Best summer holidays 2015: Alaçatı, Turkey
The town of Alaçatı in Turkey is fast becoming Turkey’s most fashionable hotspot. It’s one of our favourite summer holiday destinations for 2015.
Surf shacks are not the natural home of gourmet food. But here, in Alaçatı – a village on Turkey’s Aegean coast – appearances are deceptive. At Makah Beach Café, meatballs are laced with a hint of cumin and served with a tomato relish that sings of sunshine (£7). Makah is one of several wooden shacks on an inlet leading onto Alaçatı Port, a spanking new marina development jammed with yachts and wannabe Venetian villas.
Alaçatı (pronounced: al-ur-cha-tur) has become the new Bodrum for the discerning Turkish traveller. Stay at Alavya, a recently opened boutique hotel with 25 rooms spread over six stone houses enclosed by a walled garden. With its narrow swimming pool jewelled with mirrored mosaics, this seriously elegant address also boasts one of Alaçatı’s best café/bistros, Mitu. Breakfast here sees the tables heaving with crumbling sheep’s cheese sprinkled with onion seeds; crinkly black olives; local honey on the comb; homemade jams; yoghurts; breads; fruit platters and varieties of herby salad leaves – all for £10pp. Dinner is equally delicious, including an outstanding octopus and chickpea salad (£10) that combines the Med and Middle East in equal vivacity, and a butter-soft 28-day dry-aged steak tagliata with citrussy salsa verde (£20). It's tempting to stay put. But Alaçatı’s cobbled streets house numerous must-visit restaurants. Baba ganoush (or patlıcan salatası) has never tasted better than at Asma Yapragı – yoghurty, silky and zinging with garlic. And what chef-owner Ayse Nur Mihci's does with artichokes can only come from of generations of experience. (Two courses £6).
Try KÖŞe Kahve for excellent local chardonnay. At this café/boutique you can buy a haute couture kaftan and get the latest gossip from diplomats and designers just in from Istanbul. Then climb the hill to Alanchafor views of the windmill-studded coast, boosted by ambitious cocktails and a slow-food tasting menu (£46) from chef Kemal Demirasal. For a fishy finale, enjoy succulent skewers of shrimp and generous hunks of grilled snapper at Ferdi Barba (00 90 232716 9001; two courses £25).
HOW TO DO IT Five nights’ B&B at Alavya costs from £880 per person, including return flights to Izmir and transfers (exclusiveescapes.co.uk).