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Greek restaurants

d
debbie Jul 21, 1999 01:18 PM

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?

  1. s
    steve d. Jul 21, 1999 02:35 PM

    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.

    1. m
      MU Jul 21, 1999 02:29 PM

      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
      pudding".

      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.

      21 Replies
      1. re: MU
        d
        debbie Jul 21, 1999 03:09 PM

        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
        meal?

        1. re: debbie
          s
          steve d. Jul 21, 1999 04:22 PM

          With wine, I'm afraid you're looking at at least $50 a person. But maybe if they aren't great drinkers and there are enough of you to get several appetizers and split a couple of entrees, you can hold the price down. It really is good.

          1. re: steve d.
            d
            debbie Jul 21, 1999 07:56 PM

            Thanks for the info. I think it's too expensive for
            them, but will save Periyali for another time. It
            sounds great.

            1. re: debbie
              j
              Jo Jul 21, 1999 08:39 PM

              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.

              1. re: Jo
                d
                debbie Jul 21, 1999 09:50 PM

                Thanks for the suggestion. I read your posting from
                April and it really does sound good. It's also a nice
                neighborhood. What's the price range?

                1. re: Jo
                  j
                  Jating Jul 22, 1999 10:43 AM

                  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
                  for 2)
                  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.

                  1. re: Jating
                    j
                    Josh Mittleman Jul 22, 1999 03:09 PM

                    What does"Greek for Manhattanites" mean? It seems you
                    see that as a mark against Periyali, so I would like to
                    understand your criticism. Do you mean too complex?
                    Too refined? Untraditional?

                    1. re: Josh Mittleman
                      j
                      Jating Jul 26, 1999 11:50 AM

                      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.

                      1. re: Jating
                        j
                        Josh Mittleman Jul 26, 1999 05:01 PM

                        OK, I'll agree with that judgement: Periyali is
                        definitely gourmet Greek, not down-home, everyday
                        cooking.

                    2. re: Jating
                      r
                      Rachel Hope Jul 22, 1999 04:16 PM

                      I have to disagree. I ate at Ithaka once (about a
                      year ago) and I thought the food was really mediocre
                      to lousy: and I was at a table of eight, so I saw a
                      sampling of dishes. Was I just there on an off night
                      or have others had this experience?

                      1. re: Rachel Hope
                        s
                        Stelios Aug 29, 2001 03:42 PM

                        I happen to be Greek and love Greek food. Ithaka is my favourite in the City and S'Agapo in Astoria.
                        It may have been an 'off' night.

                      2. re: Jating
                        n
                        Neumeier Jul 22, 1999 08:00 PM

                        I've never had a bad meal at Ithaka- the food is great,
                        and the atmosphere is very homey. It has good
                        acoustics, too. You and your party can be pretty loud
                        without being intrusive.

                        I love the braised cuttlefish and pasta dish, and their
                        taramosalata. And everything else.

                        1. re: Neumeier
                          g
                          Giorgio Jul 25, 1999 05:59 PM

                          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.

                          1. re: Giorgio
                            m
                            MU Jul 26, 1999 07:55 AM

                            Agrotikon was great, although they did practice the
                            "sales technique" of leaving bottles of wine on your
                            table assuming you would open one. I think another
                            Greek restaurant is opening in its place. Maybe the
                            same owners?

                        2. re: Jating
                          d
                          debbie Jul 23, 1999 08:37 AM

                          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
                          information.

                    3. re: steve d.
                      c
                      c hef Jul 21, 1999 07:57 PM

                      hands down trata 2nd ave 72 st ask for stavros,worked
                      at pariyali,chef is from milos great flavors and
                      textures 535 3800

                      1. re: c hef
                        d
                        debbie Jul 21, 1999 08:00 PM

                        thanks for the info. Sounds good.

                    4. re: debbie
                      m
                      MU Jul 21, 1999 04:23 PM

                      Don't judge a place by those $19.99 meals -- I think
                      they're served out of big buckets or something (seem
                      to recall a thread here to that effect).

                      1. re: MU
                        d
                        debbie Jul 21, 1999 07:54 PM

                        You have a good point. Had a $19.99 meal at Patria and
                        I didn't like 2 out of my 3 courses.

                      2. re: debbie
                        j
                        Josh Mittleman Jul 21, 1999 05:09 PM

                        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
                        seafood.

                        1. re: Josh Mittleman
                          d
                          debbie Jul 21, 1999 07:59 PM

                          Thanks for the info on Nikos. I've been there. I
                          think the food is ok, nothing special.

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