Istanbul is the New Favorite City for Greek Restaurateurs


The Turkish newspaper “Hürriyet” has made a thorough report about Greeks that decide to invest in Turkey. Despite Greece’s economic recession, there are many investors who cash their money in restaurants or cafés in Istanbul.

The investors are Greeks but with origins from Asia Minor. The majority of them say that their transition to Istanbul was easy as they did not face any difficulties.

Rena Lialiou, who owns a boutique café in Istanbul named Kalimera Cihangir, along with Penelope Zacherakou, stated in Hürriyet Daily News that “everything, compared to Greece, is much more organized.” Lialiou has origins from Istanbul and Izmir from her mother’s side. She also said that she loves Istanbul as the locals made her feel at home and the only problem that she faces is the language but she manages to cope with it.

Another Greek who runs a restaurant in Istanbul is Dimitris Pantonis. He opened the restaurant in the prestigious Bosphorus neighborhood of Bebek only 15 days ago. He said to the newspaper that “as Istanbul and Athens look much alike, my previous experience in Athens will help me adopt better and faster. At the moment we are enjoying our time here in Istanbul.” He added that Turkey and Istanbul in particular with its fast economic growth, is a nice way out from Greece’s current situation.

On December 6, in the central neighborhood of Cihangir, another new Greek restaurant-café called Athina, was opened by Georgia Kotsari. Georgia Kotsari has roots from Turkey’s Black sea region. She stated in Hürriyet Daily News that “opening a Greek restaurant in Istanbul was a dream that came true for me and my husband.” She continued: “There are many Greek restaurants here in Istanbul but they are Greek only by name. Our restaurant has real Greek cuisine.” The only difficulty that she and her husband encountered was when it came to buying a house. “Being Greeks we faced some difficulties in buying a house, so we rented one” she explained.