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Jan 25, 2009 07:49 AM

Mamara Turkish Cuisine, Manalapan NJ

Heading back home from a sporting event without a reservation, we decided to try Mamara, a place we have enjoyed but had not been to in over a year.
Arrived at 8:45, the place was full but the very gracious host was able to squeeze us in.
Upon sitting down a bowl of tasty nicoise olives and a large basket of warm pita triangles was given to us, the pita would soon be put to good use.

For starters we decided to share one cold and the other hot. Cold appetizer was hummus, a bowl of smooth mashed chick peas, lemon, olive oil and garlic. Very tasty and more than enough for two to share. All that pita came in handy :)
The hot appetizer was falafel, A mixture of broad beans and ground chick peas with herbs, lightly fried and served with tahini sauce. This was the only disappointment of the night as they were bland and could have used more herbs in the mix.
Also ordered the red lentil soup on the recommendation of our server. It was fantastic, one of the best soups I've had in some time. A thick hearty blend of lentils, herbs, spices and a nice smoky note.

Entrees were also winners. DW had the Chicken Kebab-Tender Chunks of white meat chicken marinated and char grilled. She ordered bulgur from the choice of starches. Expertly grilled and spiced she really enjoyed the dish.
I had the Chicken Chops-Thighs of chicken pounded and marinated then grilled. Tasty grill flavor while retaining the juices from the chicken. I ordered rice with this. Very good flavors and have lunch for today.

It was Saturday night and at about 9:30, the lights went low and a belly dancer came out and performed to music. We had fun and although the dancer was urging me to dance, I didn't want to push back relations with Turkey 50 years :)).
Great fun and several people did get up and dance.
Mamara has enlarged the restaurant since our last visit, there is now another room which can be used for dinner or parties. Last night there was a Middle East celebration of about 30 people in that room.
Nice value here as 2 apps, 1 soup and 2 entrees was $53.00 before tax and tip.
Its BYOB and we had a nice syrah with dinner. Here is the website if interested.

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  1. Thanks for the review on this place. I'm dying for Turkish or Greek food, and there seems to be not a single place near Hamilton to get those types of foods.

    2 Replies
    1. re: Citizen Rich

      Citizen, Mamara is certainly worth going to and not hard to get to from Hamilton. Get to 33 east in hightstown, turn onto Rt 9 north for about 4 miles and its in a small shopping center on the southbound side.
      If you go, lets us know how you like it.

    2. tom246- thanks for the review. we have been meaning to try this place, but the exterior of the building has always turned me off a little. how was the ambiance inside? were tables squeezed together or did you have your own elbow room? thanks

      2 Replies
      1. re: njchowgal

        Njchow, the ambiance inside is actually quite nice. There are a couple of levels to the room and the tables are spaced well apart from each other. I agree the building from the outside looks a bit strange but I think that is due to the entrance being on the side, not the front.
        The people (owner, host and server) are all very friendly and accomodating.

        1. re: tom246

          we tried mamara tonight for valentine's day. the food was solid, but the service was a little flighty. we ordered the cold sampler appetizer, the chicken mixed grill, and a chicken kabob. we especially enjoyed my entree, the chicken kabob with yogurt and butter sauce. the food portions were generous, so we will be enjoying the leftovers for lunch tomorrow. we'll return soon.

      2. They have the most AMAZING rice pilaf here!
        I get it to go all the time

        Wonderful Olives as well.

        1. Unfortunately this place has closed. I went last night with some friends only to find a very dark shopping center. Oh well...any other places around offer something similar?

          5 Replies
          1. re: annabelle82

            Ibby's downtown Freehold, but no waitress service. (Very good, though!)

            1. re: Angelina

              Oasis in Freehold on West Main across from Walmart.

              1. re: fatnut

                Thanks! Someone else recommended Oasis as well. I go to Dusal's all the time, next time I'm definitely stopping in there, too. There goes the diet.

            2. Matt,
              The phone numbers are not active. Will the restaurant be open on Sat 30 Jan because I would like to make a reservation? Will there be belly dancing?

              1. re: douglaskmiller

                We were there Saturday night and enjoyed it quite a bit. Very similar menu to the former Marmara. The new name is Kuzu, phone (732) 577-8825. The had belly dancing when we were there Saturday.