Beautiful grilled sardines, one of the many non-endangered species available at Greek restaurants.
Think for a minute how much we owe to the Greeks. Archimedes of Syracuse (the one in Sicily, not in New York) discovered the means of calculating the volume of an irregular mass as he sat in his bathtub, while Aeschylus fathered tragedy, while formulating many of the tropes of modern drama. Greeks gave us architectural features that still persist today, as anyone walking by the main post office is likely to discover. And we owe them plenty for creating a cuisine that can satisfy all diners, be they vegetarian, carnivorous, or pescatarian.
The handsome interior of Uncle Nick’s, Eighth Avenue branch. Will it make the top 10?
For, you see, Greek cuisine caters to all three tastes in just proportion. The vegetarian discovers a whole world of mezze, those tapas-like dishes that can be scooped with bread to make a most satisfying meal, and a wealth of feta-bearing salads. The island-born Greeks are responsible for devising methods of preparing seafood so simple they’d make Mark Bittman blush, while the concern of mainlanders for lamb and quails, and the expert grilling of same, stand as an example that every backyard chef should follow.
We struggled mightily with the list this week, and hope you find it to your liking. We have included cheap places and expensive places, and will indicate with an asterisk those restaurants where your meal may top out at $50 or more. Here, without further ado, are our top 10 selections and a crowd of runners-up.
Next: Runners-Up to Our 10 Best Greek restaurant
All dressed up and no place to go: the spit-roasted lamb at Astoria’s Uncle George’s.
It’s Greek to Me, 194 Newark Avenue, Jersey City, 201-222-0844; Meze, 6601 13th Avenue, Brooklyn, 718-234-6393; Aliada, 29-19 Broadway, Queens, 718-932-2240; Spartan Souvlaki, 6820 Eighth Avenue, Brooklyn, 718-748-5838; Laterna, 47-20 Bell Boulevard, Queens, 718-423-1245; Plaka Taverna, 406 86th Street, Brooklyn, 718-680-3056; Zenon, 34-10 31st Avenue, Queens, 718-956-0133; Bahari Estiatorio (formerly Stamatis), 31-14 Broadway, Queens, 718-204-8968
Next: Numbers 6 through 10
The typical Astoria Greek restaurant is, like Zenon, decorated like a rustic taverna.
Numbers 6 though 10
10. Uncle George’s, 3319 Broadway, Queens, 718-626-0593
9. Milos Estiatorio*, 125 West 55th Street, 212-245-7400
8. Ithaka, 308 East 86th Street, 212-628-9100
7. S’Agapo, 34-21 34th Avenue, Queens, 718-626-0303
6. Pylos, 128 East 7th Street, 212-473-0220
Nothing is more refreshing than a Greek salad with a red-wine vinaigrette.
The Top 5 of Our 10 Best Greek restaurants
5. Uncle Nick’s, 382 Eighth Avenue, 212-609-0500
4. Molyvos*, 871 Seventh Avenue, 212-582-7500
3. Philoxenia, 32-07 34th Avenue, Queens, 718-626-2000
2. Agnanti, 7802 Fifth Avenue, Brooklyn, 718-833-7033
1. Yiasou, 2003 Emmons Avenue, Brooklyn, 718-332-6064
Don’t see your favorite Greek restaurant on the list? Please tell us about it.
On the following page, find a list of reader recommendations.
The humongous flounder at Uncle Nick’s, a bargain at $22 recently.
Taverna Kyclades, 48-07 Ditmars Boulevard, Queens, 718-545-8666
Trata Estiatorio, 1331 Second Avenue, 212-535-3800
Avra, 141 East 48th Street, 212-759-8550
Ethos, 495 Third Avenue, 212-252-1972
Dafni, 325 West 42nd Street, 212-315-1010
Stamatis, 2909 23rd Avenue, Queens, 212-721-4507
Greek Island, 25317 Northern Boulevard, Queens, 718-279-5922
This article from the Village Voice Archive was posted on October 16, 2009