In the late 1890s and early 1900s, Greek immigrants left their hometowns and made the trek across the ocean to New York City. After passing through Ellis Island, many of them settled in Astoria, Queens, bringing with them generations of family members and a strong sense of cultural identity.
Today, Astoria is still home to a large percentage of New York’s Greek community, and luckily for the rest of us, they continue to maintain that sense of homeland pride in the form of grocery stores and restaurants – many of which have stood guard over Astoria’s family-centric streets for centuries.
Ask any New Yorker where to get a proper pita or a shot of tsipouro and they’ll direct your attention to this outer borough, which surprisingly is just a quick ride on the N train.
For Greek seafood, there’s no place quite like Taverna Kyclades, a mainstay at the end of the line where old yiayias hold court over plates of salmon steak and stuffed clams.
But what if you’re unwilling to hike to the outer boroughs to get your fill of grape leaves and moussaka? Fear not. The Greek influence has also made its way to Manhattan, where for slightly more cash you can satiate your cravings at joints like Pylos (pronounced Pee-‘los), a Zagat-rated superstar for 8 years running.
Below, we peruse the magic of the Hellenic motherland with our list of the ten best Greek restaurants in New York.