In Manhattan, especially in Midtown, there are some great options for a healthy, reasonably priced lunch at the growing number of upscale Greek restaurants in the area. While some of these spots boast expense-account busting prices for their Dinner menu, many of the places below offer very accessible prix fixe lunch menus with fish and salads offerings that, paired with a single espresso, will ward off the afternoon energy slump. Whether you’re 100% of Greek descent (like me) or just love good food, you’re sure to find plenty to like- and a few spots to work into your lunch rotation.
This longtime staple on East 48th recently spawned a stylish 2nd location at 14 East 60th Street (in the space formerly occupied by Rouge Tomate). The new locale, opened just before the holidays, is already heaving with midtown power brokers and “ladies who lunch,” whether in the airy main floor seating or the impressively spacious downstairs parlor (featuring some sleek private dining options for group outings). Both outposts deliver savory Greek offerings- I particularly love their grilled octopus (nicely charred and not too chewy) and the crowd-pleasing “Avra Chips” (lightly fried zucchini and eggplant served with tzatziki). Three course prix fixe lunch checks in at $29.50. I’m a big fan.
Set in a townhouse on East 54th Street (between Madison and Park Avenues), Nerai serves up “haute Greek Cuisine” in its well-appointed 2 level dining room. I’ve had both lunch and dinner here, and both meals were truly authentic and delicious. You’ll find all your favorite upscale Greek dishes on the menu such as spinach pie, traditional Greek salad, chicken skewers, whole grilled “lavraki,” and more… as well as a just-right Greek yogurt with honey dessert for a non-guilty dessert.
Delivering a great meal every time, Kellari exudes a rustic “taverna” vibe amid the university clubs and other eateries on West 44th Street. “Business lunch” at $29.95 again delivers tremendous value without violating the $30 threshold. How about the “Lahanika” (grilled vegetables with haloumi cheese), char-grilled salmon, and a few nibles of baklava? Great if you’re in the stretch from Bryant Park to Rock Center- but also great if you’re not.
Estiatorio Milos set the gold standard for world-class Greek seafood restaurants when it migrated from Montreal to Manhattan in 1997 (yes, 20 years ago). A generation later, it’s not any easier a reservation to secure, and Milos still delivers in style and satisfaction. En par with NYC’s top eateries in it’s dinner prices, Milos is a must-go steal at lunch for $29.00. The fresh fish selections rotate daily, and you’ll find an array of Aegan greatest hits to choose from as well. Milos is heavenly.
Limani is a relative new comer to the Midtown Greek scene. Located at the heart of Rock Center, it’s yet another solid Mediterranean offering in the area. Walking into Limani takes me back to Mykonos- one of my happy places- with its bright white and Greek island blue color scheme, soaring curtains, and lively atmosphere. It boasts all the Aegean greatest hits, with Restaurant Week menus offering lunch for $29 and dinner for $42 (a steal). Crowd-pleasing offerings include the Octopodi, prawns (enormous), and the succulent lamb chops. It’s loud and boisterous- check it out.
Billed as “a little taste of Mykonos,” newcomer Souvlaki GR delivers more casual fare than the other eateries on this review with such offerings as Keftedes (Greek meatballs), baked feta, skewers, and the eponymous souvlaki. Yum. Tables are blocky and tightly packed, and you might have a wait as it’s been discovered. Don’t be discouraged- wait time is short, hot food appears quick, and appetites are satisfied with their filling “street food” offerings. NB- this is the most different than the other 5 on this review; while no fresh seafood emporium, it’s a winning choice for more casual fare.
What are your favorites?