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Restaurants in Athens, Istanbul and Izmir

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Thanks to all who responded to our last post. We have done some further research and are thinking of the following restaurants in Athens, Istanbul and Izmir in August. We think these restaurants should all be open and are in order of our interest. We would appreciate any reactions.

Athens -- August 20 - 22: Gigikas & Mermikas in Plateia Papadia, Varoulko, Ola Ta Kala, Orizontes, Logia tis Ploris and Ta Kioupia. Only three nights, so which three? I think 48 The Restaurant , Alatsi and Kafenio will be closed then. Is Hydra in the Galazia Hytra worth the drive?

Istanbul -- August 23 - 25 and August 31 - September 1: Abracadabra, Borsa (which one Harbiye or Kandili?), Milka, Zubeyir and Otto. While Changa looked interesting, I think it will be closed when we are in Istanbul. Is Aqua in the Four Seasons worth it?

Izmir: August 28 -30: Topcu and Reci. These came from responses on Chowhound. Anyone have any other suggestions or further thoughts on these restaurants?

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  1. regarding the Istanbul picks: i would not miss a lunch at Ciya. look around at the older posts on this board and you will find some true believers. Abracadabra and Zubeyir are great choices. Otto ( assume you are talking about the one in Asmali Mescit and not at the contempo art museum) is a fun time in a great location, but in the end a mediocre pizza place. just across the street is a nice Turkish meyhane (more mellow by meyhane standards) called Sofyali 9. They have pretty good meze, etc. Might be worth it to reconsider. If you picked Ottto for the vibe, you'll get that at Sofyali 9 as well, particularly if you sit outside.
    Mikla is elegant, intimate, has a great view and the food is predictably good. but just good. and for the price, not worth it i am afraid. you will feel like you are eating in a hotel restaurant, but about 20 years behind the good hotel restaurants you may know.
    I have had some great meals at Cezayir lately (located at the top of french street also in Beyoglu). I swore i wouldnt go again after the chef who designed the menu left on bad terms but i've been pleasantly surprised lately. very creative spins on turkish classics. not afraid to take risks, unlike Mikla. the garden seating of this grand old 19th century building that used to be an Italian school is very unusual for istanbul. something to consider.
    i havent been to Aqua but the facilities at the new 4 seasons are fabulous. the spa is excellent and the views from the bar are great.
    Also, if possible, before dinner at Abracadabra, go to Banyan in Ortakoy for a drink. around 7.30 or 8 pm the sunset lights the Asian shore up pink unbelievably. Banyan's bar probably has the best view of this and a great bartender to boot.
    enjoy your trip!