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Assorted dishes from Turkuaz Grill in Riverhead. (Photo credit: Victoria Caruso)

Perched on the Peconic River, Turkuaz Grill offers authentic Mediterranean cooking with breezy East End vibes

THE GIST: Turkuaz Grill is a cozy, family-run restaurant founded in 2009 by Turkish-born Mustafa Gulsen. This Riverhead staple is known for flavorful, reasonably priced Mediterranean cuisine in a homey atmosphere. 

THE VIBE: The restaurant, tucked away in a small white house behind downtown Riverhead’s main drag, is one of the North Fork’s best spots for casual waterfront dining. Strings of twinkling lights hang above white picnic tables, where patrons can dine alfresco along the river. Inside, dark wooden beams, a fireplace and ivy-wrapped windows with waterfront views offer a warm and inviting atmosphere. 

THE FOOD: At Turkuaz Grill, you’ll find a variety of authentic Mediterranean and Western Turkish cuisine. From well-seasoned kebabs and gyros to crispy falafel, swordfish and branzino, each dish is fresh, vibrant and flavorful, offering the quality and warmth of a home-cooked meal. 

Mixed cold appetizers: Why settle for one when you can try them all? This meze platter features a flavorful mosaic of house-made dips. Enjoy a creamy, garlicky shredded carrot salad with a mayo base, a spicy mashed vegetable dip made from minced tomatoes, peppers, and onions, a mashed eggplant salad with pepper, parsley, garlic, and olive oil, a tangy tabbouleh, a hearty green lentil salad, and of course, fresh and creamy hummus. Perfect for sharing around the table, it comes with warm pita bread on the side for dipping. 

Turkish cigars: This Turkish classic is the ultimate comfort food. Crispy phyllo dough is rolled with feta cheese and parsley, pan-fried to flaky, golden perfection and served warm with a side of yogurt sauce. 

Combo platter: Ideal for indecisive diners or those craving a little bit of everything. Take your pick from their array of kebabs, with options like chicken adana (hand chopped chicken seasoned with red bell peppers and paprika), lamb shish, doner (thin slices of marinated lamb cooked on a vertical rotisserie), kofte, vegetable and falafel. Each dish is served with a refreshing beet salad and a side of rice and tomato-based bulgur pilaf.

Baklava: Be sure to leave room for this popular Turkish dessert, made from delicate layers of flaky pastry filled with crushed pistachios and sweet honey, served with dollops of whipped cream. Enjoy it with a cup of traditional Turkish coffee or tea. 

The 411: Turkuaz Grill, 40 McDermott Ave., Riverhead, 631-591-1757

Tuesday through Saturday: noon to 9 p.m.


INSTAGRAM: @turkuazgrill