Cafe Efendi Mediterranean Cuisine

I first met Hal Buran, owner of Café Efendi, 16 years ago. Along with his cousin Jim, Hal started a restaurant featuring Italian cuisine. Great food and a fantastic friendly atmosphere was the trademark of their restaurant back then called Rossa Italian in Woodstock.

Today, Hal continues the tradition that set him apart with Café Efendi, a Mediterranean Cuisine restaurant located in Alpharetta.

Cafe EfendiThe restaurant is truly an experience, as their slogan states. Your palate can feast on a variety of traditional meals that feature family recipes that Hal has kept over the years.

Cafe EfendiEggplant is one of my favorite vegetables, widely used in cooking, most notably as an important ingredient in dishes such as moussaka and ratatouille. Moussaka is prepared with sautéed eggplants, green peppers, tomatoes, onions, and minced meat. It is eaten with cacık and pilaf. There are also variants with zucchini, carrots and potatoes.

Ratatouille is usually served as a side dish, but may also be served as a meal on its own (accompanied by pasta, rice or bread). Tomatoes are a key ingredient, with garlic, onions, courgette (zucchini), aubergine (eggplant), bell peppers, marjoram and basil, or bay leaf and thyme, or a mix of green herbs like herbes de Provence.

Hal reminded me that if you want to know how many ways you can prepare eggplant, go to a Mediterranean restaurant. Lucky for me, the varieties served at Café Efendi are many and delicious.

Cafe Efendi Alpharetta Scoop OTPGuests can choose from a wide range of featured items, from Mangal (from the Grill) and Meze (appetizers) to traditional home cooking.  The fact that items are listed in Turkish adds to the ambiance that makes a visit to Café Efendi a treat.

When you are in the mood to try something new, take a ride to Alpharetta and visit Café Efendi, located at 488 North Main Street, Ste 112. They are open for lunch and dinner 7 days a week. On Saturdays and Sundays they serve a traditional Turkish breakfast until 2 pm.

The next time you want to treat yourself, your family or friends to hummus, Karni Yank, Kuzu Sote, Pirzola, or Roka salad, you should visit Café Efendi.

Scoop Note: They have hookah pipes, belly dancers on the weekend, a DJ with club dane music on weekend late night, and swing dancing with live jazz the first Wednesdays of the month.

Café Efendi 488 North Main Street, Ste 112. 770.360.8014

Catering available. Gluten free dishes available.

Julie Brennan is a resident of Canton and is the publisher of My Forsyth magazine. A self-proclaimed foodie, she enjoys trying new restaurants with friends. She may be reached at