Gamirasu Cave Hotel: Upscale Hotel Dining
Guests at the Gamirasu Cave Hotel have few dinner options. The one restaurant in the Ayvali village is owned by a relative of the hotel owner and offers a full dinner with limited menu. Free shuttle service to Urgup is available from the hotel for those who wish to dine locally, an offer we accepted gratefully. However, for most guests, the hotel is the only game in town. Each night a full dinner is offered in the cave dining room, complete with fresco, with multiple courses for a fixed 16Eu price with soup, salad, entree, and dessert and coffee or tea. All the food is locally produced and the menu changes nightly. The offerings are traditional Turkish - on our visit, the entree was the ubiquitous chicken kebabs. Most every guest eats here.
The food as we recall was very good but strangely unmemorable - not unlike most hotel restaurants we visit, we find it difficult to remember exactly what we ate. Hotel food will always be hotel food - competent, unexciting, made to satisfy all with offense to none. Vegetarian alternatives are available. After the typical huge lunch, this dinner was overkill. After the first night and the long day of travel, we resolved to head to Urgup for dinner for the remainder of our stay.
The included breakfast buffet is a different story entirely - a huge table groaning under a heavy load of fruits, vegetables, jellies and jams, local delicious breads and rolls, eggs prepared differently each morning with a large selection of breakfast meats. Good coffee, great tea. Considerable publicity is gained from the owner's cow, stated to be the source of the cream and milk. Must be a very productive cow indeed.
There are four resident cats at Gamirasu. Three stay outside the buildings and are friendly enough to a point. However, one is very likely to become intimate with the fourth, a small red and white cat ( image 3 ) with skill at gaining entrance to the building, a penchant for human food, and the ability to appear miraculously on the lap with one paw pointed toward the plate. She picked me out of the crowd in an instant. Even P was charmed by this friendly little feline.
Kervan Restaurant: Good Food in a Linoleum Setting
In a search for a good modest meal, we stumbled into the Kervan Restaurant and shared a very good salad and a surprisingly thincrust pide with a tasty cheese most different from the typical bland mozzarella covering most American pies. A total language barrier prevented us from learning which cheese this was, but we were most pleased.
Decor is limited to faux wood panelling, linoleum, and a few pictures. Service is very friendly and the bathrooms are clean and supplied.
Only after returning, we learned from the internet the Kervan is well known locally as the place for fresh fish dishes with daily deliveries from the Mediterranean as well as clay pot specialties and stuffed pancakes. Sadly, the menu ( and the website ) are in Turkish only and the staff similarly was not versed in English. Prices were modest, making this restaurant a likely choice for dining.
For dessert, there are at least two nearby patisseries, one on the same street closer to the main intersection and the other on the back of the same block facing the otogar. This last featured a modern decor, very good tea, and a wide selection of predominantly chocolate pastries of decent quality.
Favorite Dish: Our pizza with the zesty cheese was very good. And the specialties of the house are described above, easily accessed by those who can read the menu.
Somine Restaurant: Better Quality Dining in Urgup
Urgup has several better quality restaurants with Somine always included in the short list. The name is derived from the French word for fireplace and indeed there is a strking carved fireplace in the center of the dining area. This is tablecloth dining with competent uniformed servers, indoors in the winter and on a large patio actually the roof of a row of stores in the summer.
The menu is extensive although the translations to English may be misleading. Lemon chicken is not the usual Western dish, but rather chicken fried in a cream sauce with lemon flavoring. Most dishes are traditional Turkish, with salads and manti for appetizers, a selection of pizzas mostly with meat and cheese but with a vegetarian option, and a long list of entrees. The specialty is baked dishes in clay pots ( kiremits ) with vegetarian, lamb, and even local trout options. Along with the usual kebabs, there are even variants of chicken kiev and chicken schnitzel.
We shared a small pizza, an excellent mixed salad, and a baked pot dish with chicken in a soy based mushroom sauce with vegetables. An excellent meal at reasonable cost - no entrees more than 20 ytl (14$US at the time of our visit but the exchange rate has since changed considerably making costs even lower ). Appetizers and pizzas are all under $5US.
