Monday, September 12, 2011

BODRUM Part II/Maça Kızı... Kuum Beach... Tango and more!

Dear readers,

After a whirlwind 4 days in Bodrum, I came back home last night and let me tell you - I am exhausted!!! But with me, this is always the case.. "I always need a vacation from my vacation!"

My flight was at 4:35pm.. and by the time I walked through my door it was 7:30pm, but I did unpack and did a wash before crashing at about 11:00pm.

I woke up at about 7:30am and had some errands to run this morning and then I came home and did a major cleaning! My "Luka" is still with his aunt, so I took the opportunity to vacuum and mop... Luka for some reason goes NUTS when I vacuum!

Now... that this is done and I'm waiting for my honey to come home, I decided to prepare my second post from my trip to Bodrum... there will be a Part 3 - "The Wedding", but at a later date. Now that I am back, I have a couple of projects that I MUST start working on... I do have to earn a living!

Now... let's return to Bodrum!!!

On Friday morning... after a night out at Yasu Meyhane (Tavern) I woke up in pain!  I did mention that we drank a lot of rakı right? Well, it was still in my system in the morning!

I dragged myself to the terrace of my hotel for breakfast (mainly coffee!) before breakfast service ended at 10:00am.

View from Marina Vista Hotel Terrace

Marina Vista Hotel Terrace
The view from the terrace was gorgeous... but once again, it was a super hot day, so I couldn't sit very long.

Then... I purchased a couple of  newspapers and hung out by the pool for an hour or so to get some sun. Afterwards, since I was still tired, I took a nap and then started my day - at around 1:00pm!

I had a "free" day today and wasn't getting together with anyone, so I decided to to go my old stomping ground - Göltürkbükü! This village in the Bodrum Peninsula is about 20 km from the city center and it is often called the "St Tropez" of Turkey because of the chi chi hotels, clubs, restaurants and homes of the "rich and famous" of Turkey. This is also the place where the glitterrati of Turkey and the International scene reside/visit during the summer season (June-August).

The main question was how to get there - the obvious choice being a taxi, but it is very expensive! So, I left the hotel and starting walking down Neyzen Tevfik Street towards the center of town as I decided what I would do and have included some more photographs of this popular beautiful tree lined street with cafes, restaurants and clubs on one side and the other lined with yacht charters which can be rented for daily tours of the nearby bays and coves.

If in the area and you are in the mood for a "good" cup of coffee (cold or hot), you can stop by Starbucks or Caffe Piu ( I had every intention of taking a break at the latter, but, alas it was full so I just continued walking. Besides coffee, Caffe Piu has a menu with some Italian treats (pizza, pasta, etc.) But, along the way, I asked a taxi stand the "flat fee" cost of going to Göltürkbükü and upon hearing that it was 70 TL - I decided to take a minibus instead. By no means am I cheap, but this is a ridiculous amount of money for a 20 km trip. Since Bodrum is a summer resort town, taxis tend to be expensive! So, this meant that I had to go to the bus terminal off of Cevat Şakir Street which was about 10 blocks from where I was when I made this decision! Thank god, I like to walk!

Caffe Piu
As I was getting closer to the Belediye Meydanı (Municipality Square), where Neyzen Tevfik Street begins, I noticed the landscape had changed (and for the better) since I last visited Bodrum last summer. The restaurants close to the square had "moved" as of November, 2010! The outdoor seating areas of these side by side restaurants used to be lined along the street and pedestrians walked through the middle of the restaurants! Now, the outdoor dining areas are adjacent to the restaurant's indoor seating areas - making it better for both customers of the eateries as well as pedestrians.

Körfez Restaurant

new pedestrian walkway
Körfez, which has been around since 1927 (at this location for the last 10+ years) is one of my favorite modestly priced seafood restraurants and is located at No. 2, Neyzen Tevfik Street (Tel: (0252) 313 82 48) and I highly recommend you stop by for lunch or dinner. Besides seafood, the menu includes starters and meat and chicken dishes as well.

Right when you get to the Belediye Meydanı and walk up towards the left, the name of this street is Cevat Şakir Street and leads you directly to the bus terminal. But, first I made a pit stop by walking straight and into the "Çarşı" (Market) area. This small area is a maze of little streets lined with all sorts of shops, eateries, banks, etc. where not only can you buy a very fancy watch for thousands of dollars, but also a t-shirt for $5! You can also grab a bite to eat at the Turkish style restaurants... to include Köfteci Bilal'in Yeri at Yeni Çarşı 2. Sokak. Until very recently, this place used to be called Özsakallı Köfte and very well known in the area for its köfte (Turkish style meatballs) and Turkish dishes. However, the partners had a falling out and split so, the name was changed, but it is still managed by one of the partners.


Köfteci Bilal'ın Yeri (previously called Özsakallı Köfte)
Now, back on Cevat Şakir Street, I walked to the bus terminal (otogar) without stopping anywhere else.

