Saturday, November 8, 2014

Lokanta Farina at Ormanada/Zekeriyaköy: For a Bit of Fresh Air & Delectable Delights!

Update: Unfortunately this lovely restaurant has closed. (October 2015)

Dear readers,

We all have our "comfort zones" and are "set in our ways" one way or the other let it be in our dining & entertainment habits, where we shop, where we live... etc. etc. 

Especially since I live in Istanbul and since we have a major traffic problem, I usually like to "stay closer to home" since I don't want to deal with sitting in traffic to get somewhere and then back home - specifically on the weekends!

However, a couple of weeks ago, I stepped out of my comfort zone to visit Lokanta Farina which is located in Zekeriyaköy at Ormanada, a brand new 44,000 square meter deluxe verdant residential complex with 188 villas and 81 row houses! 

Although it is only 18 km from where I live in Levent, I felt like I was in another city! And... the traffic was much lighter than I thought to get there! The surroundings were so expansive and green green green - something we miss living in a cosmopolitan city like Istanbul which has a population of about 13 million inhabitants! Yet again... I was still in Istanbul! What a breath of fresh air! 

I met Jale Balcı,  the owner and executive chef of Lokanta Farina in 2010 when I was invited to the launch of her 2nd cookbook titled "Antakya City & Cuisine" at Antiochia Restaurant (she is the co-owner with her brother) in Asmalımescit in the heart of the Pera District.  I had previously tasted Antiochian cuisine but I was totally mesmerized by the delectable delights I tasted that day and most importantly, all the recipes were in Jale's cookbook (it is separately available in Turkish and English and can be purchased from her website directly too)! Antakya, which is part of the Hatay region is located in Southern Turkey and borders Syria. Antakya's cuisine is renowned and the cuisine is more "Levantine" than Turkish cuisine.

Jale and I have been in touch on and off in the past 4 years and are "Instagram" and "Twitter" friends so when she started writing that she was opening a new restaurant I got very excited to see what was up her sleeve! After much planning and creating her menu, Lokanta Farina (lokanta means restaurant in Turkish and farina is the Italian word for flour) opened in late June, but with all the traveling I did in the last few months, I just had a chance to visit her new place on a sunny, yet cold and windy Sunday afternoon (October 19) with my sister Meltem, nephew Arman and good friend Müjgan for lunch.

It took us about half an hour to get to Zekeriyaköy from Levent and it was definitely worth the trip.

Lokanta Farina has indoor and outdoor seating areas, but it was a little to cool to sit outside, but she will be installing heaters to use her terrace throughout the winter.

The venue is not very big, but it is beautifully decorated in a minimalist style and I loved the different accents all around the space... you just know that there is a women's touch here - let it be the decor or the presentation of the dishes.

"Accents" at Lokanta Farina/Ormanada
Jale's motto is to serve "healthy, hearty, satisfying and tasty dishes" not only from Antiochian cuisine, but others as well.

With menu in hand, we started perusing the list and decided that it would be best to try a whole host of different dishes and except for the pancakes my nephew ordered, all the other dishes we selected were from Antiochian cuisine.

We tried not to eat too much homemade warm fresh bread with butter before our order came, but we weren't very successful! 

We started out by trying the "mini crostini" which was a selection of bite-sized Antiochian delights (humus, muhammara, ezme, etc.); "İçli Köfte" which is similar to the Arabic kibbeh (deep fried oval shaped balls of bulgur wheat stuffed with minced meat); falafel (no explanation needed) and whipped stracciatella cheese (an Italian cheese) on a bed of olive oil,topped with cubes of red bell peppers.    

We also had "Muhammara" (red pepper and walnut dish); "Kuru Dolma" (Sun-dried green peppers stuffed with minced meat); "Sliced tomato salad with cheese (topped with zahtar - a spice made with roasted sesame seeds and sumac) and "Köfte" (Turkish style meatballs) on a bed of cannelloni beans flavored with beets! Talk about original... who would have thought you can combine beets and beans - it was absolutely delicious!

