The specialty at Gregory's 26 Corner is, resoundingly, its warm hospitality. The food doesn't disappoint, either.
'Greek' on Serious Eats
Few Greek restaurants seem to get everything right; you'd do best to pick your favorite by their specialty. At E Taverna in Astoria, it's molluscs.
Sometimes, takeout gets a bad rap. But I'd be happy to eat the soulful, wonderfully flavored Greek fare at Anthi's any day of the week.
Not everything impresses at this Greek spot, but spinach pie and zucchini fritters are top-notch.
Frying is something of a specialty at Telly's Taverna in Astoria, from the Greek fried doughnuts that end your meal (on the house) to the thinly sliced fried vegetables that should begin it. Zucchini, red pepper, and eggplant are available for $6 apiece or $14 in combination; the zucchini, rendered intensely sweet and tender by the heat of the fryer, is your best bet.
Christo's is best known for their gyros, but their chicken-lemon soup is a hidden gem on the menu.
Even some loyal shoppers tend to ignore the bakery counter at Titan Foods, which is a shame, as this must-visit Greek market makes some of the best sweets in the neighborhood. By and large they're heavily soaked in syrup, which isn't always a great thing for flaky phyllo pastries, but does wonders for cakes.
In interviews, Michael Psilakis has made clear that MP Taverna, his casual restaurant brand now in Astoria, features a more visceral, less cerebral approach to Greek food. That doesn't mean the menu is dumbed down or made less "ethnic." It means you're happy that the kitchen is generous with that pita, because those stray licks of olive oil on the plate won't finish themselves.
Chef Michael Psilakis is no stranger to restaurant openings and intense food, but his newly opened MP Taverna comes with the added challenge of it's location being in the heart of Astoria. We chatted with Psilakis on what Greek food means to him now, what it meant when he first started cooking and where he still wants the conversation on Greek cuisine to go.
A lot of the pastry love at Artopolis goes to their phyllo pastries, and justly so, but give this unassuming semolina cake a try. It's an undercover winner.
Pylos, serving modern, upscale Greek cuisine at more-than-fair prices, is a vegetarian's haven.
The typical profile of a street cart vendor is of an immigrant looking to make it in the overwhelming world of New York City. The typical profile of a food truck vendor is middle to upper class American looking to test the market before opening a brick-and-mortar. The men behind one of Midtown's most popular food trucks, Uncle Gussy's, are neither of these. Instead, they're a mix of both.
As the description on the display case reads, the Melomakarona ($15/pound, about 16 cookies) "happen to be vegan as well." They're also one of my favorite sweets at this awesome Queens bakery.
You could call Michael Psilakis one of New York's ambassadors of Greek cuisine. As the son of a first generation traditional Greek family on Long Island, Psilakis learned to roast whole lambs on a spit at a young age, and these days is busy maintaining his restaurants in the city and surrounding area. After the jump: his guide to the best Greek shopping and eating in the city.
"My dad always had to explain to customers that hummus isn't actually Greek," Socrates Xanthopoulos says. Which is why the father and son team started Gefsi, a company that makes actually-Greek dips like feta spreads and eggplant purées.
Mama Gyro's pita wraps may not be destination gyros, but they're worth a visit if you're in the neighborhood, and plenty cheap to boot.
Want the comforting familiarity of a Big Mac, but the exotic ingredients of a gyro? Mama Gyro's Mama Sauce is eerily similar to the beloved Special Sauce.
"Souvlaki" is a term usually reserved for skewered grilled meat, sometimes fish, but at Snack Taverna in the West Village, you can get a Shrimp Souvlaki ($12) instead.
The Essex Street Market is full of treasures (Shopsin's and Beurre & Sel for starters), and the tiny Boubouki stall, with its sweet and savory Greek home cooking, is another great addition to the list.