Some 25km north of the city of Bodrum on the popular Bodrum Peninsula sits Gündoğan, formerly Farilya, an active fishing town known for its hillside citrus and olive groves and a peaceful, laid back atmosphere. Thriving with tourists during the summer months, it still retains an unspoiled feel you’d be hard pressed to find elsewhere on the peninsula. Whether here for the sea and sun, or a day trip to the nearby Madnasa ruins, here’s our guide to Gündoğan’s best restaurants.
Gossip Lounge is located at the edge of a newly developed area overlooking the small harbor of Gundogan. This bistro and beer garden serves an international selection of snacks and freshly made sandwiches, lunchtime salads and some home cooked meals. They also boast a fine selection of Turkish wines and exotic cocktails, all of which you can enjoy in a relaxing atmosphere accompanied by the light sounds of jazz and classical music.
If you’re tired of the usual beach snacks, and would rather treat yourself to a home cooked dish, this family run restaurant is your place. Rather busy during lunchtime, CakIltasI Beach Café offers great value for money and serves fresh Turkish dishes and Aegean cuisine in its purest form. Manti, Turkish ravioli and Aegean-style olive oil seasoned vegetables are particularly recommendable. Located at the water’s edge, stopping here won’t take much time out of desired beach time.
Regular visitors to Gundogan and the Bodrum Peninsula hold Reana in high repute. Smart, modern, minimally designed and popular with an eclectic mix of locals and yachters, this restaurant is known for its extensive choice of Turkish mezze and, most of all, fresh fish and seafood. Expect dinner at a leisurely pace during summer’s high season and make sure to book in advance for a table on its spacious seaside terrace.
As the name suggests, this is the best place to go to for more choices of the famous Turkish pizza-like specialty than you could possibly imagine. Besides pide, Pamukkale Restaurant serves all kinds of meat dishes, including mouth-watering lamb chops and a limited choice of fish dishes from its spacious venue situated beside the town’s main bus station. Their ‘yoresel’, or regional breakfast composed of eggs cooked with sliced sucuk (local sausage) and served with freshly baked bread, tahini and olives makes for a more than satisfying brunch.
Small and modest are the surroundings, as are the prices. The pizzas, on the other hand, are rich and generously portioned. Pizzacı Avni, or Avni’s Pizzeria, is owned by none other than Mr. Avni himself. Availing from 15 years of experience in an Italian restaurant, he has turned this cosy venue into a pizzeria specializing in thin crust pizza and unconventional topping combinations, at times with regional ingredients. Something like Steak & Roquefort may disturb purists, but the proof is in the eating, and we’re won over.
Tailor Mustafa’s Beach Café Restaurant is situated among a string of restaurants on Gundogan’s beachfront. It is a fairly simple place, serving salads, mezze, cold starters and a wide variety fresh fish to handpick yourself and have it cooked to your own preference. Consistently getting all the essentials right, good value for money, attentive service, unobtrusive staff, it keeps attracting a big crowd from its own clientèle of habitués.
Another of Gundogan’s beach side restaurants, Farilya Yelken stands out for managing to please those looking for the freshest fish and seafood. Food quality is excellent and authentically prepared, whether you opt for fresh fish displayed on entrance or a decent selection of meat and vegetarian dishes. Deserts are well worth it and so is the Turkish coffee, prepared at the table.