Jale was busy running around, but she did get a chance to sit and chat with us for a while from time to time and I was thrilled for her because she is very hardworking and conscientious. She has created a very good and balanced menu at Lokanta Farina and of course, the dishes will change according to season and availability of fresh ingredients.
Me and Jale Balcı
Before I mention the desserts we had, I must say that everything we ate was absolutely delicious, very fresh and spiced just right! In fact, we did order seconds of some of the dishes! My nephew Arman is a typical teenager and a finicky eater, but he too absolutely loved a lot of the dishes we thought he wouldn't event taste!

Desserts are also prepared fresh daily by Jale and her team and we opted to try the Banana Meringue topped with plums while Arman had a cupcake!

We had a lovely afternoon at Jale's Lokanta Farina and made sure to pick up some homemade jam (I selected figs) on our way home. She also prepares all sorts of cookies, homemade lemonade and of course cupcakes and muffins which you can also take home! 

As you can see from the looks on our faces ... Meltem, Müjgan, Arman and I were totally satisfied and happy after the delectable meal we had!

Müjgan, me, Arman and Meltem (left to right)
I definitely plan on stepping out of my "comfort zone" more often and visit Lokanta Farina in the coming weeks and I recommend it to everyone who lives in Istanbul for a little getaway from the hustle and bustle of city life to enjoy the fresh air, verdant surroundings and excellent food!

Bon Appétit... Afiyet Olsun... and give my regards to Jale too!

Stay well,

Note: Lokanta Farina is open daily from 9:30am to midnight on weekdays and until 1:00am on weekends. Also, "theme" evenings on planned on a weekly basis (follow Lokanta Farina on tweeter or instagram for details). Tel: (0212) 801 0 777; - website only available in Turkish). Lokanta Farina also offers catering services for your social gatherings.  

Monday, September 29, 2014

Atelier Real Food: "Back to Basics" at The Ritz Carlton, Istanbul

Dear readers,

During the latter part of the first week of this month, I received an email from Yasemin Uygurmen who is the Director of Public Relations at The Ritz Carlton, Istanbul Hotel. Although we know each other for years and "keep in touch" via Instagram, too my total amazement, she reminded me in her email that the last time we got together was nearly two years ago when I attended an event called "Basta Bad Pasta" (you can read my blog post on this subject) where we were taught how to make homemade pasta at Çintemani Restaurant!

She was now writing to inform me that Atelier Real Food had just opened (soft opening) in place of Çintemani lunch and wanted to invite me to lunch on September 12th...
I was of course intrigued and happily accepted her invitation ... I was just getting over a 10-day bout with the flu & had been home bound too long and looked forward to trying something new and seeing old friends at the same time!

We were a small group - Yasemin, Max Zanardi General Manager of the Ritz Carlton Istanbul (and someone I've been friends with for over 15 years) and Ebru Eke, the Editor-in-Chief of the Turkish versions of La Cucina and Travel Magazines, also a good friend.

Atelier Real Food or the old Çintemani restaurant is located on the lobby level of the posh 5-star hotel which overlooks the magnificent Bosphorus strait. And, I was surprised at the major changes that were made to the space once occupied by Çintemani. In other words, the changes were much more than just a "name change"!

First, Çintemani used to cover a vast area of space next to the bar/lounge: now, the bar/lounge was expanded and the decor totally changed and the new Atelier Real Food Restaurant is separated with a partition, at the very end of the corridor and is much smaller and cozier with seating for about 50 people...

Atelier Real Food/The Ritz Carlton, Istanbul 
I admired the new minimalist and contemporary decor which I found out was designed by popular Portuguese architect Patricia Pina and that the furniture was designed and produced solely for the restaurant.

