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Special Occasion Greek: Avra, Pylos, Periyal or Milos?

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Hi Chowhounders,
Taking my bf out for his birthday and we've narrowed things down to Greek. I've only eaten at the homestyle places in Astoria and was wondering if you guys could help me decide where to go, based on this criteria (in order of importance):

1) Deliciousness (of course)...especially seafood
2) Authenticity (open to contemporary styles, but in a way that a discerning Greek would approve of)
3) Atmosphere (he has a an eye for design but is also not into pretentious places)
4) Value (I don't mind dropping lots of cash, but only if the food is so good that it makes me not think twice--this probably applies most to Milos)
5) Location (we're more into places closer to downtown but are happy to go further uptown for a good meal)

I definitely know that Pylos is the kind of atmosphere he loves, it's in the East Village and I have Greek friends that highly recommend it - but he's already eaten there. He's happy to go back, but I was wondering if one of the other options will also lend itself to his birthday dinner.

Thanks!!

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Periyali
35 W 20th St, New York, NY 10011

Pylos
128 E 7th St, New York, NY 10009

Avra
141 East 48th Street, New York, NY 10017

Milos
125 West 55th Street, New York, NY 10019

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  1. Take a look at Kellari and see if it's upscale enough for you. Milos is v good but pricey. I dislike Molyvos but others on the board like it.

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    Molyvos
    871 7th Avenue, New York, NY 10019

    Milos
    125 West 55th Street, New York, NY 10019

    Kellari Taverna
    19 W. 44th Street, New York, NY 10036

    1. I am a big Kallari fan, both the food and the cool comfortable design, and also enjoyed Pylos and Periyali, but a discerning Greek friend says that Avra (I have not been) is the best in town.

      4 Replies
      1. re: City Kid

        kellari does look cute...sounds like the CHers with Greek friends all say Avra is the place to go though. i have a few weeks to figure it out. will let you know where we go and how it was!

        1. re: waxyjax

          has anyone who's eaten at Kellari tried the "Aegean Feast" chef's tasting menu? i figure since there's only two of us perhaps this could be a nice way to taste a variety of dishes...of course, we're likely to stack on another app or two.

          1. re: waxyjax

            in the end we decided on Periyali since my boyfriend had already been to Pylos and also wasn't up for heading to midtown.

            here's quick rundown of what we ordered:

            -Avgolemono - I'm a big fan of this soup, the one they make at Periyali was everything I could hope it would be.
            -Grilled Octopus - Perfect. Loved the hint of charcoal flavor. It was our favorite thing we ate
            -Smoked trout - it was fine. Liked the dill aroma but I wouldn't call it a standout dish
            -Grilled brazino special w side of rice and broccoli - the fish was nicely grilled. I understand that the sides were meant to be simple and let the fish standout, but I wish their choice of side vegetable was a little more interesting. I am a broccoli fan but theirs didn't have much flavor or anything really going for it.
            -Braised lamb shank w orzo stew - very delicious. The meat fell right off the bone and the flavors of the tomato in the stew worked really well with the lamb and the orzo. We were also huge fans of this dish.
            -Walnut cake - very simple and lovely. It was soaked with just the right amount of honey syrup so that it wasn't too crazy sweet.
            -bread basket - their olive bread is awesome.

            Also, their service was very warm and they encourage couples to sit side by side along the banquettes, which was fun.

            Overall, we had a lovely dining experience. Looking back we would've ordered a bit differently. The smoked trout we would've definitely traded for something else. Also, the entree servings were very generous (not that I'm complaining!). The lamb shank was so rich we could've just split that as our entree and would've been fine....although to go for the gold we would've probably even added another appetizer, too.

            I could see myself checking out some of their other dishes...and I will definitely give the other recommendations a try sometime too!

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            Periyali
            35 W 20th St, New York, NY 10011

            Pylos
            128 E 7th St, New York, NY 10009

            1. re: waxyjax

              Wish I had seen this sooner. HUGE fan of Avra....hands down, best Greek food in NYC as far as food, service and ambiance. Sit in the back room where it is quieter.

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              Avra
              141 East 48th Street, New York, NY 10017