We have some people here from out of town and am
considering Gus' Place (I was there in 1993, liked it,
but haven't been back since.) I've read on these
boards that it is still good. Am also considering
Artos (but wonder if it is on the side of nouvelle
Greek rather than classic Greek) Meltemi and Periyali
(which might be too expensive). Haven't been to any
of these 3. Any ideas or other suggestions?
Haven't been to the ones you mention, but I have been
several times to Molyvos, which is right next to
Carnegie Hall. Menu is pretty standard but extremely
well-executed, prices are moderate ($25-30/person with
drinks), and the atmosphere is laid-back, with helpful
and professional service. Reports say this place is
not as highbrow as Periyali, but more polished/New-
Yorkified than many of the popular places in Astoria.
Molyvos has fabulous mezze -- great tzaziki made with
sheep's milk yogurt, baked giant fava beans with
breadcrumbs and tons of garlic, little tiny
spanakopita, really good grilled baby octopus, a list
of six or seven ouzos from dry and spicy to sweet and
anise-y. Every entree I've tried has been really good
and really filling -- moussaka too rich for me, but
well made, grilled prawns (caution: with the heads on)
tender and incredibly flavorful. All the desserts
there are big enough to share, including an enormous
round baklava with pistachios and creamy but not-too-
sweet rice pudding. More interesting desserts include
mastic (a pine-y flavor) ice cream with fig sauce,
"spoon sweets", which are chunky preserves with
yogurt, and one I've not tried called "grape must
I've never had trouble getting a table there on short
notice, and it's in out-of-towner friendly midtown,
where your guests have probably been hanging anyway.
Thanks both of you for the advice. I went to Molyvos
last week for a $19.99 lunch. It was good, but it
wasn't a "wow" meal. It also has not got consistently
reliable reviews in this forum, so I would hesitate to
take them there. I'm leaning toward Gus' Place or
Periyali, but these people would probably balk at the
Periyali prices. What would you say it would cost for
There is a wonderful place on Barrow in the W. Village
called Ithaka. I have been there many times and had
Greek Easter dinner there which was superb. The have a
lovely garden in the back and there are one or two
tables outside in the front on a porch. It's a
beautiful neighborhood too. The food is really great
and pretty reasonable. It is just like a little greek
taverna. My in-laws are greek and they rave about the
food. Check it out.
I think it's sort of funny/coincidental that this
subject came up. I was just at Ithaka last night. Not
only is it one of my favorite Greek restaurants, but
it's one of my favorite restaurants overall.
I've been to Molyvos and to Periyali. I'm definitely
not disputing that they are great places. However, I
found Molyvos a little cavernous; it can get pretty
loud at times. Periyali, of course, has great food.
However, I can't shake the feeling that it's "Greek
food for Manhattanites".
For me, one of the clinchers is the grilled octopus
appetizer. Personally, I like Ithaka's better. It's
just a simple dish of grilled octopus on a bed of
shredded lettuce with olive oil, vinegar, & oregano.
(I think it's oregano.) Fresh, plain, simple, and damn
good. This is how I remember it from my trip to
Greece. Periyali marinates their version in red wine.
This may be the "official" version of this dish; I
find it just complicates it.
I think that's one reason why I love this place. It's
very uncomplicated. Everytime I go, I always feel
really relaxed. Sitting in the back room makes me feel
like I'm sitting in someone's backyard patio in
Greece. Sitting outside is nice too because the
restaurant is located on a really pretty block in the
West Village. The service is really friendly & good.
The food is really fresh. (Honestly though, this can
be said about Molyvos & Periyali as well.)
One thing that you may find off-putting: You have to
walk through the kitchen to get to the back seating
area. I've taken a lot of people here from many
different backgrounds, etc. & no one I know has been
bothered by it. However, I thought it fair to mention
it since it may bother some people. For me, it just
adds to that feeling of "homey-ness".
Appetizers go from $6.50 to $9.95
Salads: $4.50 to $9.95
Entrees: $14.95 to $44.95 (which is for a rack of lamb
Desserts: $3.00 to $7.00 (it's not a large selection)
It's on 48 Barrow Street...212-727-8886.
Hope you enjoy it as much as I do.
re: Josh Mittleman
I apologize. I should have made myself clearer. I
definitely don't mean it as a mark against Periyali's
food. I think it just depends what sort of mood I'm in.
For me, Periyali's food is a touch too refined if I'm
in the mood to just sit down and have a casual dinner
in the middle of the week or something.
So, "Greek food for Manhattanites" was definitely the
wrong thing to say. I don't consider myself an
authority on Greek food in the least, so I couldn't
say if it was authentic or not. I only have a two-week
trip to Greece to base my judgements. The place that
reminds me most of that trip (food & atmosphere-wise)
would be Ithaka.
I agree with everyone about Ithaka. It is excellent,
and consistently so. I recently took 2 friends from
L.A. there and they loved it. Does anyone hear
remember another Greek place, Agrotikon, on East 14th
Street? I was sorry to learn that it had closed. Odd,
considering that it seemed very popular. The
appetizers were the best things there, but often the
entrees were quite good, too.
Tried to get into Ithaka last night but had not
previously reserved and the garden was full (at 7
pm!.) They didn't have any A/C inside so we wound up
at Gus' Place. As we were leaving Ithaka there was a
couple sitting out front and they told us the food was
great. We will definitely try it the next time we
want Greek food and thank you to everyone for their
I recall Periyali and Molyvos being roughly comparable
in price. I found Periyali better, and would only
recommend Molyvos for location, e.g. if you want to
have dinner before the theater.
If you want good, simple Greek food at better prices, I
recommend Niko's, 2161 Broadway at 76th. They have a
lot more than Greek on their menu, but the Greek dishes
are what they do best. Stick to the mezzes and the
Molyvos is very nice (their A/C didn't seem to be working when I was there recently, but that just added to the authentic island atmosphere -- Molyvos is a town on Lesbos), but my favorite is still Periyali. Expensive, but worth it -- the best spanakopita I've had, in fact the mixed-appetizer plate always gets devoured more or less instantly, and an excellent wine list, not to mention a very pleasant physical space.