Michael Psilakis - Best Greek Restaurants NYC
Genuine Greek hospitality, inventive cocktails and food that is worthy of the ancient Greek Gods, are the very definition of destination dining at any of these inviting establishments from Chef Michael Psilakis.
Fish Tag - Upper West Side Manhattan
Greek cuisine is known for many things such as fresh veggies, tasty seasonings and herbs as well as juicy, succulent meat dishes like gyro and souvlaki.
But, when you are in the mood for a delicious dish of expertly prepared fish, there is no better destination than the home of a Greek-American friend or Chef Michael Psilakis' restaurant Fish Tag.
The name says it all. Sure, there are many other delights that await you on their menu. But, Fish Tag's kitchen shows off all of the different ways that Chef Michael can turn a plain piece of seafood into something very special, indeed.
The overall decor and ambiance are different from Michael's other restaurants. FishTag is a very hip and inviting blend of a casual seafood restaurant and wine bar.
Housed inside a charming pre-war building with some very interesting architecture, the restaurant boasts a truly spectacular 30 seat granite bar. Rows of bottles are lined up on sleek glass shelves that are set against an exposed brick wall.
Tucked away in the back of the establishment is a cozy dining room. This space is slightly more formal than the bar area, with white walls and furniture that is absolutely on trend. but the relaxed and casual vibe is exactly the same.
It's no wonder that Fish Tag's happy hour has become the place to be when the work day is done for upper west side residents and those who are lucky enough to work nearby.
You're invited to sample some fantastic food and drinks Monday through Thursday from 5-7 PM and on Fridays between the hours of five and seven.
Tempting bar food options include a small dip with pita for just $5 while a mere three dollars will get you a sea bass ceviche bite. You will definitely want more than one of those babies.
The menu at Fish Tag, in addition to, of course, delights from King Neptune's locker, is all about small plates.
Chef Michael's take on tapas has the flair and style that you've come to expect from him.
The mini-taco trio consists of beer battered cod, grilled shrimp and seared steak with avocado.
Cheese plates are a cut above here at Fish Tag. You don't just get a handful of the usual suspects that adorn the plates of most wine bars.
Do yourself a favor and order the "Young Pecorino Saganaki" plate. It consists of a rainbow of flavors such as roasted sheep's milk cheese accompanied by preserved lemon, fried garlic smoked almonds and wildflower honey. Pair your cheese up with a side of warm, grilled bread. The taste of the grill is unbelievable.
As far as the mains and entree selections go, one of chef Michael's signature creations is his hearty and delicious Greek Spoon Salad. A veritable feast, this salad is something the likes of which you've never had before. The bowl is filled to the brim with fresh as can be peppers, tomatoes, cucumbers, feta cheese, onions, olives, grilled kale and spiced yogurt. it's all dressed in a light and tasty red wine vinaigrette.
And now, it's on to the fish dishes. One of the most popular offerings here is the Spaghetti and Manilla clams. Lobster stock, a touch of butter, garlic and shallots add so much to the al dente pasta and tender clams.
Chef's Royal Seabass is accompanied by a delectable and healthy corn and pepper succotash along with an English pea puree. The fish itself is seasoned with mint and dill.
The "simply" grilled Branzino is anything but basic. Chef Michael and his sous-chefs know how to bring out the flavor of any piece of meat or fish. It's what they do.
Elevate your usual pub-style fish and chips with Fish Tag's version of this traditional offering. Your flaky Icelandic cod is sided up with the restaurant's signature smash fries and an arugula salad.
Sweet endings range from a date and walnut baklava, which is his Mom's recipe with a little tweak here and there, saffron pannacotta and a rainbow of ice cream and sorbet options including Espresso and chocolate Kahlua.
Location and Hours
222 West 79th Street
New York, NY 10024
Monday to Friday 5 PM to 11 PM
Saturday 12 PM to 11 PM
Sunday 12 PM to 10 PM
MP Taverna - Roslyn Long Island
The sister restaurant of Michael Psilakis' Astoria location, MP Taverna has brought a delicious slice of Hellenic cuisine and culture to Long Island. And Roslyn's foodies could not be happier.
There are not many celebrity chefs plying their trade out on the Island and Michael Psilakis just so happens to be one of the most accomplished food maestros in his profession.
At MP Taverna, Roslyn, there's a lively after work and Friday night happy hour scene. That's to be expected. The area's hipsters and young professionals know a sexy, welcoming vibe when they see it.
But, the Roslyn location is also a magnet for families who are looking for a special night out at affordable prices. Having a restaurant where families can feel at home while they celebrate birthdays, anniversaries and weddings are important to Michael.
The venue is in great demand for private affairs, most of which are held on the restaurant's spacious second floor.
MP Taverna's main, ground floor dining room holds over 80 people.The decor is very contemporary in feel and there is a ton of cozy booth seating as well as some tables.
