International eating isn't a dangerous adventure through customs, where the customs officer asks you to open your bag, and you refuse, which prompts him to teach you about manners by reading select Goofus and Gallant comic strips. Snack on worldly fare without leaving the country with today's Groupon: for $12, you get $25 worth of Mediterranean and Turkish fare at Saray Restaurant, located at Packard's Corner in Allston. Saray Restaurant, which was featured in Boston magazine's Best of Boston in 2008, blends Mediterranean flavors with creative Ottoman and Turkish dishes, offering everything from tender kebabs to fresh seafood in a welcoming, café-style dining room. The herbivore-friendly menu features the veggie casserole, with zucchini, eggplant, peppers, and garlic cooked in a piquant tomato sauce ($12.95). Carnivorous cravers can partake in the adana kebab—char-grilled ground lamb blended with paprika ($13.95)—or wolf down the buhara kofte, with three juicy meatball morsels wrapped in eggplant, served with yogurt, and given diplomatic immunity ($14.95).
- The mousselike [sic] hummus at this miniscule Turkish joint sealed the deal: Halfway through the bowl, we'd used up every last scrap of the allotted sesame-topped pita bread and started digging in with spoons. – Boston
Plates of Turkish cuisine sail through the warmly lit dining room of Saray Restaurant, landing on tablecloths to dispatch kebabs, seafood, and vegetarian entrees straight to palates. The cozy den of Eastern delights has scooped up oodles of accolades with its sesame-flecked pita, including a spot on Boston magazine's Best of Boston 2008 list and praise from the Boston Globe, which called the restaurant "remarkable - and totally authentic."
Hot appetizers such as feta-spangled fried-zucchini pancakes and cold starters of stuffed grape leaves prime taste buds for Mediterranean feasts. Guests tuck into char-grilled striped bass and lamb-stuffed cabbage rolls during breaks between sword fights with kebab skewers dotted with chicken meatballs, lamb, vegetables, and cabbage. At the Boston University–area storefront, a false rooftop creates a village feel, and skillets hang invitingly behind a semicircular window.