Nestled on the Upper East side is Agora. The first and only Turkish restaurant I have ever had the privilege to try. As a first time experience, I feel I have been robbed from the amazing food I have been missing all these years. (Truthfully, I can’t think of a single Turkish restaurant in Toronto but that maybe my own fault).
Agora covers all the bases. Delivering great food, customer service and atmosphere.An additional nod must be given to the interior design -tastefully modern yet comfortable. Have I mentioned how clean this place is especially the bathroom facilities? I always check that. Very happy to give that a 5 out of 5.
Upon seating, they bring the most delicious bread and dip. Made in house, I loved the fluffy bread but honestly had to hold back from eating the entire thing.
The aroma was as heavenly as the flavours in the Lamb Adana. Ground lamb char grilled in an array of aromatic spices and red peppers. Served with an onion, cabbage slaw, grilled jalapeño and tomato and rice. The lamb itself was sitting on this thin glazed bread. I savoured every bite.
For dessert I had their baked rice pudding. Served in adorable terracota containers. This absolutely hit the spot. Smooth and not too sweet.
The first time and subsequently other times I’ve gone to this place. I’m always taken back by the oasis they’ve created in this space. Sure, there are other places that provide a nice respit in NYC but it’s always the way it’s done.
Although, they do have small Cuban inspired tapas for you to enjoy, their strength has consistently been with their cocktails. Whether you choose their giant sized punch bowls or single glass cocktails, I have to say, I’ve never had a bad drink here.
One of my favourite beverages is pictured. The Honey Badger is made worse th passionate, fruit, lime, jalapeño, lairds’s bonded appleJack and flor de Cana 4 year extra dry.
Dare of the day: House Zombie. El Dorado 151, Apppleton V/X, 3 year white, Barbancourt 4 year, Angostura, Absinthe, Maraschino, Passionfruit, Grapefruit, Lime, Orgeat and Cinnamon.
On weekends this place is packed but get there at an odd hour, after lunch say, mid afternoon. What you’ll find is nice venue to relax and enjoy yourself. By that I mean, grab one of their margarita’s (or in my case, three). Even if you aren’t hungry try their empanadas and tacos. I can’t get over how good they were.
My only disappointment is not being able to eat more. Seriously, I wanted more but I was ridiculously full.
Berkli sits on a busy corner of Delancey street in the lower east side. Popped in when the weather turned into a nasty downpour one evening.
Walking in, a couple things are clear. One, should I have brought my laptop so I can work on something? Two, they serve alcohol in this wi-fi enabled cafe.
Every place in mind has a shining star. For me, after visiting several times, it’s been their bread pudding served with vanilla ice cream. Of course, they have coffee and a myriad of savoury goods but this was a definite favourite.
Nestled among the fashionable boutiques on Mott Street is Cafe Gitane. A restaurant that extols an interesting combination of flavours: French, Moroccan and Arabic.
This was not what I would usually go for during brunch. However, it was a refreshing change. It’s a comfortable, less curated space than its neighbours.
Coming later in the afternoon after the usual breakfast rush makes it easy to snag a table at this usually busy spot.
Everything we had such great depths of flavour and just the perfect kick of spice. I had ordered the baked eggs with merguez sausages, basil, tomato sauce and cream. My friend ordered the most popular item: the baked eggs sandwich with merguez sausages, parmesan cheese, chipotle mayo on a french baguette. Either item are definite pleasers.
A nice extra are the chocolates that come with your coffee.
Even on a stormy winter day, you still have to wait for a table. That tells you this place is popular. We were told we would have to wait up to an hour and half but I find that to be a great technique to weed folks out. Instead, we came back in less than an hour and were seated immediately.
A server comes up to your party, takes your name and writes it on the wall. Efficient.
Sitting there, it definitely has a very quaint French vibe. Although, I can’t recall places in Paris this packed but I suppose it might be because a lot of Paris looks like this. Oh, the irony.
Despite the hoards of people constantly coming in, the servers are well-oiled professional machines. Promptly arriving at your table and giving you time if needed to order your morning brew.
When in Rome or in this case Paris, I ordered the classic croque monsieur. It indeed lived up to its melted gruyere cheese and classic ham goodness. The pickles paired so well with each bite. The savoury with the sour of the pickle. A heavenly combination I can still taste. Oh, be warned! This does get rather filling.
Equally as good, the croque madame. Similar to the above dish but comes with a sunny-side egg. So, if you like a bit more cholesterol to your dish, try that one.
The coffee was a wonderful compliment. I should have checked the roaster they used.
Was worth the wait? Yes.
Would I go there again? Absolutely.
5 stars for the service
3.5 stars for the tiny water closet but extra half point is for the architectural details.