Food plays a central role in most people's holiday and finding good places to eat are paramount to a successful trip. At the end of a day exploring the region or of sunning yourself by the pool, what every holiday maker looks forward to is excellent food, good drink and a great atmosphere. Or perhaps a filling and healthy breakfast as a way to start the day and set yourself up for a day at the beach, or a light lunch to break up the day, whatever your choice, a restaurant can make or break your holiday.
In Dalyan, there are over a hundred restaurants to choose from which makes your selection difficult if you are only staying for a week. Some are terrible, some are overly expensive, some are truly fantastic and some are just the perfect balance of great food, a lively ambience and a good price. Kordon Restaurant is exactly that!
Established in 1987 by childhood friends from a small town on the outskirts of Marmaris, Kordon Restaurant is now the oldest restaurant in Dalyan and there are many reasons behind their success. Very much a family run business, Duran and Apo, along with Duran's son and manager, Fırat and long serving maître d', Muharrem, the team seem to have found the winning formula when it comes to running a prosperous eatery in a town that is over run with establishments.
Watch our short film, meet the Kurt Family and find out more about Kordon Restaurant!
Fırat Kurt Introduces the Family Restaurant, Kordon
Here are the top ten reasons why Kordon, Dalyan's Oldest Restaurant, should be on your dinner hit list!
1) The Food
No restaurant would be popular if the food they served wasn't good. The first secret to Kordon's success is in the kitchen. Kordon is one of the few restaurants in Dalyan where you can find the owner in the kitchen. Duran Kurt is the restaurant's chef and he runs a tight ship, employing only the best kitchen hands and sous chefs. Even his business partner and childhood friend, Apo, works in the kitchen.
Duran Kurt, Dalyan's Best Chef
Duran is notably one of the best chefs in town and his food is consistently good. He has a passion for food, particularly Turkish cuisine, which is evident in his cooking. Kordon's menu is full and varied, with dishes ranging from traditional Turkish meals such as kebabs, delicious meze, Ottoman clay pots and Turkish moussaka to European favourites like spaghetti and a variety of chicken dishes. One bestseller on the menu is the incredible shepherd's pie, a Turkish take on Britain's favourite dish.
Kordon's Delicious Salads
The grilled chicken is succulent and juicy, the steaks are cooked to perfection, the lamb just slides off the bone and vegetables and salads are delicious, genius concoctions of colour and goodness. Kordon is one of the few restaurants in Dalyan which boasts a log fire oven and they employ a specialist bread chef, which means that the pizzas they serve are some of the best you will ever have tasted and you will be served the rare bloom bread with garlic butter as a precursor to your meal.
Kordon's Meze Selection on Display
Whatever your choice for breakfast, lunch or dinner, Kordon's menu cannot disappoint. Portions are big, prices are reasonable and the food served here is truly delicious.
2) The Best Seafood in Town
Business owner Apo is a keen fisherman and Kordon has prized itself on producing some of the best seafood in Dalyan. Apo often catches the fish himself and brings it to the restaurant to be cooked and sold to customers. The fish is always fresh and the staff are always proud to show off their latest catch.
Staff Show off the Amazing Seafood Collection
The seafood can be pricey, but this is the case anywhere in Dalyan. If the price of the dish isn't stated in the menu, your fish will be weighed and sold per kilogram. You will however, always be told the price of your fish or seafood before you agree to it, following a comprehensive tour of the packed fish counter.
Fresh Fish Served Daily
3) The Staff and Their Service
The staff at a restaurant can really make or break an experience. At Kordon, they really know what they are doing. Service is a craft here and the staff are trained to perfection, with decades of experience under their belts between them. They are professional and courteous while reading your situation perfectly. They are as happy to leave you to enjoy your meal as they are to join in with your banter. Whatever the mood, the staff are reactionary and accommodating.
Fırat Kurt, Restaurant Manager
For the Kurts, restaurant service is in the blood. Not only will you find owner Duran and his business partner Apo in the kitchen, but Duran's son, Fırat, acts as manager of the restaurant and is a friendly and welcoming force in the front of house service with his cheeky personality.
Muharrem, the Wise Man Front of House
As likely as you are to find Fırat at one side of the restaurant, you will find long serving head of staff, Muharrem, at the other. Thanks to his sharp wit and welcoming demeanour, over the years he has been the first reason that customers have stepped over the entrance to take a chance on the food. Muharrem has worked for Kordon for almost as long as it has been in existence and is truly a part of their family. His English is excellent, which makes for some interesting and insightful conversation. His sense of humour is endearing too. It is extremely difficult to pass him by!
The Beautiful Keziban
The gorgeous Keziban is a true asset to the restaurant. She is a hard worker and never afraid to get stuck in. She is as sweet as she is beautiful and it is always fun to practice her English and your Turkish with her. She has a bright outlook on life which shines through her smile.
Friendly Staff at Kordon
The rest of the staff are as lovely and accommodating as the ones mentioned above. Nothing is too much for them and they truly want you to have a fantastic meal and a great Turkish experience. They are incredibly accommodating with fussy eaters and will adapt their menu to fit your needs and requirements without complaint.
