ABA Turkish Restaurant


After a 2 hour walk through incredible Central Park it was time for lunch. It was about midday on Sunday . . just the 2nd day of our 8 day vacation staying in Manhattan, New York and we had no idea where to grab a nice lunch. My wife had her eyes on an Empanada place but It was closed ON SUNDAYS. That’s when I googled this Turkish restaurant with very good reviews and YEAH IT WAS OPEN ! We headed straight here and arrived at 12.10pm. Things looked pretty quiet but maybe New Yorkers eat late.

A friendly male server showed us to a table on their sidewalk patio ( I think it was a post covid built one ). I went inside to use the restroom at the rear of the restaurant and there wasn’t a soul in sight. Oh well hopefully the food is gonna be great ! My wife and I are very partial to Mediterranean cuisine so we were looking forward to our lunch. A youngish female server named Hulia came by to look after us. Within a few minutes Hulia brought us stem glasses of cool water and some fabulous complimentary Artisan Bread ( straight out of the oven ) . . so delicious ! We read through the real menus . . no pesty QR Code for the menu stuck on the table top. I asked Hulia what beer they had and her reply was EFES Pilsener ( a well known Turkish beer ).

I figured when in Rome do as the Romans do . . so I ordered one ! Even though we love Turkish restaurants we still needed Hulia’s help to decide our lunch choices. FIRST UP . . we wanted an appetizer and Hulia agreed with our choice of Spinach Borek ( Phyllo dough stuffed with spinach and feta cheese ). Now we used to really enjoy the delicious Doner Kebabs back in Australia where we used to live until Dec, 2006 ( almost the national food there ) and that’s what we felt like today.

We explained to Hulia exactly what we wanted . . a Lavash ( flatbread ) Wrap with all the usual kebab goodies inside. Hulia said they really only make Lavash Wraps or Doner Kebabs to go but in the end they agreed to make them for us. My wife wanted Chicken Breast in hers and I wanted the Ground Lamb & Beef. We wanted the usual ingredients plus Tabouli & Tzatziki. WHOO HOO . . our Lavash Wraps were going to be CUSTOM BUILT ! My ice cold bottle of EFES Pilsener ( stubbie back in OZ ) came out in a chilled EFES long stemmed glass courtesy of Hulia. Not my everyday or any day choice of beer but the elegant glass made it taste even better. In fact I loved the EFES long stemmed glass so much I wanted one for a New York memento.

I offered them $20 for one glass but the manager said no . . he wanted to keep his specially imported 24 glass set intact. FAIR ENOUGH ! Our Spinach Borek appetizer arrived and let me tell you . . it doesn’t get much better. OMG it was like a delicate pull apart huge dumpling that literally oozed Feta & Spinach. We sat and watched the busy New Yorkers rushing by as we waited for our Lavash Wraps. And then they arrived courtesy of Hulia all cosily wrapped up in aluminum foil but cut in half . . PERFECTION !

Lavash flatbread makes anything taste better but we had the best quality ingredients from their kitchen inside ours. Our fully loaded Lavash Wraps tasted HEAVENLY . . even better with my ice cold beer. As hungry as we were . . my wife and I could eat only half of our delicious lavash wraps ( we ate the other halves for dinner that evening and they were still great ). DESSERT BECKONED ! We asked Hulia for suggestions and she came up trumps. A small serve of Baklava Pistachio and one that Hulia wanted us to try . . Kunefe ( Shredded wheat and un-salted cheese baked & soaked in home made syrup . . served hot & topped with walnut ). And we enjoyed both of our desserts. WE LOVED OUR FABULOUS LUNCH HERE !


Restaurant Details


325 W 57th St. New York, NY 10019


(212) 969-1782

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About the Author

Picture of Michael Burke

Michael Burke

I'm an expat Aussie ( now a naturalized American citizen ) who moved to Southern California in 2006 with my American born wife Sherri. I like to write reviews about the most memorable restaurants, coffee shops, cafes, brew pubs and anything new that we find in our travels. I particularly look for excellent food & beverage consistency, good value for money plus friendly service.

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