Fuzzy sr4
New York | Ends Nov 11

Sakina’s Restaurant

From 14 critic and 40 member reviews
Members say: Entertaining, Great acting, Clever, Great writing, Funny

About the show

Actor, writer, and former correspondent for "The Daily Show" Aasif Mandvi  brings his vibrant, comic, and heartwarming one-man show back to the New York stage 20 years after its Obie-winning debut.


"Sakina’s Restaurant" centers on an Indian immigrant who comes to New York to work at a restaurant and live the American dream. 

Times Square Chronicles

“’Sakina’s Restaurant’ is full of heart...It is fresh, witty and has much to share...Senior breaks the fourth wall and allows us to really get to know each of these characters flaws and all. She brings out Mandvi’s sensitivity...With just a scarf, a tube dress, a hat, a coat, Mandvi blends in and out of each of these individuals, so that by the end of the play we feel as if we know each one...An important play as it shows Muslim life without the politically and socially ‘PC’ issues of today.” Full Review

The New York Times

"At its funniest, which is often also its most uncomfortable, it has gained a new resonance...Mandvi does not need much to segue from one character to another. Sometimes it’s a small accessory, but mostly he simply modifies his posture, slightly tweaks the way he speaks...'Sakina’s Restaurant' has acquired a new, somber underlining, making us miss a time when ignorance was paired with benign disinterest rather than hate." Full Review

The Hollywood Reporter

"It now feels both timely and dated...The characters deliver not so much monologues but rather dialogues in which we're privy only to their end of the conversation...The play features several amusing episodes...But the evening generally trades in more serious matters as it deals with issues of cultural dislocation and assimilation...The actor shifts effortlessly among the various characters...Senior stages the evening in impeccable fashion." Full Review

Diandra Reviews it All

“'Sakina’s Restaurant' beautifully and hilariously observes what happens to individuals when they feel they do not have a land to call their own. This wise, impactful observation sneaks up on you in-between physical comedy and brief, moral myths. No matter what, Aasif Mandvi magically uses his time, presence, and the stage as evidence that his talent goes beyond smart laughs; it weaves tales with enlightening, human commentary.” Full Review

Theatre is Easy

“Mandvi brings his funny, poignant and timely one-man show about Indian immigrants in NYC back...Although there are a few instances where it isn’t immediately apparent which character he has suddenly transformed into, Mandvi handles the transitions deftly, some characters feel more lived-in than others...’Sakina's Restaurant’ serves as a welcome antidote to the anti-immigrant vitriol coming out of the White House and cropping up across the country." Full Review

Off Off Online

“Senior engages the audience from the first beat of ‘Sakina’s Restaurant’....Azgi’s likability is a big part of the success of this play, in which Mandvi also portrays five other characters...His sensitivity and sincerity carry him seamlessly out of one character, into the next...A layer of cultural Indian references also helps infuse the production with exotic flavors, fragrances and humor...With eyes closed, you might not realize that ‘Sakina’s Restaurant’ is a solo performance.” Full Review


"Mandvi plays all of his characters with respect, affection and warm humor. While those of Indian descent will certainly catch on to more of his details, there's a universal familiarity to be appreciated in 'Sakina's Restaurant,' particularly for New Yorkers sharing the most culturally diverse spot on the planet." Full Review


“Although the solo-play has its humorous moments, it is far from lighthearted...Mandvi morphs from one character to another with quicksilver speed...There are plenty of laughs. But some of the most powerful moments are serious...Traditional Indian stories interspersed into the piece serve as the theatrical glue to hold the disparate scenes together...It no doubt had cultural significance when it was staged off Broadway two decades ago. But it has gained a new painful pertinence." Full Review


"The play...focuses on the personal rather than the political — and in that respect, it's barely aged at all...Mandvi is most convincing when playing characters furthest from him in age and gender...During the weaker monologues, the holes in Mandvi's solo approach appear...'Sakina's Restaurant' succeeds on its own terms...Mandvi and Senior have assembled a mountain of stories, characters, and dreams. Even though cracks show here and there, their work is still impressive when viewed as a whole." Full Review

Front Row Center

“There is a lot of yes, yes, yes as we empathize with these characters’ journeys. There is not, however, some specific element that ties them all together...Although Mandvi is a mercurial actor, sincere and possession a kind of innocence that you cannot fake, he never transcends the sadness of the material...He makes the cardinal error of repeating the lines of the unseen characters so that we can understand what is going on. This is a fantastically unnecessary element.” Full Review

