The second part of our favorite restaurants in Alaçatı includes Alaçatı’s best and oldest dining spots, restaurants where you can try Aegean cuisine staples, Fish restaurants, and a little escape to Horasan, Çeşme.
ALAÇATI’S OLDEST AND BEST RESTAURANT
AGRILIA: 18 years ago, when there was no other place to go in Alaçatı, Agrilia was here. With the efforts of a real artist; namely Chef Melih Teksen, Agrilia has been one of the two places (the other is Taş Otel) that became pioneers of Alaçatı. Managing to maintain its spirit, taste, and attention, Agrilia has moved just across its original building into the lovely building & garden of Alavya Hotel on Kemal Paşa Street. The major highlight of Agrilia is its unique gourmet and experimental tastes. Melih Teksen, who has never left his kitchen, definitely the most creative chef I get to know to this day. He picks every ingredient he uses by himself and adds new tastes to the menu every year. His kekre vodka made with poppy flowers collected and specially prepared by him is now rediscovered after its first appearance in his Istanbul restaurant 12 years ago. Beetroot & pear & spinach salad, courgette & apricot & Siyez wheat & rocket salad, oriental salad with fennel, purslane salad with grapes, stuffed wine leaves with grilled sardines, homemade smoked beef, Kokoreç (grilled lamb intestines) with artichoke paste, calamari stew, fava bean puree with sweetbread, liver with grapefruit and sweet potato, Parma ham with fig, apple & turkey ragu tortelloni, risotto with quail, smoked beef & vodka tagliolini, artichoke & fennel fond pappardelle, Proscuitto mushroom ragout, herbs meatball, a smoked beef burger with pistachio, lamb cutlets, marinated or dry-aged lomo or bife ancho, chicken confit with Siyez wheat, profiterole and affogato are the gems of Agrilia. Agrilia is by far the most unique restaurant I’ve ever seen and experienced.
ASMA YAPRAĞI: Ayşe Nur Mıhçı is a true Alaçatı lover and volunteer. She loves cooking, which she’s very good at, and she shares what she makes with passion. She first started with renovating a small house in 2010, thinking of a place where the kitchen would be open throughout the year and people walking on the streets in Alaçatı would go and eat in a cozy guest room. Later on, she received such a big interest from the visitors that she expanded the restaurant adding the wonderful garden behind. In 2020 Asma Yaprağı has moved to Asma Yaprağı Tarla, which is a natural oasis in the middle of trees and orchard, 5 minutes away from Alaçatı town. In this paradise garden, you can taste their great Aegean cuisine for lunch and dinners. Each ingredient is grown locally and only seasonal vegetables and fruits are used. Zucchini sinkonta, çalkama (a kind of pancake with spinach and cheese), appetizers such as stuffed zucchini flowers, rice with artichoke and beans, baked lamb, meatballs with cinnamon, pumpkin-carrot dessert and brownie with beet are pleasurable must-tastes. Advance reservations are highly recommended since the garden fills up every night.
KAPARİ BAHÇE: Our beloved friends Banu and Haluk Maga, started welcoming their guests at Kapari Bahçe in 2014, where they serve their fantastic food from the Aegean cuisine. The couple restored the garden of the oldest mansion of Alaçatı. Once they put their hands on it, Alaçatı has gained a paradise-like garden, hence became one of the best restaurants in town. Banu started with clearing the debris of the mansion for the garden. Using the old stones of the mansion to built the garden walls and a veranda, she added spirit to the garden with beautiful flowers, antique objects, and lightning; and the 50-years-old olive trees in the garden contributed to the beautiful atmosphere. The menu offers tastes from both shores of Aegean sea such as; zucchini blossoms tempura, Cretan puree, saganaki with shrimps, baked Cretan zucchini, Greek moussaka, Hania pancake, panna cotta with mastic, traditional specialties such as zucchini with tomato sauce and yogurt, lamb liver leaves, amber with eggplant puree, pasta with artichoke, grandma’s meatballs, lamb dressed in yogurt and tomato sauce (a special dish called; kuzu küşleme). Pastrami on grilled eggplant, seafood linguini, and the Balkan desert ‘trilece’ are among our favorites of the menu. Kapari Bahçe also has a comprehensive cocktail menu that includes classics like Lynchburg lemonade as well as unique recipes like vodka with black mulberry and Satsuma. Reservation is highly recommended as Kapari has been fully booked since the day it opened its doors.
ROKA BAHÇE: Roka Bahçe is definitely Alaçatı’s hidden gem. The owner, Gökhan Safkan who devoted himself to Aegean cuisine, traveled all around the Aegean region to find the freshest and most refined products for Roka’s kitchen, and eventually decided to focus on Tire – all the herbs, meat and milk that is used in Roka come from Tire. Seafood cooked with Aegean herbs as well as meat specialties based on the family’s Bosnian traditions and appetizers inspired by San Sebastian’s famous tapas recipes is also served at the restaurant. Eggplant paste with sesame oil, mashed broad beans, warm eggplant with a special cheese from İzmir, grilled calamari stuffed with Aegean herbs, octopus casserole with cumin, special rice with seafood, stewed goosefish with calamari and shrimps are among our favorites in their comprehensive menu. For meat lovers, we’d recommend Tire meatballs served in a casserole, Bosnian meat smoked and dried in paper and stewed young goat meat cooked with region’s special herbs. The restaurant is located in a lovely courtyard, with tastefully selected objects hanged on stone walls, an old olive tree stands in the middle, a lemon tree in the corner and bougainvillea add colors to the peaceful ambiance.
