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Bday dinner -- turkish?

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I'm trying to pick a fun and delicious place to go out with my family for my bday this Sunday.
We are all leaning more towards informal, fun atmosphere then real formal dinner. My parents mentioned how much they enjoyed small plates type food in Israel, so we would like something similar.
So far I am thinking of Mamlouk, Ali Baba, or some other turkish restaurant with lots of good dishes that can be shared during leasurely conversation.
Are there any good Israeli, Greek, Moroccan, middle-eastern restaurants that have similar style of food/dining?
Since it is a bday celebration a festive atmosphere is a plus.

Thank you!

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  1. I really enjoyed Sip Sak (midtown east). Great Turkish wine and delicious food.

    1. Pasha is a great Turkish restaurant on the UWS.

      Turkish Kitchen is also good. I think the entrees there are a bit weak, so I actually prefer to go with several others and order lots of appetizers to share. I would recommend it.

      1. Akdeniz on 46th between 5th and 6th is very good all the way around. Good food, good service, good atmosphere, good prices. I haven't been for dinner, but lunch is great. I'd imagine they do just as nice a job at dinner.

        1. Antique Garage on Mercer between Broome and Grand has Turkish food and a terrific atmosphere for a largish group. Their cocktails are awesome too.

          1. Sahara on 2nd and 28th is a great spot. It has a casual/cozy feel but the decor is also festive with low tables and mediterranean looking furniture. They have a great mezze sampler and I highler recommend the lamb iskander. Beyoglu is great too on the upper east side. I have been to Turkish Kitchen, Ali Baba, and Sip Sak and they are good but Beyoglu and Sahara are my new favorite gems.

            1. Turks & Frogs in Tribeca is the best Turkish in town - Pasha is also good but more formal / Ottoman style. Turkish Kitchen and Akdeniz are decent. In addition to better food, Turks & Frogs is a better casual atmosphere than all of these.

              1. Thank you for all your suggestions!
                Turks and Frogs and Pasha have some delicious sounding food -- is the food generally served/portioned for sharing?
                Akdeniz sounds good too (from menupages) but I believe it is closed on Sunday.
                Mamlouk would be an easy way out for us -- just enjoying prix-fixe dinner and just talking w/o having to decide on any food. That alone might mitigate any slight lack in authenticity. Any opinions on it recently?

                2 Replies
                1. re: olia

                  I really enjoyed my meal at Mamlouk a year ago. I definitely would like to go back.

                  1. re: eca

                    I've never been to Mamlouk but I have heard good things about it from a reliable source. Both Turks & Frogs and Pasha have mezes you can share as well as regular entrees. At Turks & Frogs it might be easier to just get a lot of mezes to split and skip the entrees b/c it's a more laid back place - Pasha is a little fancier and might not be too happy if you just order and split a bunch of mezes and skip entrees.