On 93rd and Third Avenue there is a place that takes you away from the hustle and bustle of the city and lets you nosh on delicious food while there. Marmara is the place, and a variety of tasty Turkish cuisine is what you will get.

[Appetizer Platter]

Named after a region in Turkey where the sea separates Istanbul into its European and Asian sides
, Marmara certainly takes you there upon entry-- I was taken away by the seaside murals and elegant ivory columns. Turkish music plays lightly in the background as you walk in and notice the local crowd and Turkish customers who come for a taste of home. The exposed brick and brick oven to the rear casting a warm glow adds to the pleasant vibe.

The restaurant's motto, "Taste and Friendship" rings true; the staff is friendly and natural, and Bora Can, the owner, took time to talk about his restaurant while attending to all his customers. He constantly greeted friends and patrons with a handshake and a smile.

Bora explained that he opened Marmara with two friends in April. They all share Turkish heritage and background in the restaurant industry, and decided to open a place together. Not only do they offer authentic Turkish fare, but a variety of options for vegetarians. Not to mention a lovely wine and dessert menu!

[Dining Room]

Upon being seated, we were given a crisp, cold Pinot Grigio and soft, warm pita bread with yogurt sauce and hot sauce. Cool and savory-- yum! After we noshed on an appetizer platter with all the traditional trimmings: Hummus, Eggplant with Tomato Sauce, Stuffed Grape Leaves, Lebni (homemade yogurt with garlic and dill), Cacik (cucumbers blended with yogurt, dill and mint), and Barbuna Pilaki (Turkish red beans tossed with olive oil, potatoes, carrots and tomatoes).

Barely managing to save room for the entree, we feasted upon a kebab platter. The meat and lamb were savory, and the chicken was particularly tender and juicy. Paired with a parsley salad and warm Turkish red wine full of body, we could not complain. If possible, it got better with dessert. Let me tell you, I love sweets, but this place did wonders with the Kazandibi, traditional Turkish flan and Kunefe, a traditional dessert made of shredded dough and unsalted cheese baked in the oven and served with Turkish syrup after coming out of the oven. Mhmm, soft warm deliciousness and cool creamy flan. This girl was happy to say the least!

Take a trip to the UES to Marmara, it's definitely worth it. Be sure to stop by in September for the FREE dessert in honor of Turkey's historical battle against Greece in 1922. They'll even offer a free demonstration to show you how easy it is to bring Kazandibi into your kitchen!

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