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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

Turkish times two

Al Ozelci shows off his larger-than-life personality in the new Cafe Agora (photos by Becky Stein)

Al Ozelci shows off his larger-than-life personality in the new Cafe Agora (photos by Becky Stein)

In today’s paper, I take a look at Cafe Agora, which recently moved its Buckhead location to a much larger space just down the street.

It was a pleasure to reconnect with owner Al Ozelci, who is relishing the new spot, which has a bar, a covered patio, and a somewhat cramped parking lot. You may first encounter him as he directs you to a spot, talk to him as he makes the rounds, and then meet him again in the parking lot where he may rush you with a small piece of baklava to make sure you leave with a sweet taste in your mouth.

But I have to say the cooking seemed a bit more haphazard than it was in the previous location. For instance, the usually soul-satisfying maza platter of dips, spreads and salads was very heavy on the hummus, with only a tiny spoonful each of the carrot spread, kidney beans and fried eggplant. The kabobs were nicely seasoned but had spent too long on the grill and came out tough and juiceless. I hope it was an aberration, because I know how good this restaurant can be.

Mixed grill from Cafe Istanbul

Mixed grill from Cafe Istanbul

By contrast, Decatur’s Cafe Istanbul was better than ever, based on a recent visit.  The salads were plentiful and the meats were so juicy and crisp-edged from the grill that two of us polished off the mixed kabob platter down to the lettuce garnish.

But the upshot is this: I need to eat at both these restaurants far more often.

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- by John Kessler for the Food & More blog

2 comments Add your comment

Krystle

May 2nd, 2014
3:39 pm

Al’s act can get a little tiresome. At some point, you just want to eat your meal in peace.

Edward

May 3rd, 2014
8:33 am

I made a huge mistake by taking a Turkish friend (visiting me from Istanbul) to Cafe Istanbul in Decatur. I’m not even Turkish, but I could tell something just wasn’t right. The decor is Persian, not Turkish, but then the food isn’t really Turkish, either. What we did eat was terrible. My friend, though very gracious, told me he hoped there was better Turkish food in Atlanta.