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Manhattan & NJ (Bergen County) Restaurant Reviews

Ian Hunter's Guide to Manhattan and Bergen County, NJ's Best Restaurants, Bars, and Gourmet Markets

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GREEK / MEDITERRANEAN
 

Kefi: Greek. 505 Columbus @ 84th-85th; 23/16/$39; 873-0200; Insanely popular top flight experience; Two level setting after a recent move; Very affordable prices, though rushed service; They have a scrumptious lamb shank; Spacious bar; Grilled Octopus is a special dish; Meatball appetizers in incredible; Greek Mac n Cheese;  Endless menu – all mouth watering.  Part of Michael Psilakis group.  Brunch served.

 

Kashkaval Garden: Mediterranean. 852 9th Ave @ 55th-56th; 24/19/$29; Great first date spot – very affordable; Casual and offers large assortment of tapas;  Also fondues; Near theatre and endless bars;  Kale salad, Hummus, Cheese & Meat plate with 5 items for $24, Brunch menu with $5 Bloodys or Caesars; Great overall wine & cocktail list;  Grilled Cheese;  Skewers, 3 types of fondue. 6 tapas for $23.

 

Molyvos: Greek. 871 7th Av @ 55-6th; 24/19/$59; 582-7500; Greek greatness; Expertly prepared dishes; Stylish, spacious setting; Affordable $37 Prix fixe. Popular for lunch; Noted for Moussaka and whole fish specials. Baklava dessert is famous here;  You can order online; Spiced Lamb spare ribs; Tons of appetizers to select from; Nice wine list. 3 spreads for $23;  Lamb or spinach pie;   Grilled whole fish.

 

Milos, Estiatorio: Greek. 125 W 55th @ 6-7th; 27/24/$91; 245-7400; Highest end Greek; Spectacular setting and unparalled service;  Whole fish so fresh it personally greets you; Artic Char; Dover Sole from Holland; Sea Bass from NC; All selections served grilled with olive oil, herbs and lemon.  Resort like décor; So frustrating it is so expensive; Seafood lovers dream. Grilled Calamari;  Have early bird prix-fixe of $49 menu – 4 courses. Raw bar. All items on menu designed to share. 

 

Periyali: Greek. 35 W 20th @ 5-6th Av; 25/21/$55; 463-7890; Fabulous fresh fish; Mature crowd; Upscale; Formal, friendly. Classic Greek dishes. Not as seafood focused as others; Strong menu with large appetizer section. Lamb chops and charred Octopus are musts; You will think your in the Greek Islands; Greek meatballs; Crisp Calamari; Wild Salmon; Rabbit stew; Nice wine list. Perfect service most nights. 

 

Fig & Olive: Mediterranean. 420 W 13th @ 9th Av; 22/20/$48; 924-1200;Very sleek and cool looking spot; Italian selections as well; Olive Oil infused selections rule; Cheese plates. Greek inspired small plates. Great wine list. Signature dish is the Beef Carpaccio; Yellow Fin Tuna Carpaccio available as well, almost as good; Becoming a chain somewhat with 5 area locations. Lunch, brunch available. Try the Crostini. 

 

Meme Mediterranean: Mediterranean; 581 Hudson @ Bank; 23/17/$48; 646-692-8450; Affordable, wonderful small plates;  Moroccan influence; Trendy, bohemian vibe; Very cool setting and solid service; Tables are tight; Get the combo appetizer platter; Brunch, Lunch or Dinner; Hummus, Homemade Mozz, Moussaka, Yellowfin Tuna, Sea scallops. 

 

Alta: Mediterranean; 64 W 10th St @ 5th-6th Av; 24/23/$46; 505-7777; Scrumptious Med small plates; Fireplace highlights a homey-décor; Romantic – order wine and relax; Seafood specialist. More spacious than your usual tapas-style restaurant; Cocktails/ wine: $11; Tapas – about 40+ to choose from, $5-$14… great prices considering the overall dining experience. Just terrific.  Large dessert menu. Date central.  Get everything on the menu for $485!! LOL  Salmon Tartare; Tuna; Grilled Octopus;

 

Extra Virgin: Mediterranean. 259 W 4th @ Charles-Perry;  22/17/$42; 691-9359;  Sexy environment and scene; Sunday Brunch is famous; Excellent fare & outdoor seating in summer. Fries with Gorgonzola fondue; Sweet-pea Risotto; Fish dishes, pasta…has it all; Try the Chilean Sea Bass; Always crowded and ever popular; Rare Yellowfin tuna; Fairly tight seating so go off hours. No Rez.  Rare Ahi Tuna.