Cevat Şakir Street

Bus Terminal (Otogar)
The minibuses used to travel between the villages are all similar to the above picture. I asked to find out where the minibus to Göltürkbükü was and waited a few moments for it to show up. Since I was one of the first passengers, I sat in the front seat by the driver. The ride is 4,5 TL/one way (a real bargain) and I paid 9 TL because I didn't want anyone to sit next to me. We waited for about 10 minutes for it to fill up and then we were on our way. The first village we passed on our way was Torba. There are several very nice hotels right on the waterfront in Torba, otherwise, it is a very residential area with many summer homes.

Torba Bay
About 25 minutes after leaving Bodrum, we arrived in Göltürkbükü and I got off at the final stop which is located right by the bridge that connects the "St. Tropez" side of the Göltürkbükü waterfront to the more modest "other" side!

Göltürkbükü Bay

The "Bridge"

I just took a picture by the bridge and decided to walk in this area later - it was nearly 3:00pm and I was very hungry and I wanted to go to Maça Kızı Hotel first.

Maça Kızı
Maça Kızı ( is located on a hilltop at the furthest point on the Göltürkbükü boardwalk on a lovely private bay. It can be accessed from the boardwalk but since it was far from where I was, I decided to take a taxi.

I go to Maça Kızı on each one of my trips to Bodrum and a few years ago, I also stayed at the hotel and let me tell you right off the top - it is very expensive, but if you can afford it, worth a visit.

The hotel's beach club and bar are on the waterfront and the hotel's fine dining restaurant one level up.

Maça Kızı Restaurant

Maça Kızı Restaurant
Normally, Maça Kızı is packed to the hilt with "beautiful" people from around the world.. but usually the crowds die down after the first week of September, so I was very lucky and easily got a seat at the bar.

After first soaking in the view, I then asked to see a menu. The chef at Maça Kızı is Aret Sahakyan and he works wonders in the kitchen. The bar menu is limited compared to the dinner menu and includes mainly salads, starters and sandwiches. I was a bit indecisive, but in the end.. I ordered a lahmacun (Turkish version of a pizza, but prepared with minced meat and in this case, topped with parsley and sumac, a spicy herb) and a glass of white wine.

Like I said, Maça Kızı is expensive... the price of the lahmacun was 30 TL (normally costs about 4-5 TL at a meat & kebab restaurant), but the wine was reasonable at 16 TL. However, cocktails are on the expensive side and start at 35 TL. If you do not prefer spicy food, make sure to tell the waiter if you order this dish, because it is very spicy - thank god, I love spicy food! Also, the bill includes a 12% service charge, so you need not to tip further unless you want to of course!

I thoroughly enjoyed my meal and left Maça Kızı around 5:00pm and decided to walk along the Göltürkbükü boardwalk for a while before heading to my next stop. At the exit to Maça Kızı from the restaurant level, there is a walkway that you can pass through down some flight of stairs to reach the boardwalk and that is what I did.

When I reached the sea level, I was amazed at how empty Göltürkbükü was! In fact, it had almost already shut down! Most of the seaside venues had already closed and the ones that were open - like Maki Hotel, Ship Ahoy and Divan Palmira Hotel had hardly any customers! But, this is not very unusual for Göltürkbükü - the season is shorter here than other places in Bodrum.

Göltürkbükü boardwalk - general view

Maki Hotel Bar & Lounge

Divan Palmira Hotel restaurant & beach club

Ship Ahoy
I will give you brief info on the places I mentioned above. The Maki Hotel ( has changed ownership a few times in the last few years, but it is a nice hotel (I stayed there about 5 years ago) with a good restaurant, but even though I had stayed in a suite with a seaview, the room was quite small. Ship Ahoy is a longstanding bar with a very big following and gets very very crowded in-season: the DJ is very good and the drinks expensive. Next door is the 5-star deluxe Divan Bodrum Palmira ( which tends to attract an older crowd. I stayed at this hotel a couple of times and the rooms are very spacious, elegantly decorated with huge bathrooms. The rooms have a seaview (limited number) or garden view.

Even though it was about 5:30pm, it was quite hot, so I decided not to walk on the other side of the bridge and ended my tour at the Divan Bodrum Palmira and took a taxi to Kuum Hotel, backtracking towards the Göltürkbükü village center.

Located on a hilltop with a magnificent view of the Göltürkbükü Bay, what strikes you first is the very interesting architecture of the Kuum Hotel ( Kuum opened several years ago and I had the opportunity to see most of their guest rooms and they are exquisite! All rooms have a seaview, they are very spacious with a contemporary design and rain showers, so you can imagine, it is expensive!

This year, the managment of the hotel's beach club and restaurant was given to Metin Fadıllıoğlu, a name well-known on the Istanbul restaurant and nightlife scene: he is the owner of Ulus 29, Club 29 and Nişantaşı Brasserie ( I wanted to see what he had done differently with the venues and I liked what I saw. First, the beach club section now "appears" to be bigger because the bar was moved from the center of the space making more room for lounges and seating areas (I didn't take any pictures of this area because I did not want to impose on the "elite" customers who were sunbathing). But, what really impressed me was the restaurant, which is to the right of the beach club down a short walkway and where I hung out and had a watermelon martini (actually 2!!)