The Wrap

"The Mumbai-born performer seamlessly transitions into a half dozen different characters before our eyes, giving each a unique posture and vocal inflection that summons their individual personalities...It’s tour-de-force acting...It’s a pity that Mandvi’s script...doesn’t quite match the depth and dramatic power of his performance...Since Mandvi’s confident performance smooths over many of the rough edges of his script, 'Sakina’s Restaurant' delivers a mostly satisfying meal." Full Review

AM New York

"With its sympathetic portrayal of immigrants as they adjust to a new life and face questions of cultural identity, the play takes on an extended significance...Mandvi displays ingenuity and agility as a character actor. But while one can certainly appreciate the play’s heart and endearing simplicity, 'Sakina’s Restaurant' feels rather underwhelming today...More like a collection of sentimental, broadly sketched monologues than a fully developed work in its own right." Full Review

Time Out New York

"Best enjoyed as a showcase for the actor...Through changes in gesture, inflection and accent, he switches characters at the drop of a scarf...As a playwright, however, Mandvi doesn't fare as well. 'Sakina's Restaurant is a succession of thin slices of life'...The play is more nostalgic than resonant: a bittersweet '90s period piece about a less xenophobic time, when the children of immigrants were more worried about things like arranged marriages than about forced separation and deportation." Full Review

New York Stage Review

"The name Sakina means tranquility, or calmness; and that’s what you’ll feel when you enter 'Sakina’s Restaurant,' thanks to genial narrator/author Aasif Mandvi...Though Mandvi returns to Azgi between characters, his portrayals of the Hakims—especially Farrida and Sakina—are the most insightful...They’re also disappointingly brief, especially compared with Mr. Hakim’s endless harangue...We get it—dad speeches are supposed to be long and repetitive. But only in real life." Full Review

Funny, Great acting, Intelligent, Entertaining, Timely

See it if you like Aasif Mandvi and are prepared to like him even more when you discover that he is not only a funny man but a talented actor-writer.

Don't see it if you don't like one-man shows in which the actor plays multiple characters of different genders

Funny, Great acting, Riveting, Great writing, Entertaining

See it if You want to see a magnificent performance in a one man multi character/gender play.

Don't see it if You’re dead set against one man shows

Great acting, Relevant, Resonant, Great writing, Entertaining

See it if you enjoy a great one-man show exploring themes of immigration. Aasif switches characters so seamlessly and with love it is a joy to watch.

Don't see it if you don't enjoy an intimate portrayal of life among those new to America and seeing the world through their eyes. Funny and touching.

Funny, Clever, Intelligent, Great writing, Entertaining

See it if You like storytelling and are interested in learning about values from other cultures and ways of life. Aasif is incredible.

Don't see it if A full cast play is more of what you are looking for.

Absorbing, Intelligent, Refreshing, Great writing, Entertaining

See it if you are a fan of the art of STORYTELLING and are interested in the topic of 2nd-generation immigrants' loss of cultural connection

Don't see it if you are not a fan of one-person shows

Also Anyone who think Mr Mandvi is just a standup comic is in for a surpris... Read more Read less

Thought-provoking, Relevant, Entertaining

See it if You love Aasif Mandvi and want to laugh, cry and learn about the Indian immigrant experience.

Don't see it if You dislike one man shows where the actor plays every part, regardless of gender. You find discussions about the immigrants boring.

Great acting, Relevant, Resonant, Slow, Entertaining

See it if you enjoy solo works with an enjoyable mix of humor, drama & pathos, on immigrant topics; you're a fan of the multitalented Aasif Mandvi.

Don't see it if you need a much faster pace and prefer an ensemble cast & formal sets/props. Some sketches seemed to go on longer than needed ...

Great acting, Intelligent, Thought-provoking, Resonant, Entertaining

See it if you want an inside glimpse into the lives of Indian immigrants as told by Aasif Mandvi as he transforms from one character into the next.

Don't see it if you don't care for one-person shows, prefer to have a plot rather than short (but connected) stories

Also Aasif Mandvi did a great job playing different characters and through ... Read more Read less

Funny, Absorbing, Great acting, Resonant, Great staging

See it if You enjoy one-man shows. Want to support POC theatre that examines the immigrant experience in the US.

Don't see it if You dislike one-man shows. Particularly ones wherein the actor, when portraying women, tends to create caricatures mores than characters.

Also In Britain, you never get away from the fact that you're a foreigner. ... Read more Read less

Cliched, Slow, Dated, Entertaining, Cool set

See it if you're a fan of Mandvi, like solo shows, remember the 6th St./Indian Row of the '90s (as I do); for a glimpse inside an immigrant family.

Don't see it if you're afraid the 20-year-old show may feel dated; solo-show tropes such as long one-sided conversations aren't your thing.

