Friday, June 19, 2009


As last night was S's last in Erbil, S, Mu and I decided to go for dinner at the "French" restaurant at the top of the "Sheraton" (quotations needed as the food is not really French and the Sheraton is not really a Sheraton), at the place where every evening, the same man croons songs like "Margaritaville" and "Leaving on a Jet Plane" in his distinctive scratchy, yet fortunately unobtrusive voice. Anyway, at the last moment when getting into the taxi, Mu changed the plan and instructed to driver to take us to Marina in Ankawa.

Although I read about Marina on "Gretta's" blog and had seen the massive signs around Ankawa, I had never been. In dry and dusty Erbil/Ankawa, I felt that "Marina" was a bit of an odd name for a restaurant, but my mind was open. We walked around the side of the reddish building with windows edged with contrasting white bricks, and finally entered a huge open space. The restaurant was huge... like a wedding hall. The lighting was dim, but the ceiling appeared to be a twilight painted sky complete with stars and the edges of the ceilings were lined with porch-like wooden beams with round little shingles at the edges where porch meets sky. In one corner, however, there was a raised section with sofas and the wall was like a country cabin (all made of small logs).

We sat down at our table in the sky section and proceeded to order. First came greens - marvelously arranged, but not as easy to eat as the lemon, huge radish and tomato had been left whole. We asked for more mint, dill and chilis, tabouleh, hummus (Gretta, you are right, it could be the best in Erbil/Ankawa), spinach pastries, spicy potatoes, greek salad and chicken wings... and all but the final two were good (Who puts mayonnaise in Greek salad?). The food was quite acceptable, the live Kurdish music (two groups of musicians taking turns - one more traditional and one slightly contemporary) was good... and the decor - definately a MUST SEE. I will try to take photos on my next visit: the sky, the porch, the log cabin and the at least 5 different competing types of lighting over in the bar area add to the interest (Erbil Light Showroom must have made a bundle on this place!).

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