I especially loved the open kitchen! More and more restaurants are designing their venues with open kitchens and as a major "foodie" and amateur "cook", it's great and exciting to be able to observe the professionals in action!

Besides the standard elegant table settings affording a lovely view of the Bosphorus with huge almost floor to ceiling windows, there is a Chef's Table seating up to 12 with a very well-stocked wine cabinet adding to the elegant yet casual ambiance of the space.

After we all greeted each other... my first question was "what do you mean by 'real food'?".  Answer? "back to basics!"

Quite simply, 'real food' at Atelier is contemporary Mediterranean cuisine that is prepared with fresh, local and seasonal ingredients and that at an "Atelier", chefs create "unique special dishes". Also, "back to basics" means that heavy sauces, foams (creams, mousses, etc) and other "attractions" are also "no-nos". What a refreshing thought for a change! I was really getting tired of visiting restaurants where I couldn't even figure out what the food was from all the "additional" attractions! In fact, seasonings are also sparingly used not to mask the genuine taste of the food. 

So, before we got down to trying some of the dishes on the menu (which was still a "work-in-progress" and being finalized), we met Andre Piednoir, the French Executive Chef, who I also captured on camera while he was putting the final touches on our meals! 

Executive Chef Andre Piednoir @ Atelier Real Food/The Ritz Carlton, Istanbul
Executive Chef Piednoir has 27 years of experience in the Culinary world. Moreover, he traveled extensively through Turkey on his motorcycle to discover and explore the flavor and ingredients of our country. He has worked in 14 countries at hotel properties (The Ritz Carlton Portugal, Mandarin Hotel Bangkok, etc.), as well as a one year stint at Robert DeNiro's Tribeca Grill & Bar in NYC. Also, he was in executive positions at 3-Michelin star chef Joseph Rostang's restaurants. His real passion is pastry and he spent two years opening a pastry shop in France. So, you can say Chef Piednoir knows what he's doing!

So, we sat back and started enjoying some of the chef's dishes after he asked whether we preferred meat or fish and Ebru and I both opted for seafood!

We were all not served the same meal... so I'll start out by sharing the appetizer and main course I had...

My appetizer was grilled octopus served with greens and a vegetable salsa which was very good as the octopus was very fresh and cooked just right and not "chewy". For my main course, I was served sea bass cooked with potatoes and seasonings in an individual crock pot which was amazing! Of course, I needed a spoon to scoop up the juices!

Also, the homemade bread that you see in the background of the octopus dish is served on hot "Sile" stone purchased from the Anatolian region in Turkey, so your bread is constantly warm and delicious! And... if you would like to add salt or olive oil to your dish...

"Maldon" sea salt & extra virgin olive oil produced for Atelier Real Food
make sure to try the EVOO that has been exclusively produced for Atelier Real Food and the high quality "Maldon" brand of sea salt (also sold at Macrocenter in Turkey).

On the other hand Ebru Eke was served the following dishes (of course I tasted them too)

Her appetizer was sea bass tartar and grilled sea bass on a bed of risotto and both were very good too! The above picture also includes a "non" seafood dish and Chef Piednoir wanted us to also try the slow cooked (4,5 hrs) spareribs (prepared off the bone) which was also amazing & if it was on the bone, it would have fallen off because it was so moist and juicy.

Since Chef Piednoir is also an expert on pastries, no doubt the desserts we tried below were totally sinful, yet heavenly & simple!

I was able to choose my dessert and opted for the apple tart, but did also try the other two desserts - one prepared with figs and ice cream in a red wine sauce and the other which was the chef's version of "baklava" - also served with ice cream. Once again, the "back to basics" theme was in play and none of the desserts were masked with unnecessary ingredients which is why I believe they were so good! 

