Longtime Palo Alto Italian restaurant Spalti has closed, and the owner is partnering with another local restauranteur to open a new concept: Smyrna, a Greek-Turkish restaurant.
Philliph Bulutogli opened Spalti at 417 S. California Ave. nearly three decades ago. Though the restaurant served Northern Italian food, Bulutogli is a Turkish-born Kurd. Bulutogli sold the restaurant in 2012 to Ayhan Akgul, who is also from Turkey.
Smyrna, a new Greek-Turkish restaurant, is now open on California Avenue in Palo Alto. Photo by Elena Kadvany.
Now, Akgul has teamed up with another native of Turkey and local restaurant owner, Zubi Duygu of Urfa Bistro in Los Altos, to open Smyrna this month, Duygu said. Urfa, which opened in downtown Los Altos in 2015, serves a primarily Turkish menu.
The new restaurant is named for an ancient Greek city, once the site of the Greco-Turkish War and now known in Turkey by a different name, Izmir. Smyrna's tagline is "Two cultures, one journey," Duygu said.
The Smyrna menu includes dishes such as grilled Turkish olives; spanakopita stuffed wtih feta, onion and spinach; grilled haloumi with beets and pistachiol; a whole branzino; and New Zealand lamb chops with chard, minted pin nuts and pomegranate molasses.