Aren’t hole-in-the-wall type places the most exciting to find? Our guide Duygu first introduced us to this gem after guiding us on our artisan walk, and we liked it so much that we returned for dinner the next night.
Serving up traditional, authentic Turkish fare, the food at Datli Maya is delicious and unpretentious. The restaurant is small; you order downstairs and either take out or hope that there is seating available upstairs (we got lucky both times). Apparently the owner, Dilara Erbay, did not initially intend for the upstairs to be used as a restaurant but her food was so popular that they decided to add seats and tables.
The goal at Datli Maya is to revive the traditional wood oven food culture and as you walk in you can’t miss the colourful mosaic that highlights the restaurant’s oven. Fresh from said oven, we tried cheesy pides (Anatolian pizza) and lahmancunlar (very very thin Anatolian pizza) and smoky clay casseroles. Mum got hooked on the pistachio cookies. The menu includes English explanations for us new to Turkish fare, and little quips that will make you smile. For example, Kavurmali is explained as “The Turkish equivalent of Corn Beef, but much better.”, or Humous “do you really need an explanation?”.
It’s a low key place, there are no wait staff, and it can get crowded, but the food is worth it. The atmosphere at the restaurant is warm and friendly, their philosophy on their brochure sums it up best: “Fresh, natural, seasonal village ingredients and best quality with reasonable prices. Healthy? Junky? Veggy? Meaty? Creative? Conservative? Come whatever you eat, come!” Go!