I was so happy to discover a wildly new delicious Upper West Side restaurant that serves Turkish cuisine last week called LEYLA. My guest and I were intrigued by each and every dish and were really impressed by the level of detail in taste, originality, and authenticity, as well. We are both in love with Mediterranean food, so LEYLA spoke to both of us on a very deep and genuine level.
The restaurant itself is small and intimate, with a definite sense of Turkish influence in style and design with beautiful textiles. It’s colorful, comfortable, and very much feels loved by neighbors and its loyal customers. They come to eat the delicacies prepared by Chef Met Kaba, who I am now a huge fan of.
We were both a bit mesmerized by the menu, wanting to try everything on it. We started with Pide, flatbread, a gorgeous Greek Salad, and Muhammara (pomegranate molasses, walnut, olive oil). Everything was simply divine. Other options (for next time!) include Slow Cooked Short Rib, Lahmacun, Branzino Crudo, Sun-Dried Eggplant, and Quinoa Hummus Salad.
For our main dish, we shared the Raki Infused Branzino, the most scrumptious white fish with caramelized onion, pickled za’atar, and green olives. They also have Erishte (hand-cut Turkish pasta, cubed lamb, sumac, cumin, brown butter yogurt sauce), Frekeeh Risotto (asparagus, mushroom, string beans, zucchini, parmesan) and Lamb Shank (slow-cooked lamb shank with porcini orzo risotto). I don’t eat meat or chicken, but I’m sure it’s all fresh and yummy. Dessert was a gorgeous serving of Bread pudding and we were literally sad for the meal to end.
LEYLA also has a big focus on wines and cocktails. I adored my cocktail called the Botanist, gin, elderflower, lime, cucumber, and rosemary. They also have a garden dining area.
It was just one of those nights where my friend and I turned to each other and said, “Aren’t we lucky we live in NYC?” LEYLA is just that good. As foodies, one always likes to fall in love with new restaurants, and I can honestly say that we did.
LEYLA is located at 108 W 74th Street. Their phone # is 347.334.7939. Head here for more info: https://www.leylanyc.com
Disclosure: My meal was complimentary to facilitate this review and others.