About 20 years after World War II, Astoria, Queens began attracting a large number of Greek immigrants. It wasn’t long before the neighborhood transformed into New York City’s Greektown, where the recent transplants dazzled restaurant-goers with a unique version of Mediterranean cuisine that prized carefully honed family recipes and rustic preparations. Today, Greeks have become the minority in Astoria, but the legacy of their authentic dishes live on in neighborhoods across the city.
East Village: Greek Home Cooking
Beneath a canopy of dangling clay pots, diners nosh on traditional Greek entrees such as braised short ribs, grilled lamb chops, and poached salmon. For inspiration, owner and native Athenian Christos Valtzoglou regularly consults with his pal Diane Kochilas, a chef who splits her time between the Big Apple and Greece.
West Village: Upscale Mediterranean
Executive chef Joey Fortunato lends his expertise—honed in Michelin-rated Parisian restaurants—to craft inventive Mediterranean cuisine. Large mirrors and exposed brick walls set the scene as diners dig into pan-seared red snapper and gourmet spaghetti and meatballs, a dish that was recently featured on Food Network’s “The Best Thing I Ever Ate.”
Riverdale: Cozy Eatery with Casual Cuisine
Housed in a cozy storefront on Riverdale Avenue, this eatery is awash in the blue-and-white color scheme of the Greek flag. Amidst azure shutters and scenic murals, you can munch on heaping salads, gyro sandwiches, and platters of moussaka. Homemade rizogalo, or rice pudding, sweetly concludes the meal.
Ditmars Steinway: Greek and American Fusion
For more than a decade, this neighborhood staple has been whipping up a unique fusion of Greek and American cuisine. Chicken souvlaki and baby lamp chops share menu space with Greek pizza and charcoal burgers. Weather permitting, an outdoor sidewalk patio provides additional seating sheltered by a green awning.
Midtown Center: Food Truck with Family Ties
In 1971, Uncle Gussy opened a food stand on Park Ave and 51st Street. Though he still helps out in the kitchen, his nephew Nick runs the eatery’s newest iteration: a food truck specializing in made-from-scratch pork souvlaki, gyros. Top off your meal with a dollop of Tzatziki sauce, which Nick's mom prepares fresh daily.
Astoria: Comfort Food in Casual Cafe
Housed in a casual corner bistro, this diner-style spot specializes in Greek comfort food such as burgers, wraps, and hot pita sandwiches brimming with pork souvlaki, chicken gyro, or falafel. Grab a bite at the long countertop or sink into a comfy booth.
Astoria: A Mix of Traditional and Exotic Ingredients
Bahari Estiatorio takes pride in traditional, high-quality ingredients that range from the ultra-rustic to the exotic. Try the calf liver with fresh lemon or the grilled baby shark in a thick skordalia sauce. Each carefully prepared plate looks at home in a modern dining room with nautical decor, an open-air kitchen, and exposed brick walls.
Jackson Heights: Cypriot Staples and Intriguing Specials
In addition to Greek staples, this eatery supplements its menu with traditional Cypriot dishes including fried meatballs studded with mint and pork sausages marinated in wine. As if that isn't enough to jumpstart the salivary glands, each day of the week corresponds to an intriguing new special such as Greek lasagna or rabbit stew.
Upper East Side: Authentic Food in Rustic Eatery
Chef Harry Hatziparaskevas crafts traditional Greek cuisine that TimeOut New York lauds as “perfectly prepared.” These dishes include saganaki, mousaka, and arni youvetsi—lamb baked in a clay pot with orzo, tomato sauce, and feta. The dining room's mélange of brick walls and exposed ceiling beams mirrors the rustic charm of its food.
Dyker Heights: “Killer” Gyro Sandwiches
Greek comfort food steals the spotlight on the menu at this no-frills eatery. Sample souvlaki, spinach pie, and gyro sandwiches that The Village Voice praises as “killer.” Dinner platters run the gamut from lamb chops to charcoal octopus.