the town’s famed sunsets. You’ll enjoy an impressive range of appetisers and an incredible array of freshly caught seafood, cooked simply but beautifully. Meals are on the pricier side (especially if you include wine with your meal) but the food and atmosphere means Sait is definitely a great place to treat yourself.
Orfoz has become so popular it’s spawned a few imitators - make sure you end up at the ‘right’ one on Cumhuriyet Caddesi 177b. Although it’s not a high end restaurant the quality of the mezes and fish dishes it serves up is unparalleled and fans say the restaurant dishes up some of the best seafood you’ll find anywhere in Turkey. The restaurant is cosy and full of atmosphere and becomes very popular at the weekends - try and get a seat outside as it can get stuffy. A tip from a regular: don’t order off the menu, ask your waiter to bring you dishes to try. Don’t eat too much as each dish will be better than the last.
This tapas restaurant makes a refreshing change if you’re tired of seafood. La Pasion serves up a large variety of fresh and extremely flavoursome tapas, steaks, paellas, and desserts. The dishes are colourful, flavoursome and beautifully presented.The warm and friendly atmosphere and English-speaking staff mean you’ll feel welcome and at home. The drinks list is extensive and your meal is completed with a complementary Turkish coffee. A little on the pricy side but La Pasion’s tapas are absolutely worth every Lira.
Behind the Kule Rockbar on the Cumhuriyet Caddesi
This is our pick of Bodrum’s budget offerings. If you’re after something quick and easy, or maybe lunch on the go, this small and very friendly pizza joint is perfect. Serving up traditional Italian pizzas at a very reasonable price, Arka is known for its fresh and vibrant flavours and family-friendly atmosphere.
Palmarina Bodrum, Yalikavak
The recently renovated Yalikavak Marina has been reborn as Palmarina Bodrum, and as well as containing world class yachting facilities it also has a number of swanky shops and restaurants, one of which is Cipriani. The international luxury restaurant and hotel brand has pulled out all the stops with their Palmarina restaurant, with a variety of classic seafood, meat and pizza dishes in an absolutely incredible setting looking out over the super-yachts moored in Yalikavak Bay. The service is world class and you have the option of sitting outside under the stars. Cipriani’s on the pricier side but dining here in the golden hue of a Yalikavak sunset is an ideal way to end the day.
Turkbuku is famous for two things: beach platforms and Turkish celebrities. At Miam you have the chance to combine the two in a relaxed setting. The varied menu contains seafood, mezes, kebabs, steaks and pasta - so something for everyone although Miam is on the expensive side, especially with drinks. Diners are seated on a beach platform, which during the day is a beach full of sunbathers sipping cocktails. A relaxed and lovely waterfront setting for some quality Turkish food.
Maca Kizi is known for two things: its sumptuous Turkish buffet and its sea views, thought to be the best sea views from any Turkbuku Restaurant. The buffet opens at 2pm, to the sounds of a live band. The food is absolutely superb - and you’re bound to enjoy a few new tastes with dishes like risotto with squid sauce and pistachio-dipped ribs on the menu. There’s also a stone pizza oven serving up Turkish pizzas as well as the more conventional Italian kind. Maca Kizi becomes very busy over the summer months and you’ll need to make a reservation. Maca Kizi is also a very well known boutique hotel with a stunning beach platform. It is style and luxury, however, be prepared to part with no less than Euro 400 per night for the privilege.
This up-market restaurant near Bodrum Marina is quietly expected to gain Turkey’s first Michelin Star rating. Arranged in a beautiful candlelit, banana and palm tree-lined courtyard, Kocadon oozes romance and charm. Perfectly cooked and seasoned seafood and divine mezes are the highlights of the menu, which is definitely not budget but well worth a splash out to see what the fuss is about.
From cheap eats to posh plates, there’s something for every foodie in Bodrum - particularly if you’re a fan of seafood and fresh, Mediterranean-style ingredients. We’re always interested to know about new restaurants and cafes so get in touch if you have any old or new favourites.
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