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Ithaka

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  • debbie Aug 21, 1999 11:14 PM
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Finally made it to Ithaka and it was wonderful. Had
the grilled calamari, chopped romaine salad with
scallions and dill, egg/lemon soup, striped bass
fillet with tomatoes and feta cheese, and whole
striped bass. Everything was great. The garden with
its decorations on the wall created a nice
Mediterrranean atmosphere. Thanks to everyone who
recommended Ithaka to me on an earlier thread for
Greek restaurants. Total for the above with 3 ouzos
and tax and tip and one dessert was $100. Best Greek
food we've had in NY so far.

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  1. Have you also been to Milos. If so, how does it
    compare?

    13 Replies
    1. re: Alex

      Haven't been to Milos. Can you tell me a little about
      it? Have been to Gus', Molyvos and Ithaka is MUCH
      better.

      1. re: debbie

        Milos is an excellent high end Greek restaurant in the
        West 50's. It is in a beautiful,soaring space. In
        the center of the restaurant is incredibly fresh fish
        sitting atop shards of ice. You actually pick the
        inspect the fish and pick what you would like. The
        presentation for the most part is very simple - fish
        grilled over charcoal with fresh herbs and wonderful
        olive oil. The owner is obsessed with freshness, so
        you can be sure that most everything is fresh out of
        the water.

        The only caveat is the incredbily high prices. The
        fish is priced per pound. Most of the fish is over a
        pound, so the per pound price is a bit deceptive. But
        I think it is well worth it for a special occassion.

        1. re: Alex

          At Ithaka they walk around with a platter of fresh
          fish, take it from table to table and explain each
          fish. It's just a sample, not the actual piece of
          fish you will be eating. They also grill quite a
          number of their fishes and the price is per entree,
          not per pound which makes it more affordable.

          It just occurred to me that you are probably talking
          about Estiatorio Milos. Sorry for the confusion. Yes
          I have been there and loved it. Ithaka is not as
          upscale, the atmosphere and the menu in my opinion is
          more Greek at Ithaka and has more of a selection of
          nonfish dishes. The fish menu at Estiatorio Milos is
          more comprehensive, more unusual types of fish and
          greater variety. Perhaps because I was at Estiatorio
          Milos for lunch, but the crowd there is more of a
          business crowd, suits etc. Ithaka is more causal.

          Ithaka allows smoking in the dining room but it
          appeared to me that no one was smoking in the garden,
          but I could be wrong. The garden is definitely
          prettier.

          1. re: debbie

            I have recently had dinner at both Ithaka and Molyvos
            and wanted to post my positive experience at both, but
            espacially Ithaka. If I remember correcly, I had the
            Greek salad and whole prawns at Ithaka and the
            sardines and grilled whole red snapper at Molyvos.
            Ithaka has a much more casual atomosphere, and
            positively so.

            At Molyvos, we arrived quite early - 6pm. When we
            arrived, the hostess led us to a table way in the back
            of the restaurant. I has the feeling that I or my
            guest were not dressed well enough or that my
            deodarant was not working well that day. From
            observation as the restaurant filled, I'd say that it
            was just an effort to distribute the diners evenly
            throughout the room, though I'd warn hosts/owners
            against doing this, becuase I felt like an outcast for
            the beginning of the meal, until other obviously
            socially acceptable people were seated in our area.The
            meal, however, especiallly the snapper, was
            wonderful.

            Ithaka's atmosphere is much friendlier and much more
            casual. We received an excellent recommendation for
            wine and the short stroll through the kitchen was fun
            - especially when you can say thanks to the chef at
            the end of the meal.

            For value for money and a charming atomosphere in
            which to eat, I vote for Ithaka over Molyvos.

            1. re: siobhan

              I agree with you. I liked the food at Molyvos, but
              thought it was better at Ithaka and Ithaka has more
              ambience. At Molyvos I thought the food was good, at
              Ithaka I thought it was great.

