Gone are the days when Astoria, Queens, was the only redoubt for quality Greek cuisine. Today, from midtown to the East Village, New Yorkers can find excellent Hellenic fare in almost every neighborhood of NYC. From expense-account seafood restaurants to rustic, homey diners, these are the best Greek restaurants NYC has to offer.
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Best Greek restaurants in NYC
If flying to the Greek isles for lunch isn’t quite in the cards, this airy Midtown eatery is the next best thing. Seafood is king here: an interior mini-fish market displays the daily catches, which are flown in straight from the Mediterranean. End your meal on a sweet note: the goat’s milk yogurt with thyme honey is one of the finest examples in the city.
This beloved Astoria spot recently opened a second location in the East Village, which is only slightly less mobbed. Devoted fans order the enormous, simply-grilled fish – chose from over a dozen varieties—and pair it with traditional Greek sides like lemon potatoes or beets. For something a little more rib-sticking, order the addictively gooey, pan-seared Graviera cheese.
Pylos means “things of clay” and hundreds of said pots dangle over diners at this perpetually buzzy East Village joint. The décor is second only to the cuisine, which focuses on rustic Greek home cooking. The best example is the hearty moussaka, made with sautéed eggplant, zucchini and potatoes, and topped with rich meat sauce and creamy.
This charming West Village space has been churning out traditional and modern takes on Greek fare since 2003. The menu shines at brunch with innovative dishes like oatmeal “cappuccino:” made with steamed milk, sautéed bananas, apples and dried fruit. Oenophiles: take note of the wine list, which includes many Greek varietals that are hard to find elsewhere.
Helmed by star chef Michael Psilakis, this Astoria spot reinvents Greek classics with modern platings and ingredients. Family-style ordering is encouraged, due to the large number of mezze on the menu like the octopus with Mediterranean chickpea salad and the meatballs with olives and garlic. Save room for shareable entrees like Greek-style paella made with spicy lamb sausage, shellfish and orzo.
Run by personable chef Maria Loi, who was appointed the official ambassador of Greek gastronomy, this Midtown spot celebrates olive oil, yogurt and wine in all of their guises. Fish, like the Grecian porgy, are prepared simply with seasonal greens, lemon and olive oil. Sides include healthy choices like cauliflower in caramelized tomato sauce or braised giant beans.
You don’t feel like you’re in a concrete jungle when you step into this Midtown spot’s gorgeous flowered courtyard. The emphasis here is on fresh Greek seafood, with varieties like Barbounia, Lithrini, and Fagri all on offer. Round out your meal with one of many mezze, including a dizzying array of spreads like spiced feta or garlic and almond.
With the most extensive Greek wine list in the United States, this Midtown eatery is worth the trip just for a tipple. But, with a focus on hyper-local specialty Greek cheeses and honey, the food has been drawing crowds for decades. Don’t leave without trying the cannelloni, made with braised lamb shank and topped with aged Kefalotyri cheese sauce.