Amazon Bistro

Written by on March 31, 2012 in I Eat Turkey, I Eat...Out with 0 Comments

(No website found at time of publishing) – Selcuk, Turkey

How I heard of this place: My sister and brother-in-law stopped in Selcuk a few years back while touring around the ruins of the ancient Ottoman empire and came across this spot. We went in search of the highly recommended dinner the moment we checked in to our hotel.

Type of cuisine: A bistro, cafe and bar serving traditional Turkish cuisine, presented with internationally renowned culinary know-how.

Ambiance: Dark and romantic, the scratched-up hardwood floors and mauve-colored paint on the walls is unnoticable. Ceiling fans sit quietly overhead, the bar directly ahead of the entrance barren, yet light music plays amiably in the background. We are escorted to our creaking, wooden chairs at a table at the far right corner of the establisment, only one other couple seated at the other side of the restaurant. As the music plays, we take a look around to note the old, well-used stove , the oversized pumpkin at the bar and the largest jar of house-made pickles upon which you have ever feasted your eyes. Watercolor paintings of the ruins at Efesus are dimly lit by light bulbs covered in glass beads and marbles. Our server soon returns with a runner, and unrolls it across the table between us. He quickly adds eating utensils and colorful menus with drawings of a goat eating pomegranates against a moutainous sunset.

What I ordered: We started our meal, as with all of our meals, with a large bottle of water (3TL) and two cups. Appetizers have played a big role in our travels and we were not about to stop here, knowing that everything would be delicious. Chris chose the Pan-Fried Cheese (5TL), a local cheese coated in breadcrumbs and fried, served alongside fresh tomatoes and topped with fresh parsley. I requested the Shepherd’s Salad (10.50TL) with chopped tomato, cucumber, onion, parsley and herbs in a lemon vinaigrette. For my main entree, I found the dish highly recommended by my sister, Chicken Shepherd’s Delight (8.50TL for one person) and ordered the finely sliced chicken breast “marinaded” in fresh spices fried with peppers, onion and garlic, served on a steaming brazier. Chris initially wanted the Adana Kofte (Spicy Meatballs), which they did not have on hand, so he selected the Ephesos Steak (19.50TL) served with a creamy mushroom and onion sauce, a side of French fries and Cacik (yoghurt mixed with garlic, cucumber and mint).

What I loved: My favorite thing having appeared on our table was the fried cheese. The crispy outside, the soft, gooey center, the slightly salty, not too greasy combination paired with succulent, fresh tomatoes and palate-cleansing parsley made me so, very happy. Closely following the cheese, the freshly prepared and tossed salad added purity and roughage to our otherwise heavy diets. Of the two entrees we were served, the chicken (Mojan was right), despite its high oil content, stole the show. What we came to find to be a traditional Turkish gesture of hostpitality, generosity from the heart and friendship: offering a cup of tea (apple, on this occasion), on the house, has also become one of my greatest loves at each of these dining establishments.

Why I loved it: The ambient music and lighting, the romantic rustic space, the friendly staff and the entirely fresh, home-cooked, prepared to order food, not to mention the excellent company of my sweet husband offered us one of the most memorable meals and experiences of a lifetime.

Cost: Average to high (8-20TL per person/entree)

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