Where to Enjoy and Explore Greek Food in New York

Where to Enjoy and Explore Greek Food in New York

The global cuisine that makes up New York’s collective palette has always been ever evolving, and not even a pandemic can curtail that. When one finally gets tired of frozen dinners and doing the dishes after another night of dining in, it’s finally time where diners can begin to safely venture out back into the dining scene while following CDC and local guidelines, and explore the incredible selection of restaurants both Long Island and New York City have to offer.

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Dreaming of waterfront dining in Greece these days? Us too. One style of cuisine that is known to always satisfy any foodies appetite is Greek cuisine. From stuffed grape leaves to Spanakopita, there’s a vast variety of Greek restaurants to explore and choose from, with some traditional in their decor and menu, while others take on a more modern approach. Traditional Greek cuisine has always emphasized raw and unadulterated ingredients, with simple and straightforward dishes made with buckets of love, cooked to perfection without rushing, and seasoned simply with herbs and olive oil. Similarly, the modern approach to Greek cuisine is all about combining the best of the old, with the best of the new, bringing traditional recipes to life with innovative and exciting ingredients and techniques. Whether diners choose between a traditional or modern dining experience, it’s guaranteed to be a foodie success!

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Where to Enjoy Traditional Greek Food

In discovering Greek cuisine, one may want to start by dining the traditional way, including authentic ingredients and classic dishes. Tasting these authentic and down to earth flavors first can help any palette discern the difference traditional Greek cooking has with more modern approaches. For those looking for the authentic tastes of Greece without having to book a plane ticket, Opa Grill in Williston Park is a must-go. Appetizers to excite the stomach include several Greek staples that one simply cannot pass up, including spanakopita, the triangles of crispy phyllo dough stuffed with spinach and fresh feta cheese, Kavourokeftedes which are the golden brown crabcakes fried to perfection, and the world famous Saganaki or farming cheese, which is pan-seared Kefalograviera cheese that melts in your mouth. When it’s time to enjoy the main course, diners can sink their teeth into authentic Greek mainstays such as the oh-so-famous souvlaki, which is marinated pork with lettuce, tomato, onion, and tzatziki sauce, Chicken gyro, and classic falafel with tahini sauce.

Further east on the Island in Syosset, diners can also enjoy traditional Greek cuisine at Platia Greek Kitchen. Guests can dig in and start off their dining experience by ordering the signature Greek tower of vertically rotisserie meat called Yeeros with either pork or chicken, seasoned with Mediterranean spices. Guests can finish off on a sweet note with desserts like Galaktoboureko, a Greek custard pie, sweet Baklava, and rice pudding. The main tenant of traditional Greek cuisine is using ingredients that are found in Greece and the Medditeranean region, from what kind of meat is used, to the spices and herbs, to the techniques used to cook the dishes.

Where to Enjoy Greek Cuisine with a Modern Flair

The modern approach to Greek cuisine is all about fusion, combining traditional Greek recipes with a plethora of new and exciting ingredients. For the modern approach to Greek cuisine, there is more freedom to expand on flavor profiles to make completely new and delicious dining experiences. Examples of this can be found at restaurants like Limani Restaurant with locations in both Manhattan and Roslyn.

photo credit: Limani Restaurant

If one comes to Limani for lunch, they can enjoy new and not so traditional dishes like Shrimp Saganaki, which is sauteed jumbo shrimp in a tomato and feta cheese sauce and served with creamy risotto, tuna burger with traditional Greek herbs and spices, served with white radish salad and shredded fried zucchini. For those dining in for Dinner at Limani, guests can enjoy dishes like the Limani Sampler that has the chef’s choice oysters, Ocean Garden Shrimp, Maryland Crab Meat, PEI mussels, and Main Lobster, all ingredients not so indiginous to Greece. Not so traditional dinner also includes items like Lobster pasta with Greek herbs, Spanish Carabinieros, which is head-on shrimp, and beef dishes like the Cowboy which is a 26 oz. bone-in ribeye, dry aged 30 days, Colorado Lamb chops grilled to perfection, and nontraditional sides like Greek fries dusted in oregano, Broccoli Rabe with feta cheese and garlic, and Yukon gold potatoes with shallots and cilantro.

Another great place to enjoy a more modern take on Greek food is Elea Restaurant located on the Upper West Side. Appetizers at Elea include Spanakopita, Sesame Feta with dried figs, thyme, pink peppercorns, and honey, and Elea Chips which are lightly fried zucchini & eggplant with Tzatziki and kefalogaviera cheese. If one is having a serious hankering for seafood, Elea’s From the Sea options include Lavrak, which is grilled mediterranean sea bass, Shrimp Orzotto with saron and baked orzo, and Grilled Loch Duarte salmon accompanied by a celery root puree and fresh green beans.

photo credit: Elea Restaurant

The From the Land section of Elea’s menu includes delicious options like Short Rib Youvetsy which is a Xinomavro braised short rib with Kefalograviera cheese and baked orzo, Moussake which is a casserole layered with potato, eggplant, ground beef and given a modern twist with a bechamel, and the Elea Burger made of Brandt ground beef and served with smoked cheese, Tzatziki sauce, and a side Greek fries. Finishing off a fantastic meal are desserts like Ekmek which has Kataifi base, loaded with mountain tea creme, and sprinkled with powdered pistachios, Chocolate Cake with Valrhona chocolate mousse and a wild berry coulis, and the timeless Baklava with almonds and Greek honey.

Whether it is traditional or modern, Greek cuisine is one of the most versatile styles of cuisine to be found and enjoyed in New York. While the traditional methods yield timeless dishes that diners have no problem enjoying over and over again, the modern take on Greek cuisine combines the best of the old and new to create memorable dishes that can become a diners new and preferred way to enjoy a certain Greek dish. With all of these exciting Greek dining options, where will you dine next?

Craving More?

Check out these Greek restaurant locations that are also on our highly recommended list:

Avra Madison Estiatorio

14 East 60th Street
New York, NY 10022

Estiatorio Milos

Midtown Location: 

125 W 55th St,

New York, NY 10019

Hudson Yards Location:

20 Hudson Yards, Fifth Floor

New York, NY 10001

Kyma Restaurants

Flatiron Location:

15 West 18th
New York, NY 10011

Roslyn Location:

1446 Old Northern Blvd

Roslyn, NY 11576

Eros Restaurant

447 3rd Ave

New York, NY 10016

Written by: Raidah Islam

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