I must say... it was a pleasure meeting Chef Piednoir and it was great once again getting together with Max and Yasemin after a very long time! Ebru and I are friends and have attended many events together, so we were a very good group enjoying fantastic food in wonderful surroundings with good conversation that the 2,5 hours we spent together literally flew by!

me, Ebru Eke, Andre Piednoir, Max Zanardi, Yasemin Uygurmen (left to right)
Some final notes:

1) A winter garden will be opening the first week of October. Also offering a lovely view, it has floor heating and smoking is permitted.  

2) Open daily from 6:30 pm to 11:00 pm for dinner. Reservations are recommended. Tel: (0212) 334 41 88

3) Excellent wine menu with over 150 local and international wines. 

4) Atelier Real Food also has a traditional "French Rotisserie" and will be the highlight of the Sunday Brunch or aptly called "Sunday Roast" which will begin on October 19 at 11:30 am.

Thank you for inviting me Max and Yasemin and I'm sure I will be stopping by for dinner and/or "Sunday Roast" with my friends in the upcoming months!

Stay well,

Monday, August 11, 2014

Alaçatı 2014: Where I Ate: Casual & Cafe Style

Dear readers,

In my previous post about my trip to Alaçatı, I wrote about the fine dining restaurants I visited... I hope you had a chance to read it and more importantly, if visiting Alaçatı, I hope you get a chance to try these very good restaurants.

In this post, I will share the restaurants I went to that are more casual and moderately priced for your outings with your friends or family. Once again, all of these restaurants and cafes are in Alaçatı... for some reason, in the two weeks I was there, I didn't get a chance to venture out of Alaçatı to visit other restaurants in the Çeşme peninsula.

Happy dining and bon apetit!


Kaptan'ın Yeri
I must have passed in front of this restaurant (Sea Captain's Place in English) countless times on my trip to Alaçatı in the past 15 years, but this is the first time I tried it out! 

This modest seafood restaurant is always packed and has tables on both sides of the pedestrian walk that leads to Kemalpaşa Street... the popular pedestrian only street lined with street vendors, restaurants, cafes and boutiques.  

The prices are incredibly modest and the food extraordinarily good! Don't expect much on ambiance or excellent service, but you are definitely bound to have a good meal!

I went for dinner with my sister and brother-in-law and we started out with typical Turkish meze (appetizers) to include melon and white cheese (beyaz peynir), mixed Mediterranean greens salad and eggplant salad prepared with olive oil...

Next up, we ordered fish!

I ordered grilled sea bream (only 15 TL! ... okay it was farm fed, but I honestly couldn't tell the difference because it was cooked to perfection); my sister had fried sardines (12 TL) and my brother-in-law had fried red mullet (since this was fresh sea fish it was 50 TL) and we shared an order of the best fried calamari (20 TL) I had in a long time!

The restaurant only serves one brand of wine (in single serving bottle by a Turkish winemaker at 15 TL), beer and rakı and a selection of soft drinks. 

So, if you want to have a quick dinner (not a place for a long leisurely dinner), I can say this is a good choice... but be prepared to wait for a table as it is always packed and reservations are not accepted.


Kydonia, with a branch in Istanbul for the past several years (on the 2nd floor of Incirli Şaraphane), is a wonderful wonderful seafood restaurant at the Port Alaçatı Marina.

Located on the waters edge at the Marina, this spacious restaurant has the most incredible selection of scrumptious hot and cold meze, that we totally went to town and ordered an incredible amount of meze! 
Kydonia /Port Alaçatı Marina
I went to Kydonia with my friends Mehmet and Mark who live in NYC and who were visiting Alaçatı for the first time (and they loved it!) and two friends they met on this trip... and it was their last night in town before going back home!

First, we visited the expansive display that showcased over 30 types of cold meze! They all looked so good and we ordered a bunch of different Aegean style treats, but only one portion of each and decided to re-order if necessary (and it was). Then we ordered a few different kinds of hot appetizers at the suggestion of our waiter...

Unfortunately, I didn't take pictures of the food we ate only because there wasn't sufficient lighting and I don't like to post food photographs that are not as 'appetizing' to the eye as their tastes!