Besides the food, though, one of the biggest attractions here is their gorgeous rooftop patio. During the Spring and Summer, there's no better place to kick back and relax than MP's Instagram-worthy patio.
Chef Michael has created an outstanding lunch prix-fixe which is available during weekdays. It's kind of a homage to the old-school Greek diners, where, everyday patrons were presented with a different, but delicious, lunch special at one all-inclusive price.
Available for the extremely reasonable price of only $17, the MP Meal consists of an appetizer, entree and dessert of the day.
The selection is outstanding. Every day you can discover new tastes and flavors. Here's the mouth-watering line-up.
On Monday, the featured lunch item is soup and a chicken souvlaki platter. Tuesdays bring to your table a hearty tomato salad together with the kitchen's cavatelli pasta with rock shrimp, squash and zucchini.
Middle of the week options includes a grilled chicken salad entree on Wednesday and Grandma Psilakis' savory meatballs on Thursday. The Prix-fixe lunch finishes up on Friday, with a flourish, with grilled Branzino, accompanied by Michael's signature MP salad. What more could you desire?
All of Michael's restaurants feature a bountiful and refreshing selection of wine, spirits and cocktails. However, the Roslyn location has really outdone itself in terms of presenting a wine list that is extensive and has a sip to appeal to every palate.
You can order the finest French and Italian sparkling wines, as well as a wonderful rose', Grenache, Nico Lazaridis, 2013 which is imported from Greece.
Delicious reds include a tasty California Pinot Noir. This light and refreshing wine is fruit forward with succulent notes of strawberry and cherry.
Another wine that you'll want to try is the Xinomavro, Tsantali Naousa, imported from Greece.This light-bodied wine has been matured in French oak casks.
Michael Psilakis has several dishes that you will find on the menus of all his restaurants. But, each location also has its' own signature plates, as it were.
At the Roslyn location, you can enjoy a dish of mussels and gigantes beans. This hearty dish also contains fresh tomatoes, spinach, juicy chunks of pork sausage and breadcrumbs.
Regulars here adore chef's Bulghar salad with a bevy of dates, almonds, olives, red onions, pistachios and Pomegranate.
The heavenly lemon roasted chicken and fall off the bone lamb chops are also good bets.
Location and Hours
1363 Old Northern Blvd.
Roslyn, NY 11576
Monday to Thursday 12 PM to 9:30 PM
Friday and Saturday 12 PM to 11 PM
Sunday 12 PM to 10 PM
Kefi - Upper West Side Manhattan
Kefi is a word that means so much to the Greek people. It is a part of their culture. Kefi is who the Greeks are.
Loosely translated, Kefi means joy, happiness or high spirits. No matter what problems a Greek may have in his or her life, they approach every day with a positive outlook and relish the fun, good times with friends and family.
The ambiance at Kefi is, indeed, upbeat and joyful. Established in 2006, this is a restaurant where you feel transported from the sometimes cold, impersonal world of the big city to the warm ambiance of a typical Greek home.
Kefi's menu features Greek comfort food classics that Michael grew up eating at home. Kefi is, indeed, where the food party starts.
You will find everything from Yia-Yia's braised rabbit over pasta to walnut cake and that traditional dessert that you could eat a thousand times and never get tired of it, Galaktoboureko.
When choosing an appetizer and entree, it's hard to know just where to start. The solution; visit Kefi at least once or twice a month and sample it all.
An always popular choice is the grilled octopus. The flavor is so good and the texture is perfect. Not chewy or rubbery at all.
At Kefi, the soups are way, way above what you get at even the most upscale Greek restaurants. When you dine here, be sure to ask your waiter if the White bean soup is on the menu that day. A vegetarian's dream, this hearty soup is filled with leeks, spinach, tomato, scallions along with a squeeze of lemon.
When one typically thinks of Hellenic comfort food, one's thoughts run to grilled meats and fish. But pasta or macaronia, as the Greeks call it, has always been a major part of Mom and Yia-Yia's menu. This is the stuff that Michael could not get enough of as a young boy.
At Kefi you will savor every last morsel of the sheep milk ricotta ravioli in a butter and sage sauce as well as the spinach and orzo pasta that is topped with feta cheese.
Chef Michael's light and fluffy sheep milk dumplings are the Greek versions of gnocchi.They give you a generous portion, but you'll inevitably wish that you could have seconds.
Available at lunch is their signature Kefi burger. Yes, you can top it with American cheese if you wish. But, why would you, when other options range from Kasseri and feta to a spicy, pepper-jack like, version of feta?
On a lighter but still delicious note, if you are in the mood for a sandwich then the chickpea, eggplant and bulgur combination hits it out of the ballpark, every time out.
Location and hours
505 Columbus Avenue
New York, NY 10024
Monday to Thursday 12 PM to 10 PM
Friday 12 PM to 11 PM
Saturday 11 AM to 11 PM
Sunday 11 AM to 10 PM