Tuesday, September 21, 2010

At the end of Ramazan earlier this month, we celebrated our first “bayram” on the Çeşme Peninsula. The area, lapped by the turquoise blue waters of the Aegean Sea, lies about 1 hour west of Izmir, Turkey.

We heard the area was beautiful and was known for its long, sandy beaches and local seafood. We stayed in Dalyan, a small, quaint fishing village in Çeşme.

View of Illica Beach near Dalyan

While reading one of the hotel’s magazines, I’d seen pictures of octopus hanging on what looked like a clothes-line. I couldn’t wait to try it! I’ve only had “ahtapot” a handful of times in the states, so I was extremely excited to taste it directly from the source. 

At the Çeşme Marina, we dined on octopus pieces sautéed in butter, chopped garlic and spicy red pepper flakes. The octopus, which has a similar texture like scallops, was tender and delicious.

During our last night along the coast, we experienced an outstanding dining experience at Cevat'ın Yeri Dalyan Fish Restaurant, located near a deep water inlet surrounded by sailboats and fishing boats. We hadn’t even looked at a menu when our server asked if we wanted to select a fresh fish from the case to eat tonight. Of course!


My husband followed inside the restaurant where he had a chance to inspect the day’s catch. This allows you to select the exact size and type of fish you want. You pay for the fish according to its weight in kilograms, and the kitchen prepares it for you. He selected a local, small fish, whose name is unknown because our server spoke rapidly in Turkish each time I asked.


When my husband finally returned to the table, he told me he was urged to select the mezzes – small appetizers - after choosing the fish. Now, I was a bit disappointed. I still prefer to see a menu, even if I can’t understand all the words. I probably know more culinary words in Turkish than anything else yet.

From a multi-level display case full of meat and vegetarian options, he selected two small plates of red and green peppers stuffed with a fresh cheese and herb mixture. I also asked if the restaurant had an octopus menu item. The server brought us an octopus salad, which was served cold with olive oil and lemon juice. The dish was good, but I enjoyed the spicier version better.

Left to right: Ahtapot, Coban Salatasi, green and red stuffed peppers

The restaurant had a lively atmosphere especially since most of the patrons were crowded around two televisions watching the FIBA semi-finals between Turkey and Serbia.

When the grilled fish arrived, our gregarious server deboned it tableside and served us two portions. The fish often is drizzled with olive oil and lemon juice. The entree was a light, healthy way to end a sun-filled day.

Hopefully, I’ll soon be back in the kitchen and can prepare a fresh fish or even “ahtapot” for us.

Local fish simply grilled.

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Sippy Cup Central said...

Reading this made me want to eat....now. Karen
Sippy Cup Central Mom

Unknown said...

That looks so good. I love octopus. And the little stuffed peppers look delicious. Ahhhhh the good life.

Ang said...

I want to see the octopus on the clothesline. I googled it right after I read this. Everything looks so beautiful and fresh. YUM!

Anonymous said...

The name this fish is " Çipura " in Turkish. And i think that the octopus tastes much more better when you cook it on barbecue. And you can ask anything about Turkish food to me.