Before we even arrived on Buyukada, we'd been hassled by someone on the mainland who wanted us to visit his restaurant. This pretty much set the tone for our meal on the island.
It may be because it was a cold, wet day in the low season and day-trippers were few and far between, but when we tried to choose a restaurant from the line on Gulistan Caddesi (the street leading down the seafront from the ferry landing), we were seriously bothered by restaurant staff. We chose the Mimosa (see my Restaurant tip for the food, which was good) and told the waiter we wanted just to eat from the mezze list. He reeled off a list of dishes that sounded great and when I asked he much this would be, he said 5 lira. Well, when our bill came, it transpired that four mezze plus drinks and bread came to just shy of 80 lira. On further examination we found that the 5 liras referred to the cheapest mezze dish. Another had cost almost 20 lira.
This may just apply to the Mimosa, but I wouldn't be suprised if the other restaurants here were similar, given the hard sell we were subjected to at each of them.
So, a few tips:
- Ask to see the menu. We had dishes pointed out very briefly but didn't get a chance to check prices.
- If they make something that's not on the menu, make sure you know the price.
- You'll pay for each basket of bread that comes (this applied to restaurants on the mainland too), so ask for them to be taken away if you don't want it.
- Ditto tea that may seem to be offered as part of the meal.
I should stress that the food was decent, so please don't be put off, but it was the most expensive meal of our trip and not the best.
We were just about to go and have a nap after a long day spent on Buyukada hills, when it has begun. Somebody started singing live around 23:00 in the night club which is next to an excellent Splendid Palace Hotel. Completely closed doors and windows didn't help. After about 15 minutes of this experience I came down to the reception and was told that it can continue upto 3 a.m. and there's nothing they can do about it. The only way out was to go to some grocery and buy a lot of nice Turkish beer. Next day we moved to Princess Hotel.