 

Snack Taverna:  Greek. 63 Bedford @ 7th Av; 23/17/$41; 929-3499; Laid back feel but still top notch Greek dishes; Gourmet all the way without the over the top Greek stereotype. Café setting, similar to being in a store. Incredible Moussaka. French-inspired dishes. All-Greek wine list. As it is more café than restaurant, more lunch-type options including sandwiches. Would only come for lunch – but will be a Great lunch. Sauteed Calamari; Whole Branzino.

 
Thalassa: Greek. 179 Franklin St @ Greenwich; 24/25/$64; 941-7661; Large Greek seafooder; Modern, mature décor; Loft-like space; Somewhat pricy; Lamb chops to die for; Greek fisherman’s soup; Crabmeat Salad; Seafood Saganaki; Diver Scallops; Artisanal cheeses; King Crab legs; Wondrous whole fish selections including Dover Sole, Langustines, Striped Bass and Sea Bass. Pristine service.
 

Balaboosta: Mediterranean. 214 Mulberry @ Spring; 25/19/$54; 966-7366; Imaginative comfort food with Middle Eastern influences; Pleasant atmosphere, airy and clean; Great staff; Try the pappardelle with lamb and cardamom; Incredible hummus; Smoked Eggplant Bruschetta; Burrata; Grilled Octopus; Grilled Branzino; Short Ribs; Red Snapper; Lamb Burger.  Ideal break from Italians places.

 

Kiki’s: Greek, Mediterranean. 130 Division @ Orchard; 25/18/$44; 646-882-7052; No Rez, no website small Greek spot that is very popular;  Get there early or long waits ensue;  The menu is filled with well-priced Greek classics including Moussaka and Spanikopita; I’d order 3-4 items if you are a couple and share; Everything is taste – and they do a great job.  Service is mixed. 

 
Gato: Mediterranean. 324 Lafayette @ Bleecker (NoHo); 26/24/$70; 334-6400; Bobby Flay is back with one of the hippest spots in the city; Industrial setting – awesome bar; Creative dishes burst with flavor; Get the trio of spreads; Kale & Mushroom Paella; Porterhouse Pork Chop; Saffron Linguini; Crab Risotto; Cocktails - $16; Sit at the bar and get 3 appetizers for $19- Steal;  Tarragon Chicken; Soft Shell Crab. 
 
Pylos: Greek. 128 7th St @ Av A-1st Av; 26/23/$55; 473-0220; Reasonable prices for Greek; Elegant décor and staff; Sexy gem and amazing homemade quality dishes; Hellenic wines and modern dishes transport you to the islands. Damn damn good; $15 prix fixe brunch with a drink;  Large assortment of appetizers; Could use more variety of seafood but otherwise exquisite.  Wildly popular & rave reviews. The moussaka is perfect;  Poached Salmon. Tons of apps. 
 
Barbounia: Mediterranean. 250 Park Av S @ 20th; 21/23/$51; 995-0242; The setting has a lot going on- formal yet fun and high energy;  Gen X crowd; Service is excellent; The bread is legendary- famous flatbread; Hip cliental; Cocktails all $14, beer $7; Greek fondue on menu; Smallish, healthier looking portions; Extremely fresh; Charred octopus and beef carpaccio stand out; Fresh whole fish and some pastas as well; Lamb shank.  Brunch features endless champagne cocktails for $20;  Baked Branzino. 

 

Ammos: Greek. 52 Vanderbilt Av @ 44th-45th; 22/22/$53; 922-9999; Large spacious place that caters to a hopping lunch crowd; Modern interior that resembles a large open-air home; Freshest fish served whole as seafood is the house specialty; Giant menu of 15+ appetizers – all look incredible; Main course salads, some pastas, lamb shank and the aforementioned seafood. Something for everyone.  Hot bar scene.  Grilled Calamari; Incredibly huge menu – ideal.