I cannot begin to tell you how much we ate, but we for some reason, we still had room to share one fish... a grilled red sea bream which was absolutely divine! And... maybe hard to believe, but we also ordered dessert and fresh fruit!

typical Turkish desserts at Kydonia 
Add to this 2 bottles of wine, extra wine by the glass and coffee... we paid 150 TL each (before tip!)... talk about a modest bill!

I highly recommend Kydonia and from now on, I will go there more often on my trips to Alaçatı... unfortunately until this visit, I hadn't gone in over 3 years! Talk about a major mistake!!!

Those familiar with Istanbul must have heard about a very popular restaurant called Banyan (Asian fusion) overlooking the Bosphorus in Ortaköy... Kydonia is also owned by the same group that owns Banyan. Besides these 2 popular spots, they also own Incirli Şaraphane and (see my post on this winehouse) and La Mancha Restaurant - all located in Istanbul.

I highly recommend a night out at Kydonia with your family or friends. You definitely won't be disappointed. The food, service and ambiance is excellent. I suggest you make reservations, especially on weekends. 

Tel: (0232) 716 07 65

Sailors Meydan (Square) is one of the most popular places in Alaçatı to go to for breakfast,all day casual dining or even for just drinks or beverages.

Sailors Meydan/Alaçatı
Located on a corner on Kemalpaşa Street, Sailors is also a boutique hotel. Tge cafe is usually full, but it is easier getting a spot under the awning away from the hit midday. I happen to be in town to visit a friend and stopped by for a quick lunch afterwards at around 2:30pm. 

I have been to Sailors many times and have tried the typical Turkish breakfast with all the fixings, but this was the first time I was ordering from their cafe menu. 

I'm skeptical about ordering salads at most cafes... I'm usually not happy with the quality of the greens, dressing or other ingredients used, but I took a risk and ordered a "Beef Tenderloin Salad"...

Beef Tenderloin Salad @ Sailors Meydan
and... it was excellent! Everything was just right! The greens and tomatoes were very fresh... the dressing just right (didn't have to add anything) and the beef tenderloin very tasty!

As I mentioned earlier, during the peak hours (early morning, late afternoon and evening) it's not easy getting a table at Sailors Meydan... so be prepared to wait for a table and I hope you like animals... because you might have to share your space with our friendly 4-legged friends! 

4-legged friends at Sailors Meydan
Kemalpaşa Caddesi No. 66 Alaçatı
Tel: (0232) 716 87 65


Surf Point/Taos Beach Cafe

This is one place I would not have "discovered" if it wasn't for my nephew Arman.

Nephew Arman, brother-in-law Ibrahim, me and sis Meltem (left to right)

Surf Point, as you might have gathered is a Windsurf School in Alaçatı and literally a 5 minute drive from my hotel and steps from the Port Alaçatı Marina as well.

My nephew loves all sorts of watersports and decided that after a 2 year-break he wanted to take up windsurfing again. So, we took him to the school to sign him up for a 2-week group class and at the same time, he took a class that very day with a private trainer to brush up before starting his classes.

So, while waiting for him, we sat at Taos Cafe on the waterfront. It was around lunchtime and we would hungry, so we asked to see the menu.

We were pleasantly surprised that the quality of the food was much better than we would have expected at such a "no frills" cafe at a windsurf school.

Taos Beach Cafe @ Surfpoint/Alaçatı
I ordered a grilled white cheese sandwich, while my sister, brother-in-law and nephew ordered fried sardines (forgot to take photo) followed by chocolate cake for my nephew... all were very very good and the prices very modest. 

A popular Turkish "street" food is stuffed mussels and you will notice street vendors like the person above selling these delectable delights at beaches throughout the Aegean and Mediterranean coasts. As if we didn't eat enough food, after tasting this vendor's delicacies, we decided to treat ourselves by ordering a couple of dozen!

