There is a new kid on the block in Avanos.
A big city restaurant without the big city prices.
Kapadokya Sofrası, with its upscale interior design and extensive menu, is a welcome addition to the Cappadocia restaurant scene.
I stopped by the Kapadokya Sofrası not knowing what to expect and was pleasantly surprised. The newly renovated restaurant looks sharp from the outside with signature Cappadocian “sarı taş” (yellow stone) construction, but I was taken by the inside. From the furniture, and the embossed copper “mangal” (barbecue grill), to the Ottoman motif, recessed, woodwork ceiling, and fireplace, the restaurant strikes you with an elegant impression. Naturally, when I looked at the menu, I expected to find “elegant” prices to go with the décor. But I was shocked to find the prices very reasonable.
Cappadocia native and Head Waiter, Erkan Çakır, takes serving seriously and expressed his opinion on the need for higher education to recognize the need for training. Erkan, from Ürgüp, has been in the restaurant business for twenty-two years, and he is discouraged that in tourism education diplomas are only given for chefs. Erkan is a professional waiter and is disturbed when people say “anybody can wait tables.” There is so much to learn he says about how and when to serve people, how to deal with complaints, how to meet and exceed customer expectations. He says waiting could be a department in University studies, just like Hotel Management or Food and Beverage Management. I complemented him on the great service he and his staff provided during my meal.
In addition to the quality wait staff is the wonderful kitchen team. I talked with Erkan about some of the dishes that I had not seen before. He said that because their restaurant offers a wood-burning oven, a barbecue, and a regular kitchen they can provide unique dishes. Apparently, Kapadokya Sofrası has hired two accomplished chefs: Yilmaz from Ürgüp in the kitchen and Ali Baba from Mersin on the grill. Besides several interesting appetizers, Yilmaz makes a creamy spinach chicken, a dish specific to this area called Erciyes kebap (shoestring potatoes, with a creamy garlic yogurt, steak and demiglaze sauce served in the shape of a volcano), and an Ottoman specialty called Paşa Bonfile Sarma (Rolled Sultan Steak – steak stuffed with cheese and pine nuts grilled on the mangal). Ali Baba prides himself on making his kebaps with meat prepared by a special knife called a “zırh” instead of using a grinder.
So what did I decide on? After looking at the starter plate, pide, and kebaps, I settled on beef güveç, a stew-like dish with garlic, onions, eggplant and mushrooms, baked in a clay dish. As I waited they served complimentary humus, haydari (a yogurt dish seasoned with mint), and ezmesi (a spicy, tomato dish, blended with garlic, onion, and parsley), with a steaming hot flat bread right out of their wood-burning oven. When the güveç arrived I thought the portion should have been bigger, but served with rice and vegetable garnish, it was filling. Add a bottle of water and my meal was 13TL.
I assumed by the size of the restaurant that they were doing group tourism. There is a large indoor and outdoor area that would cater well to the busloads of people coming to Cappadocia on organized tours. But Erkan surprised me when he said that the owners were set on being an “A la Carte” establishment, meaning they would not do a set menu for group tours. Incredulous I asked him “if an agent said he could bring in 100 busloads of people a year what would you do?” He said they would not accommodate. It is just too hard to prepare that much food, serve it all at the same time, and deal with all the complaints. Even though they may lose out on some money, Erkan and the owners are more concerned with leaving a positive taste in the mouth of each guest. They would like to gain a reputation from their customers who will go back to their home country and talk about the excellent meal they had in Cappadocia.
From my experience, that is exactly what happened! Whether you are a citizen or a foreign tourist you will enjoy Kapadokya Sofrası.
70. Caddesi Avanos (Across from the MOil gas station at the roundabout outside of Avanos by the Göreme road and Nevşehir Road.)
Owner: Serdar Özcan
*Like we did with Lale Pide and their Sultan Honey Bread, we have posted a video of the unique-to-this-area Erciyes Kebap!
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Cappadocia Restaurant: Kapadokya Sofrası – Avanos
There is a new kid on the block in Avanos.
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