Eating out is one of the pleasures as well as one of the burdens for summer season vacationers.
For the cottagers who are on the beach all day, preparing dinner is a drudgery that can easily spoil the vacation mood. Going out, on the other hand, is a real challenge if you are on a limited budget.
For this reason, the names and addresses of affordable restaurants that offer a decent meal and friendly service at reasonable prices are among the top secrets of summer cottagers. As the prices tend to go up with the popularity of the place, these secret affordable restaurants are only shared with close friends.
Especially in popular destinations such as Bodrum and Çeşme, finding a reasonably placed seafood restaurant has become a real challenge. Today, one of these secrets in Bodrum will be revealed.
Köşem restaurant is one of the popular destinations at Ortakent Beach, about half an hour west of Bodrum. Hamide hanim, the matriarch restaurateur, tells her secret to the success of Köşem, which has been offering the same quality food at reasonable rates year after year in the same location while many operations could not last more than a few seasons in the highly competitive Bodrum market: "If you do your best, your business prospers." Repeat customers seem to be a testimony to the truth of her statement.
Köşem’s other secret of success is its location. Tucked into one of the calmer beaches of the peninsula on the Yahsi coast, west of Bitez, Köşem offers a full view of the Aegean Sea, facing the Island of Kos at a distance. This relative isolation, brings only the determined and knowledgeable bon vivants, or as the Turkish call them, "ehl-i keyif." For those who can manage to find the restaurant after a few futile detours, watching the sunset while sipping on an early evening drink is worth the effort.
Köşem has a rich selection of traditional Aegean mezes, such as fava bean paste, various eggplant salads, and ezme (a red pepper paste). The selection can be made from nearly 20 different varieties. Meze plates are decent sized and reasonably priced. Octopus salad tends to be a usual clue as to the capabilities of the kitchen. While rubbery morsels if not handled properly, the octopus salad is tender and delicious at Köşem. Traditional calamari comes with a tartar sauce. Salad plates are loaded with tomatoes, cucumbers, lettuce and arugula picked daily from the family’s garden.
A daily fish selection offers various fresh choices. Among the cheaper choices, customers may pick their own çipura (bream) or lufer (bluefish), products of the local fish farms, or varieties of wild catches sold by weight. A recommendation is to pick a large lahos (grouper) weighing 13 kilograms and order a fish stew. What comes is light and delicious and worth the extra wait.
Köşem offers homemade baklava, and semolina and flour halvas to end a delicious meal.
The bill is the final nice surprise at Köşem; with alcoholic drinks expect to pay 35 to 45 Turkish Liras per person.
Yalı Mervkii No 4, Ortakent Yahşi Belediyesi
Bodrum, Muğla, Tel: 0252 348 36 66