              1. re: siobhan
                j
                Josh Mittleman

                I haven't gotten a chance to try Ithaka yet, but I
                classify Molyvos as good food at reasonable
                theater-district prices. I wouldn't go there on any
                occasion other than pre-theater, but it serves that
                purposes nicely.

                1. re: siobhan

                  Siobhan -- next time, I would suggest you not go
                  meekly to where they tell you (especially when it's
                  6 PM and the place is not filled). You should try
                  asking nicely if you could sit somewhere else, and
                  even point out which table you may like. Usually you
                  won't be refused. It's not likely that EVERY other
                  table has been reserved for specific guests.

                  Even if what happened was an effort to distribute
                  diners around the room, let them put someone else in
                  the back, not you.

                  1. re: Gary Cheong

                    Fifty percent of the time in restaurants my husband
                    and I request a table other than the one they try to
                    give us. In fact it happened to us again tonight in
                    the theater district and I asked my husband "why do
                    they always do this?" Our friend from out of town
                    consistently gets the worst table no matter what city
                    we are in, even if the restaurant is empty and she
                    never asks for a new table and gets annoyed at us for
                    doing so.

                    1. re: debbie

                      Most times I'm pretty satisfied with my table. But
                      when I do speak up and request another table, I get a
                      better table.

                      I think they try to do this all the time. I have no
                      idea why, maybe it's just a power trip for the host or
                      hostess?? It really bugs me when they do this in an
                      empty restaurant -- it's so stupid, and it makes
                      customers resentful.

                      1. re: Gary Cheong
                        j
                        Josh Mittleman

                        I think it's rather simple: Some people care which
                        table they get, but most don't. The restaurant has a
                        limited number of desirable tables with which to please
                        the first category, so they steer the second category
                        to the others. If you care, speak up. If not, it's
                        not unreasonable for them to assume that you don't
                        care.

                        1. re: Josh Mittleman

                          Agree with your points. However, if the restaurant
                          is empty (as in Debbie's case), there is no reason to
                          put her at the worst table. That's just showing
                          contempt.

                          1. re: Gary Cheong
                            j
                            Josh Mittleman

                            Well, you have to keep in mind that from the hostess'
                            point of view, the restaurant wasn't empty; it was full
                            of the people who were going to arrive in the next hour
                            or two. Debbie was just there before the rush. If
                            they didn't expect a crowd, then I agree they should
                            have either given her a good table or invited her to
                            choose for herself (which has frequently happened to
                            me).

                  2. re: siobhan

                    Finally got to go to Ithaka. As a staunch Molyvos fan,
                    I'll offer these observations:

                    Ithaka definitely wins on atmosphere. Molyvos suffers
                    from being a restaurant attached to a hotel, and feels
                    a bit plastic-y, with a hallway that actually leads to
                    the lobby. It is a little weird to have to walk through
                    the kitchen to your table at Ithaka, although the room
                    at the other end is homey and nice. A better
                    neighborhood too -- it's certainly nicer to take
                    someone to dinner in the West Village than in Midtown,
                    unless you've got some other reason to be there. I'll
                    definitely be back.

                    Although I've only been to Ithaka once, food quality
                    seems about equal to that at Molyvos, with different
                    things better at each place. I'll admit I haven't done
                    a scientific survey, ordering analogous food in both
                    places, so what follows is an approximation. Molyvos
                    definitely has better tzatziki, made with sheep yogurt
                    and much less salt than Ithaka's version. The eggplant
                    salad wins at Ithaka, perfectly smoky but allowing the
                    sweetness of the eggplant to prevail over olive oil &
                    lemon. Molyvos' has too much oil. I had the cuttlefish
                    and pasta entree at Ithaka, which was amazing, although
                    it could have been slightly less salty. A very very
                    minor complaint. Bread at both places has been a
                    disappointment -- consistently soggy/stale and
                    lukewarm, although adequate for scooping up very yummy
                    spreads and salads (complimentary feta-red pepper
                    spread at Molyvos, BTW). Molyvos definitely wins at
                    dessert -- they have more options, even some
                    challenging ones. See my earlier post. Prices about the
                    same.

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