One of the best new restaurants in the East Bay, Ephesus will charm on all fronts. It's highly styled but moderately priced ($30 a person), vegetarian-friendly yet superb with meat. The recipes are all overseen by the Goksover family's matriarch, Ufuk, and adhere to centuries of tradition, appealing to the anthropologically, if not aesthetically, astute set, yet radiate the simplicity and freshness of up-to-the-minute Californian cuisine. If you stick to the small-plates format -- cold dishes (bulgur salad with romaine leaves, roast eggplant salad) at first, followed by hot appetizers (warm dolmas, zucchini fritters stuffed with goat cheese) and then a selection of kebabs -- everyone will have to share. It's a good way to bring people together, just as long as they share their plates, not their politics.
Readers' Pick for Best Middle Eastern Food: La Mediterranée