Best Mediterranean restaurants in NYC
You’ll find an impressive collection of fish packed into the ice bar at this stylish Hellenic haunt. Fruits of the sea include all manner of Mediterranean species (sargo, pageot and loup de mer), along with a range of tentacled delights. The preparation is classic Greek—all creatures are grilled, with olive oil, herbs, lemon and capers.
Though billed as “coastal Italian”—the place is named for Carbone’s Sicilian grandmother—the vibrant set-piece room reads more South Beach than southern Italy. Beneath candy-colored glass chandeliers, waiters bustle around the Renzo Piano–designed cube kitted in pastel polos and white Rod Laver kicks, weaving between potted palm trees to deliver painted ceramic plates of house-cured anchovies and porcelain pineapples brimming with tropical cocktails, as salsa horns blare overhead.
One of the city’s hipper Medi–Middle Eastern restaurants, this lusty space is a welcome oasis on the western fringes of midtown. Flickering candles, a tiled open kitchen and a working stone oven offer a nice backdrop to the piquant, Pan–Middle Eastern cuisine. Standards like tsatsiki and hummus are well executed, but more inventive dishes, like the savory pastry cigars filled with sweetbreads, oyster mushrooms, parsley, preserved lemon and harissa, are more interesting.
Keith McNally protégé Dean Jankelowitz (Schiller's, Pastis, Balthazar) is behind this morning-to-evening café. The 40-seat restaurant—sporting dark-green leather banquettes, brass railings and marble counters—serves homey fare, like Jankelowitz's grandmother's matzo ball soup made with duck fat, a skirt steak sandwich served alongside hand-cut fries, and piri-piri-hot-sauce-marinated chicken kebabs. In the morning, find Stumptown coffee, homemade croissants and full breakfast plates, including soft-boiled eggs with challah "soldiers" (strips).
The word balaboosta connotes an endearing Jewish type: The homemaker who possesses just the right touch in everything—a true domestic goddess. Israeli chef-owner Einat Admony—also of the falafel joint Taim and West Village spot Bar Bolonat—embodies that multiplicity. She’s well versed in the ingredients of India, Europe, South America and of course, her native Middle East, combining them in dishes—some great, most daring—at this Nolita venture.
Souvlaki GR offers a little taste of Mykonos in the heart of NYC. After an award-winning food truck and four years of continued success at its Lower East Side location, the Greek outlet expanded to midtown to continue providing New Yorkers with authentic souvlaki and other classic staples of Greek cuisine.
Philly dining titans Michael Solomonov and Steve Cook make a splashy entrance to the scene with an expanded, 18-seat outpost of their house-made–hummus stall Dizengoff in Chelsea Market. As with the original, hummus and salads are offered for takeout by the pint, and fresh pita breads are boxed by the half and full dozen. New York exclusives include larger composed offerings such as a North African shakshuka (eggs poached in a spicy stew of tomatoes and peppers) and salatim, or Israel-style salads (Moroccan carrots with saffron, raw kohlrabi marinated in Yemen's hot-sauce-like schug).
Timna takes its name from a region in Israel – the Timna Valley – that was once a destination on the ancient spice road. And the inspiration for the menu comes from the cultural and culinary history of the Mediterranean, as well as the ever-evolving food culture in New York City. Timna truly blends old-world tastes with a fresh, experimental approach to cuisine. This melding of the classic with the modern is also evident in Timna’s unique, handcrafted design (Asa Barak Studio INC.).
Ilili chooses an accessible entry point to haute Lebanese: an elegant take on the familiar. The falafel, for instance, has a crisp crust as manicured as a suburban lawn, topped by a dainty cylinder of chopped tomato; humble pita bread, instead of being just an afterthought, is unusually light, like an Indian puri; a beautiful chankleech cheese-and-tomato salad is chopped fine with scallions, thyme and oregano.
A Mediterranean breeze wafts onto the Lower East Side courtesy of this 3,500-square-foot coastal newcomer from nightlife-hospitality pros Corey Lane and Roberto Buchelli inside Hotel on Rivington. Helmed by Vai chef-owner Vincent Chirico, the kitchen turns out modern-Medi plates like summer peaches with burrata and speck, roasted king-oyster mushrooms with white polenta and a soft egg, and a whole American snapper with niçoise olives and leeks. The skylit dining room features an eight-seat crudo station, with options like fluke ceviche and hamachi with preserved ginger.