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Amazing Turkish restaurants?

Hi, my husband is Turkish and his birthday is tomorrow. I want to take him to an amazing Turkish restaurant, preferably somewhere a little romantic, too. We've been to Ali Baba plenty of times and love it, but I'd like to take him somewhere different that he doesn't expect.... any suggestions? I have been reading reviews but want to hear first hand suggestions. Thanks so much!

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    1. I love Turkish Kitchen on 3rd Ave b/t 28th and 29th. I have found it to be superlative Turkish food. Try to get a table at the upstair balcony if you can, it's a little more romantic than downstairs, which can get a little loud and the tables are close together.

      11 Replies
      1. re: vinogirl212

        i second turkish kitchen. the food is outstanding but the service was really bad - just nasty w/ major mistakes. as bad as the service was, the food was so good that i'd go back. yes, it was that good.

          1. re: nativeNYer

            As regulars to this board know, we've been going to Turkish Kitchen for years. Countless lunches and dinners there, and the food is always excellent. We occasionally make an entire meal of the hot and cold mezzes. My particular favorites are the sigara boregi and the patlican salitasi. The shepherd's salad is also first-rate. And the lentil soup, available only during cold weather months, is delicious. For mains, my favorite is the grilled baby lamb chops, and my husband's is the lamb. We don't often have dessert, but when we do, I usually choose the stuffed dried apricots.

            I know there have been complaints about service, but we have never experienced any problems. Although the staff may not be the friendliest in town, we've always found service to be very efficient.

            The red decor is attractive, and they recently replaced the chairs that were slip-covered in red with new, more-comfortable black leather ones. And even when the place is full -- which is most of the time because it's extremely popular -- the noise level remains conversation-friendly.

            http://www.turkishkitchenny.com

            1. re: RGR

              RGR, after hearing you recommend Turkish Kitchen over and over, I finally got a chance to try it this weekend. It really was very good. We were lucky in that we got hungry early and were able to take advantage of the early bird dinner special (4 courses for $22, and the selection for the various courses is not at all skimpy). So thanks for the recommendation.

              1. re: platypus

                Just wanted to reply to link to a place...

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                Turkish Kitchen
                386 3rd Ave, New York, NY 10016

                1. re: platypus

                  Hey, platypus, Thanks for reporting back. Nice to know that your first experience at Turkish Kitchen was a good one.

              2. re: nativeNYer

                That's surprising....I've only been twice but both times the service was bend-over-backwards hospitable. Agreed that the food is delicious, on par with what I've had in Turkey but of course, at double the cost!

                1. re: vinogirl212

                  What food do you like there? When I went about a year and a half ago, I didn't understand what all the fuss was about. For the record, my service was fine, though I didn't see the point of all the sort of stylized formality, but the food was very blah.

                  1. re: Pan

                    Agreed...i went there once and didn't really understand why many people here like it so much...

                    1. re: Pan

                      Their manti is excellent--expensive, but worth it! Iskender kebab is outstanding, while it pains me knowing this is such a common cheap dish in Turkey, their version is really delicious. Hunkar begendi was actually better than what I had in Turkey, with exceptional eggplant puree, very smoky and buttery. It's been a long time so I can't remember the other dishes but those keep me dreaming of going back.

                    1. beyoglu on the ues is really good! they have a wonderful mezze platter.

                      2 Replies
                      1. re: shirlotta

                        FWIW - I think their mezze are much better than their main courses. Lovely outdoor patio.

                        1. re: shirlotta

                          Haven't tried a lot of the places mentioned here but am a big fan of Beyoglu! Spinach with dill is delicious.

                        2. Thanks to everyone for the helpful suggestions. Right now it is between Turkish Kitchen and Pasha. Leaning towards Turkish Kitchen though.... thanks again to all!

                          3 Replies
                          1. re: jessicacolak

                            FYI, I wasn't blown away with Pasha, either. I ate there as part of a table of 8 plus one baby a few months ago. Everything was fine and the ambiance is very nice, but few items were more than merely good.

                            1. re: Pan

                              i prefer turkish kitchen over pasha with regard to the food. pasha wasn't terrible but it doesn't draw me back even though i live right there. however, i have foodie friends who love pasha and i must honestly admit i'm not a turkish food expert by any stretch but neither are they.

                              there must be one or two bad servers in turkish kitchen which would explain the inconsistent service. we sat upstairs and were served by a tall man in his forties.

                              in response to simon and pan's posts, we tried the kalamar tava, sigara boregi and cacik. all choices were outstanding including the bread. the cacik was to die for. i had the doner kebab (YUMMMMMM!!!) and my friend had the bonfile sis which she loved. the quality of the meat was superb, the serving size was very large and even the potatoes that accompanied my friend's entree were great.

                              we also had a bottle of turkish wine. i wish i could remember the name but it was great even though the waiter brought it after the appetizers despiter several reminders

                              1. re: nativeNYer

                                I agree with Pan and nativeNYer, Pasha didn't strike me as anything special. The ambiance was nice but the food wasn't memorable.