accessAtlanta

City & State or ZIP Tonight, this weekend, May 5th...
City & State or ZIP
City & State or ZIP Tonight, this weekend, May 5th...
City & State or ZIP

30 Restaurants in 30 Days: Cafe Agora

IMG_7547Behold, friends, the best lunch in Buckhead. It is yours for about $7, tax and the generous tip you’ll want to leave for the good people at Cafe Agora.

Called the “mixed maza platter,” it is intended as a shareable appetizer, but I’m telling you to skip the (great looking) kebabs and gyros and eat up this plate of vegetarian Turkish yumboliciousness. It contains (clockwise from 12 o’clock):

  • Eggplant salad, bright and tomatoey, with peppers and lemon juice
  • Baba Ghanouj, prepared with an ideal balance of tahini smoothness and lemon-garlic tang
  • Potato salad, with a  tart sprinkling of purple sumac adding a tart foil to the waxy blandness of the red-skinned spuds
  • A stuffed grape leaf, bursting with and sweet, with mint, pine nuts and raisins
  • Piyaz, a bean salad that tastes like a far superior version of those pickled three-bean salads that used to be a salad bar staple
  • Ezme, char-broiled eggplant supplying the meaty flavor that makes all these veggies seem so substantial
  • Haydari, the Turkish answer to tzatziki, with walnut and dill
  • Tabouli, leaking its parsley-sweetened olive oil-lemon dressing onto the plate for all to share
  • Hummus, smooth and lemony, which starts to become almost like a plate sauce as you scoop up the goodies with piece after piece of soft, warm, pillowy pita bread.
  • Havuc Ezme (in the center), a roasted carrot spread with yogurt, dill and lemon. I always kick myself for not bringing a tub of this salad home.

With the bill comes a tiny bird’s nest pastry and a three-bite portion of rice pudding. With this gesture, you will experience a strong desire to hug everyone who works at the restaurant.

Cafe Agora will soon move to a larger space nearby. For now, it’s cramped and a little disorganized, and parking nearby isn’t the easiest proposition. Don’t let that stop you. You deserve $7 worth of pure food love.

- by John Kessler for the Food & More blog

17 comments Add your comment

suze

July 24th, 2013
11:42 am

Love Al and the food at Cafe Agora. Haven’t been in awhile. May be time for a repeat visit.

GaPeachy

July 24th, 2013
12:00 pm

I love the food at this place and the owner is a hoot! However I am very glad they are moving, the current location looks so old and not super clean because everything is so outdated, so this will be a great move for them.

Cody

July 24th, 2013
12:08 pm

Have never had a bad meal here….but don’t skip the gyro and adana kebabs….the both deserve some love as the best examples in the city….and yes the mixed maza platter(get extra pita) is a great deal….I always take one maza home after my gyro for healthy snack purposes

Roberta

July 24th, 2013
4:53 pm

Best Greek salad in town…..

Baltisraul....

July 24th, 2013
5:02 pm

Never knew of Agora, sounds like a must try.

jimmy

July 24th, 2013
5:33 pm

You can buy one skewer of kebab as a side for a few bucks. A nice addition to the maza.

John A

July 24th, 2013
5:35 pm

Another benefit of Cafe Agora is that it feels like you are at a streetside cafe in Turkey…and you don’t even have to pay Delta $2000 round trip to Istanbul. For dinner, I highly recommend the Mixed Grill platter. It is not especially cheap (maybe $15-16) but it is delicious. Wash it down with an Efes (turkish beer) and your experience is complete.

Art

July 24th, 2013
5:41 pm

Sounds like it may be worth a trip from the OTP. This is one of those places that doesn’t provide prices on it’s on-line menu. At $7 for the plate John describes, I can’t imagine that the prices are skyhigh but it sure would be nice to be able to know that ahead of time.

crackbaby

July 24th, 2013
6:30 pm

I’m so HUNGRY!
LOL

Post-it

July 24th, 2013
6:36 pm

Dang it. That was my secret place! Now it’s going to get even more crowded. Kidding of course. Al deserves all the recognition he can get. And his new space is going to be great.

Tom Bianco

July 24th, 2013
6:47 pm

If you are out late Friday or Saturday skip waffle house, go here instead, They are open till 3am!!!

SS

July 25th, 2013
11:37 am

They have a great little midtown location now too. At Peachtree and Peachtree Place (just one block from Peachtree and 10th). Al’s nephews run the place. They are super friendly and the food is great. I’m addicted. There at least twice a week for lunch.

Edward

July 25th, 2013
4:03 pm

I agree with Post-It, hope it doesn’t get bombarded by hipsters, now. I adore this place.

Benjamin

July 26th, 2013
4:27 pm

The midtown location is the bomb. Wonderful food, great staff.

Scjones

July 28th, 2013
9:47 am

No doubt this is one of the iconic Atlanta lunch spots. Check out my review
http://thedryrub.blogspot.com/2012/07/cafe-agora.html

Brad

July 28th, 2013
2:51 pm

Great food and the owner supplies the entertainment. Don’t expect a bill, he just rings up whatever he thinks it should cost, but never overcharges.