4) The Location
Kordon Restaurant is in a perfect location in Dalyan, set by the water on the river at one end, and at the heart of the bustling main street at the other, close to Mosque Square. On the street side, just at the foot of the main road that passes through the town, pedestrianised after 5pm, a number of tables are sheltered here and you can enjoy people watching as they take to the town for the night and you enjoy your meal.
Muharrem Tends to Front of House, Street Side
The garden side, more popular with customers, sits on the banks of the Dalyan River, just opposite where the river taxi takes tourists to Turtle Beach. Shaded by trees and surrounded by flowers and plants, the garden area is tranquil as it overlooks the boats passing down the waters and the magnificent mountains that tower over the town. Sit closer to the water and you will have a stunning view of the famous Lycian Rock Tombs which are lit up at night.
The Restaurant's Garden by the Dalyan River
5) Family Friendly
It is well documented that the Turks are truly family orientated and they love children, their own, their family's or the young of strangers. Children are more than welcome at Kordon Restaurant, which sports one of the best children's playgrounds in town. In fact, you will often find children from other restaurants crossing the borders to try out their toys.
Kordon's Children's Playground
The playground includes a slide, a swing, a play house and a couple of cars that kids can use to move around the restaurant. Kordon also has a kids menu which is British children friendly and good portions. Should the children want to try something from the main menu, these dishes can be adapted. Highchairs are also available and the staff will do anything to make the kids feel special and welcome.
6) It is Always Busy
Truly a good sign for any restaurant, at mealtimes, Kordon is always the busiest restaurant in town. Many an evening, the restaurant's garden will be close to full, while the surrounding establishments sit close to empty. Personally, if I am looking for somewhere to eat, I would rather choose a busy restaurant than an empty one, even if it means waiting a little longer for food.
Busy Mealtimes at Kordon
7) The Restaurant of Choice for Turks
Turkish people just wouldn't eat bad Turkish food. They know what they want and they know what is good and if you see locals dining at a Turkish restaurant, you know that the food must be authentic and delicious. Kordon Restaurant is open twelve months of the year, which is rare in Dalyan. As a result, they have a good following of local Turkish customers. Kordon is not the only restaurant in town that is open all year round, yet it remains the restaurant of choice with the locals.
Popular with Turkish Locals
8) The Rich and Famous
The likes of Tom Hanks and Steven Spielberg have spent vacation time in Dalyan and rumour has it that Beyonce and Julia Roberts may have been spotted here once or twice too! I am afraid I have no evidence that any of these worldwide celebrities dined at Kordon, however, it has been the restaurant of choice for many of the Turkish rich and famous.
Kaptan June Attends a Private Function at Kordon
June Haimoff, of the Kaptan June Sea Turtle Conservation Foundation has been spotted here, as has a famous footballer from the popular Istanbul team Galatasaray. Chief of the Jandarma and owner of the Sultaniye Spa and Mud Baths are regular diners at Kordon as are government officials and parliamentary dignitaries. The mayor of Ortaca is also a fan of their food.
9) Anything for the Customers
The staff at Kordon Restaurant really would do anything for you. From popping to the market for an apple to cure your heartburn, to staging a private event for you, nothing is too much trouble. If you need advice on day trips, boats at good prices, a transfer to the airport, an apartment to stay in, what medication you need for a headache, or where you can buy a Turkish carpet, between them the staff will be able to help you.
Cocktails for a Private Event
Kordon are particularly exceptional at hosting private events. If you need a table for 30 for a wedding party, that is no problem. If your wife or child is celebrating a birthday, they will adorn your table with balloons and candles and present your loved one with a surprise birthday cake and fireworks along to their own Happy Birthday soundtrack. If you want to stage a book launch, Kordon is the restaurant that would move heaven and earth, tables and chairs, to make it happen for you.
Birthday Parties at Kordon
If you have just arrived on a late flight and the doors are still open, even if they have cleared away their tables, they will make you dinner. Perhaps you have already started drinking at one of the busy bars across the road but you've become peckish, the staff will deliver food to your hand. Whatever it is that you need or require, nothing is too much trouble for the staff at Kordon.
10) Welcome to the Family
Kordon has survived for as long as it has, through difficult times, because of its quality and fantastic staff. The Kurt family attribute their success to the fact that they are lucky enough to have built up a fan club of return customers. While this of course helps, the customers wouldn't return if it weren't for the good food and great company.
That said, if you do happen to show your face at Kordon more than once, not only will they remember your name and everything about you as they welcome you with open arms, but you will immediately feel at home. Become a regular customer and you will be welcomed into the Kordon family with open arms again and again as they know and understand the importance of your repeat custom.
Some of the Kordon Family
For me personally, Kordon is where I fell in love with Dalyan and its people. Everyone who regularly visits Dalyan will find their own Turkish family, for me mine are all in this small but excellent riverside restaurant and I feel very lucky to have been accepted into the realms. I urge you to try Kordon Restaurant. It is the oldest restaurant in Dalyan for a reason. Visit once and I am sure you will soon feel a part of this family.