Bergama Ticaret Odasi

Written by on April 2, 2012 in I Eat Turkey, I Eat...Out with 0 Comments

(No website found for restaurant at time of publishing) – Bergama, Turkey

How I heard of this place: My sister and brother-in-law suggested the outdoor seating at this newly renovated, tranquil restaurant in the less touristy part of the town of Bergama, where both the village houses and the mountain home to the Akropol could be viewed in all its beauty and majesty.

Type of cuisine: Traditional Turkish fare, with house specialties including veal steak, saksuka (shakshuka) of eggplant, onion, tomato and pepper, as well as fresh yogurt dusted with dried mint.

Ambiance: Our feelings of being lost, walking through the tiny cobble-stoned roads of Bergama ultimately led us to a wide open space, a playground on one side and the large, beautifully mowed lawn on the other side of the street. Lush, verdant trees grow along the stone path leading to the front door of the establishment. The Chamber of Commerce seems to spare no expense for this, its sole restaurant in the town of Bergama. Indoors, the space is grand, with hellow walls, arched windows and wrought iron candle chandeliers. The hardwood floors match the dark, wood-rimmed, framed window panels and the limited, matching chair and table seating. Each table has goden runners connecting pairs across the table, plates turned upside down and a full set of utensils and glasses at each setting. A lone coat rack stands at the side door, with one, white, chefs jacket hanging, before the Eye of Fatima trinket hanging on the wall. It was recommended that we take our seats outside, which our server and host, immediately encouraged. From this outside table in the shade of a nearby tree. Expansive views of the city below, with its red-tiled rooftops can be seen all the way to the hills in the distance. Looking up the mountain, one can view the ruins of Akropol peeking out of the grassy moutainside. It was here that we enjoyed our meals in the privacy of our own restaurant.

What I ordered: Being the off-season, we ordered each of the meze available to us: the saksuka, yogurt and bread with fresh, real olive oil, the Kuzu Pirzola (lamb chops 20TL) and Beef (veal) Steak (25TL), served beautifully with one, large arugula leaf, two long, spicy, roasted peppers, and a peeled tomato, cut in half and roasted, served alongside the skin, shaped like a flower at the side of each plate. A large bottle of water quenched our thirst after having braved our way up and down the mountain to Akropol, and driven through the mini cobblestone (Rolling Stone Road) streets, uphill, with a manual transmission. Upon delivering our meals, our sweet, kind and gentle-hearted host also brought us a plate of fries to enjoy, on the house.

What I loved: Just when we thought we had completed our meals, our host again appeared with four, large, bright red, ripe strawberries, freshly picked and washed just for us. This, we knew, because his hands were still wet from washing them, and he was slightly out of breath from having run out to get them from the garden. Of the foods we ordered, however, my favorite was, by far, the saksuka!

Why I loved it: The restaurant is owned by the Bergama Chamber of Commerce and is off of the beaten path. Winding through small cobblestone streets, we made our way up, through a less touristy area of town, to where the locals work, walk and play to an open stretch resembling a park. On that park sits this newly remodeled establishment with tall ceilings and windows looking out over the Ulu Mosque and the village below. Sitting outside on the lawn or paved patio one can also look up towards the mountain and see the Akropol in all its ruined splendor. More than anything, we loved the warm-hearted gentleman who served us with so much hospitality, friendliness and kind spirit that speaking the others’ language became secondary.

Cost: Average to high (5-6TL per meze, 10-25TL per entree)

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