Falafel & More at Rokka, Antalya, Turkey

Given Antalya’s proximity to Syria, I was surprised by the lack of falafel in the city. The one restaurant I could find serving falafel was Rokka, and that alone was the reason I ate here six times during my month in Antalya.

Location: Haşimişcan Mahallesi, Recep Peker Cd., Antalya (Google map link). It’s a one minute walk from Hadrian’s Gate, one of the main entrances into the Old City.

Menu:  A varied menu of pasta, pizza, appetizers, salads, wraps, and then their mains. Their pizzas, sandwiches, and wraps have vegetarian and vegan sections, though the staff are flexible and could help you customise anything no doubt. There are also some treats if you’ve got some room left. What I liked about the menu, was that each section didn’t overwhelm you with choices that could leave you with analysis paralysis.

Thoughts: Outside of Istanbul, the level of English across the board in Turkey isn’t great compared to most of Eastern Europe. Having struggled in Antalya on the first few days, hearing the friendly voices of the English speaking staff on my first visit was amazing. Although I came across Rokka on HappyCow.net, interestingly at the time of writing, Rokka is Antalya’s 3rd (of 1012) ranked restaurant in Antalya on TripAdvisor.

As you enter the restaurant, the seating is varied, but you’d be silly not to eye up the big couches right away. Personally, I preferred the upstairs area where the street and kitchen noise isn’t so dramatic. I went at various times throughout the afternoon and while it was never at capacity, there was a steady stream of traffic.

I can’t help but use the word hipster when describing Rokka with the staff wearing casual clothing, the various seating that looks comfortable, and of course advertising their vegan options. The people who came weren’t all tourists from what I could tell. The majority tended to be young adults catching up, though I remember one family enjoying theirs after making faces with one of the kids.

The separate menus in both English and Turkish was a nice touch. One of the options on the advertising board in front of the store is the falafel wrap, and there’s a reason they promote this item. It’s amazing.

I always got something off the sandwiches and wraps menu.

The falafel vegan wrap was a clear win. They don’t get fancy with their falafel by adding cabbage or anything, it’s just straight up good quality falafel, Syrian style. They told me their secret to their falafel, but it would be rude to tell.

The vegan in oatmeal bread was epic too. Oatmeal bread is worded as a fancy way of saying bread roll. The lemon sauce was delicious, and anywhere eggplant and/or zucchini are mentioned in this area, is no joke, they certainly know the best way to cook both ingredients in Antalya.

I did make a rookie mistake when I asked for the special dried tomato wrap. Usually a vegetarian option, the vegan option meant no cheese and pesto. What was left tasted just like what it was, a couple of vegetables in bread. Totally my mistake.

The service times were impressive, even when people ordered right before me, the food never took long to arrive at the table. Also of note, they did a good job at bringing things out all at once for groups of eaters, very un-Turkish of them.

Rokka is not perfect. There are few things I have to point out which I didn’t like.

  • the portion of hummus that comes with the wrap combo is tiny
  • there was no wifi available for the month despite saying there is
  • the serving of chips wouldn’t always be hot (some chips were, some weren’t)
  • the level of friendliness would drop off from time to time

With room to improve that’s why seeing Rokka ranked third was interesting. I’d highly recommend coming here if you’re in Antalya though. You’d be silly not to order at least one item with falafel. Now that I’ve left, I really should have tried a pizza too.

Price: The prices are about the average relative to the rest of the city. You can find cheaper dishes at locals joints hidden away, and more expensive at most places once you’re in the Old Town. Falafal is about $2, pizzas around $4.

Author Bio:  Hailing from New Zealand, Jub has been exploring the world since 2013 with no intentions of stopping. He finds himself in Malaysia regularly where he enjoys finding awesome new places like Ipoh and Cyberjaya. While he doesn’t consider himself a foodie, he knows what a good (healthy and value wise) meal is when he sees one.

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