Sun-Wed, noon-11:30pm; Thu, noon-2am; Fri-Sat, noon-5:30am
6 at Astor Pl.
2nd St. to 14th St., Ave. B to Broadway
With locations on St. Marks and Avenue B, Cafe Rakka stands out for its vibrant and well-seasoned Middle Eastern classics. Both spots are utilitarian, with little visual charm aside from some Ancient Egyptian-themed decorative plates and etchings on the walls. There are only a few tables; much of the business is in takeout and delivery. With nearly a dozen vegetarian appetizers from hummus, to grape leaves, to cracked wheat with lentils, the best strategy is a design-your-own combo platter. Falafel are freshly fried—crispy on the outside and moist within, and tinged green from parsley and cilantro. Both lamb and chicken shish kebabs are first-rate, too: The meats are well-marinated, dusted with spices, and deftly grilled. Finish with rich, froth-topped, cardamom-scented Turkish coffee.Recommended Dishes
Vegetarian combo platter, $8; shish kebab platter (lamb and chicken), $10