Dim lighting, lush fabrics and armfuls of fresh flowers make for alluring decor at this upscale Greek pioneer. Diners take their cues from the romantic environs, leaning in close for hushed tête-à-têtes while enjoying simple dishes that let fresh ingredients shine. An appetizer of grilled calamari is brushed with oregano-infused olive oil, and an entrée of tender braised rabbit is served in a tomato–red-wine sauce with sweet pearl onions. The creamy rice pudding is as subtle as Periyali’s other charms.
35 W 20th St
|Cross street:||between Fifth and Sixth Aves|
|Opening hours:||Mon–Thu noon–3pm, 5:30–11pm; Fri noon–3pm, 5:30–11:30pm; Sat 5:30–11:30pm; Sun 5–10pm|
|Transport:||Subway: F, V to 23rd St|
|Price:||Average main course: $23. AmEx, DC, MC, V|