Solime is one restaurant where you can eat at arguably the best in town and not need a second mortgage to do it. Recommended.
Soganli Cappadocia Restaurant: Unanticipated Excellence Award for Cappadocia
This unpretentious touristic restaurant set in an apple orchard on the banks of the stream in Soganli village was our most pleasant culinary surprise. Its very few internet reference are mostly unfavorable, but we had an excellent meal here.
In appropriate weather conditions, dining is outdoors in the orchard. The delightful mountainous setting can be appreciated on the first image. On a relatively chilly day we ate indoors in a barrel vaulted dining room. The restaurant was expecting a bus load of Israeli tourists later in the day, but we were alone here and welcomed and treated well. Was the food so good simply because we had been on the road since early morning and hiking through the Soganli Valley? Perhaps, but even in retrospect this was very good food served in reasonable amount and not the typical huge plates of food we had come to expect.
Lunch started with a choice of soups - the lentil soup was spicy and almost a meal in itself. After the usual great salad with those superb tomatoes, the entree was a small casserole of spicy grilled vegetables with a choice of meats - it doesn't happen often but the beef was better than the chicken. And then dessert - local yogurt drizzled with local honey. Yogurt and honey never tasted so good. And as an added bonus, the apple tea was intense in flavor.
Looking at the scattered reference to this restaurant on the computer, I find it hard to believe we are talking about the same place, but we are. Our meal here was a most unexpected surprise. Do note that the bathroom facility is both primitive and long overdue for a thorough cleansing.
Hanodasi Restaurant: Manti in a Cave Restaurant
This excellent restaurant is housed in two large cones originally used as the refectory for a monastery. Most everything is made in-house, from the superb breads to the manti, the specialty of the house. The all-Turkish menu is fairly extensive ( the website is also only in Turkish). The decor is pure cave, the service friendly, and the food very good. Hanodasi is a favorite stop for private tour guides and also serves as a cooking school for tour groups taking culinary tours of Turkey with hands on lessons.
We began with lentil soup which was rich and spicy, followed by the manti specialty, P with a yogurt sauce and mine with a meat sauce. This was our first introduction to manti, the equivalent of ravioli but smaller and shaped by hand. All accompanied by the usual great salad. As was becoming usual, we passed on dessert. Located outside of the village, this is a nice choice for lunch and had local trade as well as tourists, which always speaks well for reputation.
Favorite Dish: The manti were as good as we would eat in Turkey, recommended.
After dining, step around the back of the cones for the cave houses - seen in a ROADSIDE WONDER tip on the Goreme-Avanos Road. Even the manager admitted that he had never really gone around the back with an eye to landscape and admitted ( or feigned ) surprise.
Sofra Restaurant: Inexpensive & very good local food in Ürgüp
After a day exploring Cappadocia, we asked our guide for a good place to eat in Ürgüp and he took us to his friend's restaurant. Feeling skeptical at first, I was in for a pleasant surprise. It's a family style restaurant that serves good & inexpensive Turkish food. I've been told that locals come here to eat so that's a good sign. The restaurant is small & doesn't have any fancy decorations but what counts is the quality of food & friendly service. The owner, Volkan, is a young man who speaks good English so you won't have any problems ordering from the menu.
There are a number of typical Turkish items on the menu ranging from lamb, beef, chicken to bread dishes. They also serve nice local Cappadocian wine and raki. At the end of dinner, the friendly owner served the customary apple tea & chatted with us.
The meal was so good that I ate here twice in the 2 nights I was in Cappadocia. I'd have to say this was the best meal I had in my week in Turkey.
Favorite Dish: The lamb cutlets with tomato salsa are to die for, and I don't even fancy eating mutton. The meat was succulent & very tasty.
There's a range of crispy bread, which I'm sorry I don't know the name, stuffed with cheese. YumRelated to:
- Budget Travel
- Family Travel
Testi Kebabi: kebab
Bread is coming hot and in giant quantities! Ask for sis kebab and they bring it to you in Cappadocian shape vases , the procedure taking off the tops of the vases to empty the meat in your dish worths a pic
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