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Jul 21, 1999 01:18 PM

Greek restaurants

  • d

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?

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  1. 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.

    21 Replies
    1. re: MU

      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

      1. re: debbie

        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.

          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

            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

              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

                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
                  Josh Mittleman

                  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

                    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
                      Josh Mittleman

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

                  2. re: Jating

                    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

                      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

                      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

                        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

                          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

                        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

                  3. re: steve d.

                    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

                      thanks for the info. Sounds good.

                  4. re: debbie

                    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

                      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
                      Josh Mittleman

                      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

                      1. re: Josh Mittleman

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

                  5. 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.