Don't feel you need to be a "windsurfer" to visit Taos... you can also sunbathe on the chaises in front of the sea or take a dip in the crystal clear waters - of course, away from the windsurfers!

Taşköy Restaurant

This newcomer is located in the Hacımemiş District in Alaçatı and is right next door to the popular Taşköy pastry shop... both eateries, as well as Taşköy Hotel are owned and managed by my 2nd cousin Sevim Ertan! 

A retired MD, and as if her plate wasn't full enough with the hotel and pastry shop, Sevim took over the restaurant next door... changed the name and menu and got into the restaurant business this year!

I ate at Taşköy twice - first time with my sister and brother-in-law and really enjoyed the food and modest prices... we ordered a few appetizers and I ordered grill shrimp as my main course...

Then Sevim invited us to dinner where we had a little "family reunion" with my other 2nd cousin Ayla and her husband Metin....

Sevim Ertan, Metin, brother-in-law Ibrahim, sis Meltem, cousin Ayla & me (left to right)
We left the ordering to Sevim and after starting off with wine & cheese, our meal consisted of a variety of appetizers and main courses... and I'm not saying this because it's my cousin's place... but everything was delicious and the quality of the ingredients very very good!

appetizers @ Taşköy Restaurant

Main courses @ Taşköy Restaurant
I'm sure if you try Taşköy Restaurant, you will enjoy it as much as we did... we already sent some of our friends to try it out and they too enjoyed their evening in casual surroundings!

I recommend that you make reservations, especially on weekends...

GSM: (0532) 242 47 40

My next and final post on my trip to Alaçatı this year will be about the beach clubs I went too... but I won't be able to post this article for awhile as I'm off on another vacation! This time to Bodrum... another wonderful coastal town along the Aegean Sea ... and of course, I will also be sharing my recommendations on Bodrum with you as well!

Stay well,

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Alaçatı 2014: Where I Ate: Fine Dining Picks/Club 29; Kapari Bahçe & MaNCar

Dear readers,

"Alaçatı 2014: Where I Stayed" was Part 1 of a 3-part series I plan on posting about my trip to the lovely Aegean coastline in Turkey: specifically Alaçatı on the Çeşme Peninsula.

I was in Alaçatı for two weeks a couple of weeks ago & we pretty much dined out every evening... some to places I went to last year (please refer to my write-ups on dining places in 2013), so I do not want to write about them again. However, my favorite place for dining, wining, dancing and socializing last year was Fogo, but unfortunately... and I don't know why... this fine dining elegant, yet cozy eatery is no longer open. 

So, let's get to my list of places for a "fine dining" experience for you to try this year... and I will try to keep it short & sweet and use the pics to do the talking! The next post will be about the places I went to for casual and cafe style dining and I plan on posting my picks in a couple of days.

Happy dining and bon apetit! 

Club 29 Alaçatı

If you are an Istanbulite, then "Club 29" (Ulus 29 in Istanbul) is not a new name or brand, but it is new to Alaçatı!

Last year the ever popular posh fine dining Ulus 29 opened a "summer" branch in Göltürkbükü, Bodrum and this year decided to move the branch to Alaçatı and I'm happy they did!

Club 29 is located on the waterfront along the road that leads to the Port Alaçatı Marina (about 1 mile before), alongside the ultra deluxe Port Alaçatı residences.

It is an elegant bar/restaurant and open only in the evenings. After walking down a flight of stairs ad once you pass the expansive lounge/bar area....

... an area right by the water has been sectioned out for the restaurant...

I went to Club 29 for dinner with my sister and brother-in-law on a Monday night and most of the tables were full with diners.

The menu is quite extensive and includes favorites from Ulus 29's menu in Istanbul, but also includes many dishes from Italian and Thai cuisines. Prices are not cheap (especially for mains), but it is definitely worth it because our meal was excellent.