Also Mandvi is charming, but this show left me wanting.

Disappointing, Cliched, Insipid, Slow

See it if you're a fan of Mandvi or stand up slow stand up comedy.

Don't see it if you want to see something with a plot and not just comedy sketches. Zzzzzzzzz

Also This was an 85 min snoozer. Indubitably Mandvi does a great acting job... Read more Read less

Boring, Disappointing, Slow

See it if You are a fan of Mandvi and 1 person shows.

Don't see it if You want a story w/ a beginning middle & end. This is small snippets of different characters lives that not amount to a full story.

Also I enjoy 1 person shows but this format for this show did not work for ... Read more Read less

Funny, Absorbing, Great acting, Must see, Entertaining

See it if See if you want to be completely captivated, entertained, and have at least one belly laugh out loud and and lots of internal chuckles.

Don't see it if Don’t see if you need to see a linear story.

Also I never realized he was as talented as he is until I saw this show. Th... Read more Read less

Clever, Intelligent, Relevant, Confusing, Entertaining

See it if You enjoy 1-man shows with a talented actor. Universal themes with poignant moments about the assimilation of immigrants into American life.

Don't see it if You don't like 1-man shows and are not interested in the adaptation of others into our society.

During previews
Enchanting, Intelligent, Masterful, Profound, Relevant

See it if You want compelling, fascinating drama. This one-man show is a triumph of skilled performance and dedicated truth.

Don't see it if You prefer an ensemble piece.

During previews
Absorbing, Clever, Delightful, Enchanting, Entertaining

See it if If you appreciate heartfelt, emotion-driven journeys from an immigrant's perspective, this is a must see.

Don't see it if If you dislike moving, brilliant solo shows that feel populated by multiple characters..

During previews
Delightful, Great acting, Intelligent, Profound, Entertaining

See it if you want to see one of the best solo shows on stage today. It's hard to believe that this show was first done 20 years ago. Mandvi is great.

Don't see it if you do not like solo shows.

During previews
Absorbing, Great acting, Intense, Resonant, Great writing

See it if You enjoy well- written and acted one man shows with topical themes.

Don't see it if You’re looking for a light piece of fluff.

Also Assif Mandvi proves he’s not just a Daily Show comedian but that he ha... Read more Read less

During previews
Funny, Clever, Quirky, Great writing, Entertaining

See it if you want to see a great example of a fun and masterful one-person show

Don't see it if you want a musical

During previews
Clever, Delightful, Great acting, Great writing, Entertaining

See it if Aasif Mandvi tells a story of an Indian immigrant coming to US to work and live. One man show where he changes characters perfectly.

Don't see it if a one man show is not for you.

During previews
Excellent one-man show, Relevant even after 20 years, Great acting and character changes

See it if Aasif Mandvi tells a first-generation Indian immigrant’s story through the voices of a restaurant owner’s family undergoing assimilation.

Don't see it if You do not empathize with those who feel nostalgia for their country’s values while they are being overrun by contemporary American culture.

During previews
Great acting, Masterful, Must see, Great writing, Inspired

See it if You saw him on Jon Stewart and thought he was funny. You saw him in Brigadoon and thought he was sweet and vulnerable. Any reason at all!

Don't see it if One-man show. East-Indian dialects.

Also This show won Aasif Mondvi an Obie in it’s original production and he ... Read more Read less

During previews

See it if In the shoes of several members of an immigrant Indian Muslim community: culture clashes, struggle to connect in US & w/ India, racism, love

Don't see it if Cultural values that don't align with "American" western vales and the struggle to live with them aren't interesting to you.

Also Ticket from Goldstar.com for $27.50. Seat was 2 rows from the very bac... Read more Read less

During previews
Absorbing, Delightful, Great acting, Quirky

See it if you're open to a funny exploration of various aspects of the immigrant (and first generation) experience. A narrative voice seldom heard.

Don't see it if you're not an immigrant and aren't interested in their stories. You're looking for a straight narrative.

During previews
Great acting, Thought-provoking, Relevant, Entertaining, A little hard to follow at times

See it if You like intricate storytelling that is laid out one piece at a time till the whole picture comes into view. He handles each roll very well.

Don't see it if You don’t like one person shows or have a short attention span. This show is not long, 80 minutes, but if you lose the thread you’re lost.

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Good deals for specific dates
through 11/04


$69 Orchestra


Price includes a $2 facility fee. Limit 6 tickets per order. Not valid on previously purchased tickets. Subject to availability. Blackout dates may apply. Latecomers will be seated at the discretion of management.

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Good discounts, but availability varies
$20 - $69

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Cast & Creatives (7)