Cafe Charm

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GG’s Bistro continues to impress with its welcoming hospitality and delicious Mediterranean fare.

By Micaela Myers | Photos by Jody Tiongco

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LBM_37_Dine_GGs Bistro_By Jody Tiongco-16It’s a sunny day, the beach is just across the street, and you’re sitting on the patio of GG’s Bistro under a big umbrella. Hande Gundogar, one of the owners, is warmly sharing her favorites from the extensive Italian-Mediterranean menu, and you’re wishing you could stay all day, munching from the meze platter and drinking ice cold Efes Turkish beer.

This was the scene on our recent visit to GG’s. Hande is one of four owners, who include her husband Bulent, his brother Ragip, and Ragip’s wife Franceska. The fact that GG’s is owned and run by a family makes it extra special. Their warmth and care for the quality comes through in every aspect of the restaurant.

GG’s recently celebrated its eighth anniversary in Laguna with a party for all and a facelift of the interior area, showcasing art and accessories from Turkey. The restaurant also introduced a gluten-free menu, complete with gluten-free pastas and pita bread.

For our meal, we started off with the meze platter, a favorite featuring a selection of borek (a fried and filled savory pastry), pilaki (Turkish meze), dolmas (stuffed grape leaves), feta cheese, eggplant salad, hummus and pita bread. This could be a meal in and of itself, and makes a great starter larger groups. GG’s salads contain fresh produce and complement the meze platter well. Salads can be topped with additions like shrimp, and as a vegetarian I enjoyed the spinach salad with strawberries, nuts and Gorgonzola cheese. My main course was the fettuccini Alfredo with mushrooms in a creamy garlic and Parmesan cheese sauce. I’m not normally a fettuccini Alfredo fan because I find it too rich, but this dish was perfect—flavorful without being heavy.

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Meat lovers will enjoy traditional favorites like kofte (minced lamb meatballs with herbs) and ali nazik—charbroiled, seasoned ground beef skewers served on eggplant puree with rice pilaf. Seafood is also abundant on GG’s menu. Try a generous serving of the grilled sea bass served with rice, spinach and rosemary red potatoes. For dessert, you can go traditional with natural Turkish ice cream (much less sugary than our American version) and baklava, or choose from the many other sweet selections like molten chocolate souffle, creme brulee or tiramisu.

There’s no doubt GG’s has good food, and that food is complemented by warm hospitality and inviting cafe charm. This winning recipe should ensure GG’s is around for many more anniversaries here in Laguna. LBM


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