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,

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