Greetings from Istanbul! After a whirlwind 20 days (started out as 14!) in Alaçatı, Çeşme on the lovely Aegean coast in Turkey, I returned to Istanbul late Monday night and I'm not kidding when I say that Luka and I were so wiped out after very little sleep (I don't go on vacation to sleep!) during our vacation (yes Luka was always up late too!) that I'm just getting my bearings although I've been back home a week now!
|Luka and me on last day of vacation at Alaçatı Kapari Hotel|
In this post, I will write about 4 more restaurants I visited in Alaçatı during this trip. Except for one, I hadn't gone to the other places on my previous visits to Alaçatı (have been going every year since 1999) and I was happy to "discover" some new places... I am going to prepare this post alphabetically, so here goes!
Lavanta, which means lavender in Turkish has been around for about 10 years. Two years ago they moved from the crowded Kemalpaşa Street to a lovely restored building right off of Hacımemiş on a quiet street.
|Lavanta Restaurant @ 2000 Sokak No. 24 Alaçatı|
First I want to give an overview of the eatery. Upon entering there is a small indoor bar and a private indoor dining room to the right... Since Lavanta is open year round, it makes sense! Also, it's a good space for a large group year-round.
|Indoor dining room|
Since we were only 2 people and it was a week night, we were able to get a table. Don't let the pictures fool you... Lavanta is dimly lit, so I had to photoshop most of the pictures! Also, there is a door that leads out to a side street from the alcove and there are a couple of tables there too.
The menu is posted on the wall and my sister and I went to town ordering a whole bunch of appetizers and one main course to share...
|Lavanta's menu posted on the wall|
Unfortunately I was able to take only two pictures of the food - between the lighting and just devouring our food, I totally forgot to take pictures! We ordered "frambuaz soslu börülce (sea beans (samphire) prepared with raspberry sauce) - incredible!; "tahinli patlıcan" (eggplant in tahini sauce) - scrumptious!; "bahçe salatası" (garden salad) to die for!; "karides börek" (pastry stuffed with shrimp) - delicious; and "otlu anneanne köftesi" (grandma's meatballs with herbs), which was crispy on the outside and moist in the center - so good!! Lavanta has a young woman chef and she is a very talented chef!
|Garden Salad at Lavanta|
Of course after all this food, we didn't have room for dessert and I just had a glass of wine and my sister a beverage at dinner and then coffee to cap off our night. I can truly say we had an incredible meal that when we went back the second time, we did make a reservation to make sure we got a table and this time, we ordered everything but the sea beans and also ordered "enginar and kabak çiçegi tempura" (artichoke and zucchini blossoms tempura) very light and flaky and "bonfile dilimleri ispanak yatağında" (tenderloin of beef slices on a bed of sauteed spinach) cooked to perfection and very tender! This time we also ordered a bottle of wine (pretty decent wine list and moderate prices) and literally rolled out of there!
Tel: (0232) 716 68 91
Definitely make a reservation before going to Mi Casa because more than likely, you won't get a table!
Although Mi Casa is quite spacious and now with tables also outside of the main alcove, it is highly popular and always packed. You can also stop by for a drink at their expansive bar, but the bar is usually crowded too! Our first attempt, of course without reservations was unsuccessful, but the second time we tried on July 17th (Wednesday), we did luck out because we got there after 10pm and we were only two people!
Mi Casa has been around for about 5 years and is also located on a quiet street off of Kemalpaşa Street (the main street in Alaçatı). I've been to Mi Casa many times through the years and in fact, celebrated my birthday there with a group of my friends.
I've always enjoyed Mi Casa for its atmosphere, good food, decent prices and excellent service. Since it was very late, my sister and I each had two appetizers and a glass of wine each...
|goat cheese, beets, balsamic sauce and almonds|
1026 Sokak No. 3 Alaçatı
Tel: (0232) 716 60 75
If you haven't made a reservation ,f you want to go to a trendy or popular restaurant for dinner on a Saturday night, you are pretty much out of luck! Remember, I mentioned above that my sister and I are notorious for this, mainly because we go to the "beaches" in mid-afternoon and by the time we get back to house/hotel and get ready to go out, we can not make a reservation upfront as we probably wouldn't make it and only make reservations for nights we don't hit the beaches during the day.
