Appropriately located on Mersin Marina, Turkish restaurant Iskele Marin serves up its signature seafood dishes alongside beautiful sea views. Start with tempting first courses like lakerda, a popular mezze dish of pickled bonito or salt marinated mackerel. Follow this with entrees of pan-fried jumbo prawns, seafood pie or swordfish skewers. If meat is more your thing, fear not – Iskele Marin cooks up plenty of traditional Turkish meat dishes too. There is everything from lamb or eggplant and meatball kebabs to et tava, a flavorsome casserole made with hearty chunks of beef fillet steak.
Iskele Marin, Mersin Marina, Eğriçam Yenişehir, Mersin, Turkey, +90 324 444 2410
A cafe-bistro nestled next to a plot of Mersin’s famous citrus trees, the cozy Café Betül is open for breakfast, lunch and dinner. It serves an eclectic range of dishes. Breakfast fare includes the likes of omelets and pancakes. At lunchtime food like soups, sandwiches and local cheese platters make the perfect midday meal. Guests eating at dinner can expect main courses like pepper steak and grilled sea bass with spicy tomato-caper sauce. There are also plenty of Italian-inspired pasta dishes. Decadent desserts include New York-style cheesecake and sütlaç, a Turkish take on rice pudding.
Opened in 2003, the family-owned Hatay Restaurant serves, as its name might suggest, food typical of southeast Turkey’s Hatay province. This is a flavorful, eclectic type of cuisine with Turkish, Middle Eastern and French influences. Start with tempting mezze-style dishes like sigara böreği (cheese and herb filled filo pastry) or hummus topped with Turkish bacon or içli köfte (stuffed meatballs). Meaty main courses include kebabs, hearty stews and steak. Finish with künefe – a classic local Hatay dessert – for a truly authentic dining experience.
A delightful restaurant with a charming, retro interior and a picturesque patio and garden perfect for a spot of al fresco dining is Gattini Bistro. This place has been one of Mersin’s most popular restaurants since first opening its doors six years ago. Mouthwatering Mediterranean cuisine is Gattini Bistro’s focus, with early morning dishes like Turkish sucuk sausage and menemen. This is followed by plenty of dishes perfect for lunch or dinner. These range from octopus casserole and seafood salad to köfte and lamb shanks. Other options include pasta dishes like penne arabiata and fettucine with porcini mushrooms.
Hacıbaba Et Lokantası
In business in Mersin since 1988 and still owned and operated by its original owner’s family, Hacıbaba Et Lokantası is the place to head in town for meat lovers. The restaurant’s huge menu features meat dishes like Adana kebabs and Arnavut ciğeri (Albanian-style liver). There’s also poultry options – think chicken schnitzel and chicken tandoori. Other choices include lahmacun and more köfte than you can shake a stick at, alongside plenty of rice dishes and traditional Turkish soups. There’s even a few veggie-friendly dishes like eggplant salad and kapuska, a Turkish cabbage-based stew.
Hacıbaba Et Lokantası, Istiklal Caddesi No 82, Mersin, Turkey, +90 324 238 0023
Fixmenü Ev Yemekleri
Serving hearty and wholesome homemade Turkish eats, Fixmenü Ev Yemekleri is the place to go in Mersin for casual comfort food. The venue’s menu changes on a daily basis. Guests can expect dishes along the lines of eggplant and meat casserole, homemade köfte and kuru fasülye (a traditional Turkish stew of beans and meat). These are served with sides including pilaf, bulgur wheat salad and tzatziki. There’s also a range of daily soups like lentil and chicken noodle.
Seafood is the specialty at Rina Restaurant and with many guests hailing its fish dishes as the best in all of Mersin, the restaurant is a must-try for any self-proclaimed pescatarians. Grab a seat on the restaurant’s gorgeous terrace and soak up the sun while dining on a selection of delicious mezze to start. Choose from dishes like smoked salmon, haydari (a tangy Turkish yogurt dip) or eggplant salad. Try dishes like salt-baked grouper, swordfish skewers or fish-stuffed manti for after.
Brothers and burger fanatics Erdinç and Emre Anay decided to open Otto Burger to satisfy their, and Mersin’s, need for delicious burgers. It looks like the plan is working. Since opening its doors in early 2014 the hip, retro-style spot has welcomed a steady stream of guests who leave raving about its gourmet burgers. Chef Umut Özdemir gets creative with burger recipes like the ‘Baconotto’. This is topped with veal bacon and cheddar. There’s also the ‘Mantarotto’ with smoked cheese, creamy mushrooms and barbecue sauce. There’s even a vegetarian variety featuring grilled halloumi topped with eggplant puree, salad, mushroom and pickles.
Ada Et Döner
A family-friendly restaurant specializing in döner meat cooked on an oak wood-fired rotary grill, Ada Et Döner is sure to satisfy any diner hankering for meat. The restaurant’s menu is short and sweet but delicious nonetheless. Options include iskender kebabs and döner wraps and sandwiches served with sides like salad, pickles and rice. These are perfect finished with a slice of ekmek kadayifi (Turkish bread pudding). Wash it all down with a glass of ayran, a yogurt-based beverage, considered Turkey’s national drink.
A relative newcomer to Mersin’s dining scene, Buğday opened its doors in late 2014. The trendy, retro little cafe-bistro is already gaining quite the name for itself. Mediterranean cuisine crafted from organic, natural ingredients are the focus. Mouthwatering dishes include lasagna, karniyarik (eggplants stuffed with ground lamb) and bulgur pilaf with pickles. On top of that, Buğday’s delicious sweet treats are far too tempting to ignore. Choose from desserts like cupcakes, brownies and homemade strawberry cheesecake.
Buğday, Barbaros Mahallesi, 2182 Sokaka No 2/A, Mersin, Turkey, +90 324 327 5453