Let’s say you are a young man who grew up in a village.
The life you knew as a child is a faded memory, as your village now plays host to hundreds of thousands of visitors from around the world.
What do you do to cope with the changes going on around you?
That is right. You open a restaurant!
Well, maybe not you, but that is what Fatih Doğan did when he opened the Evil Eye Restaurant in Göreme, Cappadocia.
Talking with Fatih you would think he was a fifty-five year old cynic. “I remember when everyone had three or four animals. Everyone had a donkey and chickens” he said, reminiscing of glory days gone by. “My dad had a horse cart. All our neighbors had horse carts. We would come down here to the main road and race. ‘Come on dad pass him. Pass him dad’” Fatih recounted, fondly gazing off the terrace of the Evil Eye Restaurant, overlooking the road to which he was referring.
But Fatih is not a grumpy, old, man, miffed with this modern age. He is a twenty-seven year old entrepreneur who, along with his Korean business partner, has opened the only Korean restaurant in Cappadocia.
How Fatih and his partner met is an interesting story.
Fatih watched as his neighborhood changed all around him. Like prospectors in the California Gold Rush, first the house to his left, then his neighbor to the right, sold their cave-houses, looking to strike-it-rich in the Göreme Boutique Hotel Boom. Fatih, passionate about his community, bucked the system and convinced his father not to sell the house inside the rock in which he was born and raised, no matter how high the bid.
In dissatisfaction with his quiet village turning tourist attraction, he passed by the neighboring hotels and pansions run by his countrymen, not giving them the time of day. But down the street was a place run by a Korean. He stopped in to ask what in the world they were doing in Cappadocia. There he met his future partner working in the kitchen. Over a three year span they gained a trust in one another that led to this business venture.
On my first visit to Evil Eye I was greeted by the cook, Sun Kebapcılar. She is a bright and charming Korean woman whom I hesitantly greeted in English, only to find that she speaks great Turkish. Twenty seven (!) years in Izmir will do that to a person.
When I asked how Sun ended up in Cappadocia, she replied “the restaurant.” She read an advertisement on a Korean social networking site for a cook in Cappdocia. She responded to the ad, did a phone interview with Fatih’s partner, and was in Cappadocia within a month. For which I am very happy because, boy can she cook!
Having had Bibimbap with some Korean students while studying Turkish in Ankara, I decided to get something familiar from the menu. This seven ingredient meat and vegetable dish was delicious! Then I tried the beef Bilgogi (pictured above). Absolutely fantastic! The different flavors, the portions, the variety of side dishes, quality ingredients, are really a refreshing change from the standard Turkish kebab and pide. I would say that the cost (30tl) may be 5-10tl overpriced, but at the same time, you could easily order one portion and split it, the serving is that generous.
The quality of the food is matched by the quality decor. Inside, you have the pleasure of dining at the traditional Ottoman-style Şark Köşesi, sitting on cushions on the floor. Outside, on the open-air terrace, the incredible fairy-chimneyed landscape of Göreme keep you company. Either adds to the ambience as you experience Cappadocia.
I asked Fatih if he had anything to say to prospective customers. He answered with “Don’t be left among the hungry, come and we’ll fill your stomachs. We want you to know that our hearts are open to you as well.”
Good food, great atmosphere, and some delightful employees: What more could you ask for in a restaurant?
Fatih has graciously offered all CaptivatingCappdocia.com readers a 10% discount on meals if you mention hearing about Evil Eye Restaurant here.
If you are travelling in Turkey would you enjoy eating something different…like Korean? Or would you prefer to stick to Turkish food?
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