Greek cuisine in the United States has evolved for sure. With the culinary brilliance of our Greek-American chefs who have added their touch to the traditional dishes. Modern chefs including the likes of Michael Psilakis, Maria Loi, and Jim Botsacos have served up the most exquisite culinary delights to Americans.
There are, however, still some restaurants that will dish out those old favorites from the classic Greek menu. Looking for a taste of home? Go no further; you can find it right here in New York... Just keep reading.
We highlight five of the greatest restaurants in New York City where you can sit back and take a trip back to the homeland on an amazing culinary experience that your taste buds won't forget.
[caption id="attachment_2602" align="alignleft" width="300"] The fine, elegant style interiors at Periyali in Manhattan[/caption]
Periyali: A restaurant located in Manhattan, Periyali has been around for twenty-nine years. It became known as a place which Honors Greek cuisine while serving customers amidst a fine setting. The owners, Nicola Kotsoni and Steve Tzolis chose subtle lighting, white linen drapery for a clean look, and some fine art for the interiors. The simple, elegant style captures the setting of Santorini. Their menu includes a selection of Mediterranean fish, bread dips, vegetable dishes which include artichokes and yellow beets. The desserts are delectable and not to be missed.
Plaka: Plaka is a diner-type establishment which was named after the ancient Greek neighborhood in Athens. Their menu offers a wide variety including pita sandwiches, gyro with tzatziki sauce, shish kebabs, saganaki flaming cheese, moussaka and pastitsio casseroles, Greek salads and dips, and even a feta cheeseburger deluxe. This diner has had a major influence on the Greek food in the Bay Ridge area of New York City.
[caption id="attachment_2601" align="alignleft" width="300"] Zenon Taverna - Great for authentic home-cooked meals[/caption]
Zenon Taverna: A rustic tavern-like restaurant, they do a great job of serving up traditional Cypriot home-style cooked meals. The most beautiful giant hand-painted murals of Cyprus, makes one feel as if you've been swept away to the island. Zenon's menu rotates according to the days of the week and offers as many as seven to eight specialties each day. The dishes are very well-prepared.
You can order any Greek dish imaginable dripping in lemon, oregano, and green olive oil. The specialties from Cyprus include sheftalia, shotgun-shell-shaped pork meatballs, char- grilled to perfection, tarhana, a soup of cracked wheat and dried yogurt, with pieces of halloumi cheese as croutons; and arni tava, spring lamb baked with orzo and artichokes. Their selection of wines by the bottle makes for a great dining experience in Queens, New York City.
Gregory's 26 Corner Taverna: It has to be the homeliest Greek Restaurant in Astoria. The dining experience is superb, offering both indoor and outdoor tables. Out on the front porch customers often share the space with buckets of live dogfish, while inside beautiful paintings of windmills cover the walls while tables are laid out with checked tablecloths from which you can hear the seafood grilling away.
Spoil yourself by ordering one of their authentic meals of either meat, fish or a vegetarian selection. Their fish is particularly good and include fried smelts, dogfish, whole grilled red snapper or sea bass. The menu has a broad variety to choose from and is some of the best priced Greek food you can find around the city.
Pylos: Translated into English, Pylos means 'things made from clay.' The restaurant has a vast array of clay pots hanging from the ceiling which allows customers to experience stepping into a Greek village. The menu at Pylos consists of a variety of hot and cold dishes and tasty side dishes galore. Their recipes are inspired by the author, Diane Kochilas, a renowned author of many Greek cookbooks.
They offer some interesting dishes that you cannot find anywhere else. If your taste buds are up for something new, try their moussaka layered with artichokes and drenched in béchamel. Try the 'three kinds of cheese' melted into a fondue and presented in a beautiful clay pot with pita, stewed beans with tomato and dill, and a few light meatballs served with a sprig of mint.
Whatever your preference in Greek food, these restaurants offer top class authentic Greek meals to the city of New York.