Turkey // The Euphrates and Tigris basin //

Sira Geceleri – a night out in Urfa

Sira geceleri (literally “nights by turn”) were originally informal gatherings of male friends at one of their homes, where a meal and conversation were accompanied by traditional live music. The idea was picked up by several Urfa restaurants (each invariably sited in an old courtyard house), and now “guests” pay for the experience, sitting cross-legged at a low sofra table and tucking into a banquet of speciality local dishes while being serenaded by a traditional band. Three of the best venues are listed here.

Cevahir Konak Evi

Selahhattin Eyyub Camii Karşısı t 0414 215 9377, w cevahirkonukevi.com. Probably the best, and certainly the dearest (TL50 for the set menu of eight different dishes). Wed, Fri & Sat from 8pm.

Gülizar Konuk Evi

Sarayönü Cad, İrfaniye Sok t 0414 215 0505. Lovely old mansion set below the towering Ulu Cami minaret, with TL35 set menu, and, usually, two sira geceleri each week. Wed & Sat from 8pm.

Yıldız Saray Konuk Evi

Yorgancı Sok t 0414 216 9494, w yildizsaraykonukevi.com. Courtyard mansion with a good reputation, TL35 for the set menu. Performances usually Wed, Fri & Sun from 8pm.