PAPAZZ: If you are looking for an exquisite experience in Alaçatı where you can feel family-like hospitality, Papazz is the place to go. Sebla and Murat İleri decided to open the doors of their four generations old beautiful stone home to visitors as a restaurant after renovating it in 2016. Murat is the one behind everything coming out of the kitchen: fresh green salats, softly grilled baby calamari, fantastic grilled jumbo shrimps, stuffed cauliflower, dolma wrapped in a grape leaf, seared carrots in yogurt, marine cornice and many more meze, plus rice with artichoke, legendary tandoor or tasty meatballs as main dishes, finally desserts such as sesame paste baklava, “kazandibi” a milk pudding slightly burnt at the bottom of the creme caramel. All the sauces used in Papazz, from tomato sauces to pastes and mustards are also homemade. Murat’s wife Sebla takes care of the poetically cozy atmosphere of this place and runs the operation, taking care of the customers personally. In the summer months, their daughter Serra gives them a hand at the restaurant.
EFLATUN: Another good address for tasting wonderful, homemade Aegean dishes. Be warned though – if you look at today’s menu on the bar, you’ll want to try everything as they all sound delicious and -be warned again- they really are. Eflatun offers tasty side dishes such as mashed broad beans, stuffed vine leaves, eggplants with pepper and tomato, fried leaf beets, and stuffed zucchini flowers, as well as delicious spaghetti with seafood, roasted lamb, lamb backstrap and meatballs. While Nalan takes care of everything in the kitchen, her team welcomes you with cheerful hospitality. The modesty of Nalan herself, her team, and the place is well appreciated by Alaçatı visitors. Eflatun has been here before Hacı Memis became a popular destination, and the restaurant still welcomes its guests with the same modest attitude the staff managed to keep throughout the years. The only thing that has changed here is the constantly growing and evolving menu with the addition of new & delicious recipes every year.
FISH & SEAFOOD RESTAURANTS
KARINA ALAÇATI: Set in an old stone building hidden in the cobblestone streets of Alaçatı; Karina is a cozy restaurant serving seafood. Tables with white cloths, colorful pillows, freshly picked flowers and beautiful music that is played in the background create a peaceful atmosphere. The menu is composed of delicious dishes including Aegean herbs salad, pasta with seafood, shrimps baked in milk, octopus served with aubergine puree, and fish varieties such as sardines, mackerel and sea bass cooked with different methods.
FAHRİ’NİN YERİ: Fahri, which has been a classic address for seafood lovers for the past 15 years, was renovated in 2016 and became a much stylish place after the long years it was addressed as ‘down at heels’. Preserving its spirit as a ‘family business’, Fahri is still the most modest, comfortable, and friendly fish restaurant in Alaçatı, yet the quality of the food they offer increases every year. Salads prepared by fresh herbs, roasted eggplant, seabream, atom (strained yogurt with red hot peppers), fava (broad bean paste), roasted herbs, grilled octopus and the freshly caught fishes grilled by Fahri himself are among our favorites. It’s a delight to the eye to watch the sunset behind the colorful fishing boats in the fishing port, so be sure to spare an afternoon here.
A ÇEŞME ADDRESS: HORASAN: Horasan, in Çeşme Town, is one of our favorite ‘seafood’ places, and considered to be a classic now. The ‘masters of fish grilling’ Ahmet and Kezban Horasan couple, serve creative and delicious recipes in their garden under the lemon and bergamot trees in Çeşme. Our favorites in their ever-growing menu are Girit tapas with zucchini and walnut, grilled ‘sepet’ cheese (a type of cheese made from the mixture of goat, cow and sheep milk) shrimp tartar blended with avocado, strawberry, and hot red pepper, bonito sashimi, shrimp carpaccio, salmon pastrami, grilled sardine, crispy shrimps, seafood tagliatelle and San Sebastian style cheesecake. Reservations are recommended.
HOME COOKING IN ALAÇATI:
Avrasya Home Cooking: Avrasya is undoubtedly the first place that comes to mind when one talks about delicious home-cooked meals in Alaçatı. Opened 10 years ago by chef Mustafa Dumanlıdağ who brought his 28 years of cooking experience to Alaçatı from Malatya; Avrasya is a place where you can try the best examples of Turkish cuisine; offering a fantastic fusion of East Anatolian and Aegean recipes at reasonable prices. Aegean olive oil dishes, all prepared with fresh & local ingredients such as broad beans, artichokes, cowpeas, portulaca, stuffed vine-leaves, eggplants, green beans, blessed thistle, celery, leek and classical Anatolian recipes including aubergines with meat filling, stuffed green peppers, Turkish noodles, diced lamb dish fried on an iron plate, okra with lamb, cabbage stew with meat & chickpea are among the many options Avrasya has to offer. The restaurant also serves great meat dishes including traditional meatballs, roasted goat meat, local kebab options from Talaş, Gereli, Urfa, Saray, Çakır and Kafkas regions, classical Turkish wrap made with lamb meat (Adana dürüm) and lamb ribs.