Quick Bite

At Alev Mediterranean Grill, Dishes Steeped in Family History

The Rockaway restaurant features recipes passed down by manager Tulin Cagatay’s grandparents.

Style

A blink-and-you’ll-miss-it spot on a busy highway, this cozy eatery serves authentic Turkish and Mediterranean dishes. Decor is minimal, but the back wall does feature a framed blue-and-gold embroidered chapan, or coat, common in Central Asia.

The scoop

Alev, a family-run business, opened in 2018. Manager Tulin Cagatay says the aim is to recreate the dishes her family grew up eating in Istanbul. Most of the recipes were passed down by her grandparents.

The menu

Start with a Mediterranean classic, stuffed grape leaves, or falafel (right). For an entrée, try the chicken kofte, which are ground chicken patties made with a blend of lively spices and herbs. For dessert, Cagatay recommends the baklava, which comes as two small, crunchy cakes, with a drizzle of honey syrup on top and crushed pistachios pressed into all four sides.

Heads up

Iskender is a “secret” menu item, popular among regulars. The dish consists of pita topped with yogurt, gyro meat and a tomato-based sauce. The staff can substitute a different meat on request.

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What's a Quick Bite? Short takes on casual, affordable dining.

Restaurant Details

  • Cuisine Type:
    Greek/Mediterranean - Turkish
  • Price Range:
    Moderate