Kuum Restaurant

Kuum Lounge (to the left of restaurant)

Kuum Lounge Bar
It was sooooo lovely and peaceful here that it was the perfect end to my visit to Göltürkbükü. The prices of cocktails start at 25 TL (mine was 30 TL) and the bill includes a 10% tip, so you need not to tip further, unless you want too!

I left Kuum and crossed the street and waited for a minibus to pass by instead of going back to the original point of departure, which is a 11,5 TL cab ride away. I only waited about 10 minutes and once again was lucky enough to sit in the front seat by the driver and paid double so that no one else sat next to me when we picked up passengers along the way.

By 7:30pm I was back in Bodrum and since it was a lovely night, I decided to walk back to my hotel.. actually to Tango, which is right next door and where I planned on having dinner.

Compared to Göltürkbükü, Bodrum was very lively and crowded. This is not unusual as this is the main area in the peninsula.

I want to mention another place that I recommend you try if you plan on visiting Bodrum. As you walk down Cevat Şakir Street towards the Belediye Meydanı, a couple of blocks beforehand, on the right hand side of the street right by the fruit and vegetable stores is a little alley... called Meyhaneler Çarşısı... a.k.a. Tavern Row. If you don't know about it, it is very easy to miss!

Meyhaneler Çarşısı

Meyhaneler Çarşısı

Fishmonger at Meyhaneler Çarşısı
I only found out about this area a couple of years ago even though I have been visiting Bodrum for years! There are about 7 taverns/restaurants, a couple of butchers and fishmongers on this small L-shaped alley. When you dine at one of the restaurants, you purchase your own fish or meat and then the restaurant only charges you for cooking your meal (which is about 5 TL now). Each tavern has about 10-15 hot and cold appetizers which are moderately priced which you can order to accompany your meal. If you want to get some "local" color, I highly recommend you visit one of these taverns. And.. as the night progresses, street gypsies will entertain you with typical Turkish music. Don't forget to order rakı to enjoy your typical Turkish experience... but of course, wine and beer are also served!

One final place I want to mention in the area and on Neyzen Tevfik Street.. at about the half way point when walking towards the Milta Bodrum Marina is Küba Restaurant & Bar (

Küba has been around for almost 15 years now and is still the hottest restaurant and bar in town frequented by the glitterati from around the world. It is not very big, with a small dining area - the food is very very good and the bar always lively and jumping with great music and cheer. It gets very crowded on the weekends, so it is best to make a reservation - even for the bar! (Tel: (0252) 313 44 50).

I finally arrived at Tango at around 8:30pm and I was lucky to find a place to sit as I hadn't made a reservation (; Tel: (0252) 316 08 98).

Tango, owned by an Istanbulite and friend, opened a couple of years ago and became an instant hit! So much so that now they have a branch at the Yalıkavak and Turgutreis Marinas along with a smaller eatery at the Oasis Shopping Mall in Bodrum.

As its name suggests, Tango specializes in meats from Argentina and prepared Argentinian style. The menu includes a good selection of appetizers, mains (dry aged meats) and desserts and even though I didn' have it this time, I recommend the "Parisienne". I also love the decor of Tango - you really feel like you are in a restaurant in Argentina!

After ordering my meal (thinly sliced tenderloin of beef on a toasted bun with a side of grilled vegetables and french fries), a plate of olive oil with olives, herbs and spices and warm homemade grain bread is served to tide you over.

I am probably one of but a few Turkish people (including men) who does not mind dining alone - especially at a trendy and chic restaurant! I do travel quite a bit - sometimes with friends or family, or sometimes alone - so you get used to it AND... I always wind up making new friends!

In fact, that is what happened at Tango! A little while after I sat down, 2 guys (not Turkish) came and sat at a table for 4 next to me. Hearing their conversation, I realized they were from Scandanavia, but not sure which country. A little while later, another friend joined them and to get to his seat, he made a funny comment, which I responded to and we all laughed. This was a segway into a conversation we would wind up having as the evening progressed! I honestly don't remember what topic started the conversation, but I had the opportunity to meet Calle (the 3rd arrival), Per and Bengt (the first two to arrive) and Michael.. who was the last to arrive. I found out that they were from Sweden and that Calle, who has his own business, currently lives in Barcelona. We also realized that we were staying at the same hotel and we also spoke about Istanbul, which they have visited before coming to Bodrum. Calle was leaving Bodrum early the next morning, so I wouldn't be seeing him again.. but when we said goodnight, I said "hope to see you at breakfast" to Per and Bengt. We exchanged cards and said let's keep in touch as they planned on coming to Turkey again and probably doing some business as well... so guys.. if you are reading this post - HI!!! I hope you are all well! I didn't get a chance to speak to Michael because he came late and was not staying at our hotel.. 

All in all... it was a lovely day capped off with a great meal and meeting new people was a definite bonus! I stopped by Kahve Dünyası (across the street from my hotel) for an iced coffee which I took back to my room and gulped down before going to sleep - I am not one of those people who can't sleep after drinking caffeine - and fell asleep right away! The next day of my trip is "The Wedding" of my good friend Zeyno... so I have to be fresh!


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