We opted to order a bunch of appetizers and pasta and share which was an excellent decision and...

we enjoyed our meal with a bottle of Büyülübağ Reserve (Cabernet Sauvignon) wine... we had Moules Marinieri (absolutely delicious,!); pasta with lobster; breasola with asparagus; beetroot & hellumi cheese salad; and the most outrageous gyoza shrimp dumplings! 

Loved the atmosphere... loved the food... loved the service... loved the music...just my kind of place for a fine dining experience!


Final note: the building in the background is under construction and will be a hotel opening next year... when it does, Club 29 plans on being open during the day time too. 

Reservations are a must! Tel: (0232) 716 03 03 

If the name sounds familiar, it should! Kapari Bahçe's property is owned by the owners of Kapari Alaçatı Hotel and the restaurant managed by Banu Maga and her husband (Banu is the owner of Bazen, a wonderful boutique with all sorts of name brand accessories, clothing and more and right next door).

Kapari Bahçe opened this year and last year at the same spot was a casual cafe with sandwiches, etc. managed by the Kapari Hotel, but this year it went through a major transformation and has quickly become a popular spot in the neighborhood of Hacımemiş for a fine dining experience in casual, yet elegant surroundings.

I had dinner at Kapari Bahçe twice and stopped by for cocktails in the late evening several times.

The menu includes a nice selection of hot/cold appetizers (Turkish & Greek style) and main courses and the restaurant's chef is Greek.

Among the appetizers, we tried the beetroot salad, Aegean greens with olive oil, grilled saganaki-mastello cheese; Horiatiki salad, etc... 

Among the mains, we tried the moussaka and "anneanne köfte" (grandma's meatballs). The moussaka on the 1st visit was better than on the second visit though.

The food was very good and prices for appetizers are between 15-35 TL and main courses between 28-52 TL. The restaurant's wine list is limited and includes selections from Turkish brands Suvla, Prodom and Urla... but does have an extensive choice of cocktails.

Me with Banu Maga 

Reservations are highly recommended and Kapari Bahçe is open only during the evening. Tel: (0232) 716 00 94


MaNCar (no, this is not a typo... this is how the eatery writes its name on their website) is also a newcomer and is located in a lovely spacious garden with an open kitchen and nice-sized bar. The chef is Spanish, the sous chef Italian and their is also a full-time Turkish chef. 

I visited MaNCar on my 2nd night in Alaçatı with my sister, brother-in-law, my two friends Mehmet & Mark from NYC and their two friends from the U.K. so we were a diverse group. We are all "foodies" one way or the other, so we all had our own opinion... but the general consensus was..."it's a lovely and elegant restaurant with wonderful service, great music, excellent presentation, but while some dishes were quite good, some others need some work"

We tried some of their appetizers...

to include shrimp w/special cream, almonds, pine nuts
rice noodles & flying fish caviar (excellent); grilled calamari (very good), baked seasonal vegetables with marinated anchovies & goat cheese (good - served cold, but I thought there were too much onions) and we were all served an "amouse bouche" which was cucumber juice topped with plain yogurt... interesting taste. 

For our mains...

we tried the sea bass (a little dry); duck breast (I definitely made a bad choice... it was tough and chewy... I know it is very difficult getting good duck in Turkey), but the highlight was the veal fillet - cooked to perfection and very very good.

We tried two desserts...

While the Moist Chocolate Cake with caramelized hazelnuts, banana ice cream and red fruit juice was enjoyed by all; the Almond Cake with cardamom foam, spicy caramel (I think this was the problem) and mastic ice cream was a different taste and not preferred as much.

About the wine list... it's very very good with a wide selection of Turkish wines by a number of wine producers at modest prices.

I believe that MaNCar is worth a visit and I'm looking forward to trying it again on my next visit to Alaçatı. I suggest you visit their website for detailed information:it also includes the menu and wine list. 

Reservations are highly recommended. Tel: (0232) 716 97 67;

Stay well,