 

Kellari TavernaGreek. 19 W 44th @ 5-6th; 22/22/$58; 221-0144; Amazing whole fish served here; Spacious and gracious service; Pricy but excellent Greek fare. Lively scene with energy to enjoy your meal. Popular area lunch spot; Four different 4-course tasting menus to choose from at different prices; Even have brunch and cocktail party events. Grilled Octopus;  Spicy Tuna Poke; Lavraki. 

 

Avra: Greek. 141 E 48th @ Lex-3rd; 26/22/$64 759-8550; Greek seafooder with freshest possible fish; Classic preparations but the various grilled whole fish stand out. Fish priced per pound so beware of pricy main course. However, you will forget $$ after one bite of seafood perfection. They always have specials and will  describe the fish for you and show you the one they will prepare in the back! Gorgeous space. Outdoor seating; Also- have endless other selections, mostly seafood.  Amazing brunch – 1 drink. Grilled Calamari.

 

Limani: Mediterranean. 45 Rock Plaza @ 5th-6th Av; 24/25/$65;  Gem of a find in Rock Plaza; Elegant setting with amazing seafood; Grilled Octopus or Calamari;  Raw bar is outstanding – try the Big Eye Tuna; For main courses the whole fish with multiple options is my favorite;  Halibut, Swordfish, Tuna, Snapper, Lobster, Langostines, and many steaks – Lamb Chops, Veal Chop. Stuffed Calamari too.

 

Nerai: Greek. 55 E 54th St @ Park-Madison; 25/26/$68; 759-5554; Seafood focused cuisine; Popular for lunch as it is located in business central; Prix Fixe lunch; Try the trio of spreads with Pita; Dessert must include Baklava; The space is gorgeous – also idea for a date; White table cloths, chairs and curtains; Saganaki Sticks; Spanakopita; Yellowfin Tuna Tartare; Char-grilled Octopus; Grilled Calamari; Greek Salad is tops; Icelandic Cod; Beef Cheek Pastichio; Duck Moussaka; Lavraki (Sea Bass); Other fish – whole fish available.

 

Amali: Mediterranean. 115 E 60th @ Lex-Park; 25/22/$59; 339-8363; Farm to table; Near Bloomies; Amazing wine list; Stylish décor; Management who cares; Lunch, brunch or dinner;  Meat & Cheese plates; Buffalo Mozz; Octopus a la Plancha; Wild Shrimp Risotto; Whole Fish of the day; Braised Rabbit;  Nice desserts. Not a huge menu but high quality.

 

Fig & Olive: Mediterranean. 808 Lex @ 62-63rd; 22/20/$48; 207-4555; Very sleek and cool looking spot; Italian selections as well; Olive Oil infused selections rule; Cheese plates. Greek inspired small plates. Great wine list. Signature dish is the Beef Carpaccio; YellowFin Tuna Carpaccio available as well, almost as good; Becoming a chain somewhat with 5 area locations. Lunch, brunch available. Try the Crostini.

 

Yefsi Estiatorio: Greek. 1481 York @ 78th-79th; 24/17/$56; 535-0293;Warm and friendly service;  Charming garden to eat in summer; Absolutely high quality Greek fare; Try the grilled octopus & lemon potatoes; Lamb chops tender and delicious; Lightly pan fried calamari; Grilled diver scallops; Saganaki; Fresh cod & shrimp;  Greek spreads to die for;  Moussaka; Lavraki; Linguini with braised veal.

 

Ithaka: Greek. 308 E 86th St @ 1-2nd Av; 21/18/$46; 628-9100;  Enjoy wonderful whole grilled fish in a setting reminiscent of Santorini complete with white walls; Older crowd; Neighborhood favorite; Extensive menu with all the classics; Whole marinated calamari, charbroiled with lemon and olive oil- perfect; Well spaced tables; Moderate pricing for the genre. Grilled calamari. Endless menu.