On a Saturday night - July 20th, my sister, brother-in-law and I didn't get to downtown Alaçatı till about 9pm! That's when we discovered Noni'nin Meyhanesi!
We were going to meet friends at Fogo Bar later in the evening, but we were starving and wanted to have a decent meal. Also, we don't prefer eating at eateries right on Kemalpaşa Street especially on weekends, as the street is wall to wall people and you can't walk let alone enjoy a meal at a restaurant as people pass by right on top of you and jostle your chair!
But, the location of Noni'nin Meyhanesi on Kemalpaşa Street is away from the hustle and bustle of the main area and a short distance from Mi Casa...
Meyhane, which means tavern in Turkish is basically a place where you can listen to traditional Turkish music (live or recorded) and enjoy a whole host of appetizers, called meze and fish with rakı, the local alcoholic beverage of choice. One difference at this tavern is that Greek music is played and unfortunately from time to time, the cacophony of music from the next door bar also spills (typical in Alaçatı!) I guess you can say that the main difference between a "meyhane" and seafood restaurant in Turkey is the fact that there is no music at seafood restaurants and there are a bigger choice of appetizers at taverns...
The appetizers and fish in the open display looked decent, so we decided to try it out, and a "small world" that it is, it's owner Gökhan Tilkioğlu knows my brother-in-law from when he lived in Izmir in his youth! We found out from Gökhan that Noni'nin Meyhane is fairly new and not even a year-old and he manages the restaurant with his wife and daughter.
|me, my sister Meltem and brother-in-law Ibrahim|
|Fried Red Mullet at Noni'nin Meyhanesi|
So, with or without reservations, Noni'nin Meyhane is a nice spot to stop by for a quick (like what we did) or lingering meal away from the normal crowds on Kemalpaşa Street.
Kemalpaşa Caddesi No. 33 Alaçatı
GSM: (0533) 562 63 64
As you can see, I hit two "taverns" on my trip to Alaçatı and I went to this one twice!
35'lik Meyhane is on the other end of Kemalpaşa Street and once again on the "less crowded" side right next door to Sakızlıhan Boutique hotel. On July 24th, I made plans to get together with my dear friends the "Şahin" family. Didem is one of my best friends although we only met 1 1/2 years ago, her husband Selami is one of the most popular singers/composers in Turkey for over 30 years and I absolutely adore their 3 kids (two sons Lider and Emirhan and daughter Irem). We are neighbors in Istanbul and live in the same building. They too are major "Alaçatı lovers" and spend most of their summer vacation in Alaçatı and now are homeowners as well!
|35'lik Meyhane Garden|
|Kaşık Salatası (Spoon Salad)|
We also had dessert and although the picture might not look so great, it was delicious and the house special although unfortunately I can't remember the name! But it was made with sponge cake, vanilla frosting and topped with almonds, pistachios on a bed of raspberry sauce and some chocolate sauce. Talk about decadent!
|House special dessert at 35'lik Meyhane|
One final note, it is called "35'lik" because when you order rakı by the bottle, it comes in two sizes: the small bottle is 35 cl and the large 70 cl! So, you would say, give me a "35"er or "70"er!
Kemalpaşa Caddesi No. 110 Alaçatı
Tel: (0232) 716 07 97
In Part 2 of my blog post I had written about Fogo and Ferdi Baba and added 4 more restaurants because throughout my entire stay, I only ate out at 6 restaurants, some twice and on other evenings either had dinner at friends homes or a quick bite at my hotel, Alaçatı Kapari Hotel (if you haven't read my post on the hotel, I highly suggest you do if planning on visiting the area).
In my next post(s), I will give you info on several cafes I visited for snacks or cocktails, a couple of beaches and will also do another write up on Fogo.
And... since I had such a fantastic time in Alaçatı where I also made some new friends, I decided to re-visit Alaçatı in the latter part of August instead of going to Bodrum, so I'll probably discover and write about some new places then... keep following me!