Monday, September 2, 2013


Dear readers,

It has been 8 days since I returned to Istanbul from my second and final summer vacation in Alaçatı/Çeşme! As I mentioned in one of my earlier posts, I totally enjoyed my nearly 3 week stay in July so much that I decided to return to Alaçatı in mid-August instead of going to Bodrum. And, during this trip, my good friend Nur came too and Luka stayed in Istanbul at his "big sister" Tuğba's house where he spent a lovely week with his doggie friends!

During this last visit, I went to Fogo every single night for the bar scene and had dinner there on two occasions. Like I mentioned in my previous posts on Fogo (for details, read the posts) - Fogo was my favorite spot for dining as well as for the lively bar scene!

However, I did get an opportunity to "discover" two new restaurants that I wanted to share with you! I did go to one other place, but to be quite frank, I was very disappointed although others have given the venue high marks (??), so I won't include this "disappointing, yet always full" restaurant because it definitely does not live up to my expectations!

Once again my two new "finds"are located in Alaçatı! Although I did visit the Çeşme peninsula, I can say that I spent the majority of my time in Alaçatı although I did visit some beaches in other parts, but when it came to wining and dining, I personally feel the best places are in Alaçatı!

The first newcomer is Just Meat... 

Although the restaurant is located on the highly populated Kemalpaşa Street, it is an oasis because you can still have a very comfortable and pleasurable meal without having to "share" your dining space with the throngs of people that walk up and down Kemalpaşa Street on any given night!

Just Meat/Alaçatı
Nur and I went to Just Meat on our first night in Alaçatı and had dinner with the owner Esra Özkan, who is a longtime friend of Nur's and someone I have gotten to know and enjoy the company of in the last few years. 

me with Esra Özkan, owner of Just Meat
Esra has been at this spot for many years and previously she had a restaurant called "Tipsy" and last year it was Biber Bar. However, with the changes in the laws regarding turning down the volume of music to a whisper after midnight, she decided to convert the bar to a restaurant and good that she did!

So, now it's time to talk about the food! After we sat down at our spacious table and chatted for awhile and ordered a bottle of Turkish red wine (the wine list includes a nice selection of local and international wines), we decided to start off with a cheese platter (30 TL) ...and between the presentation and delightful selections, we ended up eating everything on the plate! 

Cheese platter at Just Meat/Alaçatı
I realize the photo of the cheese platter can be seen in my picture with Esra, but I wanted you to see it up close and personal! I liked the fact that she included Wasa bread and a delectable chutney-like sauce she picked up from Chios Island in Greece (a 45-minute ferryboat ride from Çeşme).

Besides the menu items which include a few appetizers (i.e. cheese platter, deli platter, etc.), salads and main courses, from time to time the chef prepares a "daily special", and the special the night we were there was called "Kırgız Mantı" (Kyrgystan style ravioli) (20 TL) which was absolutely delicious and was fried mantı stuffed with minced meat and served with yogurt sauce and herbs - delicious!. It was so good, I could have eaten a second bowl on my own as we shared one portion with Nur!

Kyrgystan style ravioli at Just Meat
We were thoroughly enjoying the ambiance, music, good conversation, great food and the true test was coming up - the main course!

I love meat, but don't eat it as much as I used to, but do try to eat meat two times a week! And Just Meat has a good selection of meats and lamb at reasonable prices. 

Nur and I opted for the beef tenderloin... (52 TL)

Beef Tenderloin at Just Meat/Alaçatı
and Esra ordered Rib Eye Steak... (58 TL)

Rib Eye Steak at Just Meat/Alaçatı
I can honestly say that the Beef Tenderloin I had at Just Meat is the "best" I have had in ages!!!!! The quality of the meat was exceptional and cooked just the way I like it (medium) and I really didn't need a knife to cut it!

Just Meat opened this season and is located at No. 99 on Kemalpaşa Street and I highly suggest you try it for yourself if you are a meat lover - you will definitely not be disappointed! (Tel: (0232) 716 06 02) 
Just Meat/Alaçatı

Nur and I didn't make dinner plans for our last night in Alaçatı and decided to "try out luck" although it was a Saturday night and usually if you don't have a reservation, you are out of luck at dining at a known or "good" restaurant. We were lazy and hung out at our hotel's (Alaçatı Kapari Hotel - read my post on this wonderful hotel) pool and decided to "wing it" for the evening! 

So, we decided to try our luck at finding a place to eat in 
Hacımemiş Mahallesi. Once again, I wrote about this area in Alaçatı in my previous posts, so I don't want to repeat myself. But, just to recap... it is definitely an "up and coming area" with many very good restaurants and boutiques clustered in a 4-5 block radius.

We got to Hacımemiş around 7pm and started our search and stopped at Eflatun...

Eflatun looked like such a nice place and we decided to ask to look at the menu, but found out there wasn't one... we found out from the owner/chef Nalan Kocaoğlu that the restaurant opens around 8pm and that cold and hot appetizers and main courses are prepared daily, but change - hence no menu. The place looked so nice that we asked if there was a table available and we lucked out and made reservations for 8:30pm and got the last table as there was a cancellation.

I got back to Eflatun (which means purple, violet in Turkish) before Nur and ordered a glass of wine and got some scrumptious bread to tide me over until dinner - which I ate with no butter!

Nur came shortly thereafter and we went inside the restaurant to choose our cold appetizers from the open display...

Cold appetizer selections at Eflatun/Alaçatı
Everything look so good, but we limited ourselves and just ordered cold spicy köfte (Turkish style meatballs), fava bean spread, pastry stuffed with lor cheese, and stuffed squash blossoms. Each was priced at 10 TL/portion and sufficient for two people to share! Most importantly, the appetizers were absolutely delicious! 

For our hot appetizer, we ordered fried pastry stuffed with shrimp (forgot to take picture) and decided to share one main course: Robespierre ...

Robespierre at Eflatun
I'm so glad we decided to share our main course because it was huge (40 TL) and it was cooked to perfection! The meat was flavored with sage, garlic and rosemary; the arugula was so so fresh and the dish topped with quality Parmesan cheese. The shrimp pastry (20 TL) was also very very good and although fried, hadn't soaked up any oil.

After all this food, neither one of us had any room left for their homemade desserts, but they did sound awfully good and I'm sure they too would have been very good!

I was curious about the place and the chef/owner so I tried to have a short conversation with her as she ran around getting the dishes ready...

Nalan Kocaoğlu/owner and chef at Eflatun/Alaçatı
In short, Ms. Kocaoğlu opened Eflatun a couple of months ago in a lovely restored building in Hacımemiş and will be open year round as she has an indoor dining area. She is originally from Istanbul and used to be a partner at a restaurant called Peymane in Beyoğlu.

Indoor area at Eflatun/Alaçatı
I'm so disappointed that I discovered Eflatun on my last night in Alaçatı, otherwise I would have definitely made repeat visits to taste all the delectable dishes prepared at this lovely restaurant! (2012 Sokak No. 9 Hacımemiş, Alaçatı; Tel: (0232) 716 68 58; 

with my friend Nur at Eflatun/Alaçatı
However, Nur and I were still happy that we had the chance to have a great eal - with no reservations - our last night in Alaçatı and then parted ways to meet friends to cap off the night! I of course went to Fogo to hang out at the bar and say goodbye to some of my "new" friends that I made during my stay...

I had a lovely time in Alaçatı this past summer and can't wait to go back next year!

Stay well,