222 W 79th St, New York, NY | Directions 1002440.783446 -73.979368
Neighborhoods: Upper West Side, Midtown
Good choice for Greek - maybe your only choice. – I love them because clearly they love me. The food they feed me is so good & fresh. I feel healthier after I eat here then anywhere else. Period. I find the service terrific and I do not think they take too long -- once you actually get a seat.
Great food, if you find a seat – Unadorned whitewashed walls, azure blue trim, industrial lawnmower-like decibel levels – yes, a Greek restaurant at its finest. One of the better Greek dinners I’ve had, but it was a difficult task to get there. After we were told to return in an hour (which was fine – enough time for a cocktail down the block), we returned to wait again for almost a half hour. Our party of five was thoughtfully squeezed into a corner table hardly made for four, the fifth man placed snugly next to our neighbor, who played elbow wars the entire night. Our overworked server decided to treat us like we had never eaten this kind of food before, notwithstanding our Greek friend dining with us. No matter, the food was amazing, highlighted by the appetizer spreads of both Greek yogurt, roe, eggplant, and chickpeas, and potato, string beans, feta, and olives.
Michael Psilakis downsizes his Upper West Side Greek restaurant, resulting in lower prices and rustic family recipes. – The Scene
In 2006, two of celebrated chef Michael Psilakis' restaurants, Dona and Onera, closed. Yet shortly after, two new restaurants, Kefi and Anthos, sprang up in their place. A more casual re-tooling of Onera's townhouse space, Kefi does its best to ward off uptown stuffiness. The potentially claustrophobic dining room--low-ceilinged and nearly windowless--is offset by a family-friendly crowd, photos of a young Psilakis dancing and swaths of undulating blue and white fabric.
Onera's upscale Greek menu has been downscaled as well, with the focus on recipes from Psilakis' family table. Traditional spreads get rustic renditions, such as creamy chickpeas turned bright red with the addition of red pepper; crispy sweetbreads, almost too rich, make a fine share as well. Main plates like braised lamb, just gamey enough, and plump shrimp with orzo are solid, but the real attention-getter is the rabbit pasta, a perfect blend of sweet (cinnamon) and savory (graviera cheese).
"This place was beyond pleasant. The grilled octopus was the best I've ever had and the lamb fell right off the bone." (heddo, Citysearch user)
"His [the chef's] spin on traditional Greek food is remarkable. The perfect octopus, the cremiest spreads, the softest meatballs and the most delicious mussels." (ermemore, Citysearch user)
"I don't think I have been at a restaurant in New York City where such great food comes at gentle prices as the ones at Kefi." (camrec, Citysearch user)
"...be ready for a long line and cash only!" (raviolirinaldi, Citysearch user)
"Almost all the items on the menu were comprised of summer ingredients, even though we ate here in mid December. Maybe there is no winter in Greece but there certainly is in NYC." (kellyjohn, Citysearch user)
"Food and prices are worth going back for, just make sure you have hours to do it in
Great greek food at very reasonable prices – The last 2 reviewers must have been in really bad moods or something cause this place was beyond pleasant. The staff was nice and efficient and did everything well and we were there on a saturday night. We sat and had a relaxed and enjoyable meal. We ordered up a bunch of appetizers and then split the leg of lamb and it was a perfect amount of food and with drinks and tip we got out of there for 80 bucks for 2! No small feat in this town. The grilled octopus was the best I've ever had and the lamb fell right off the bone....im getting hungry just thinking about this place....I definitely plan to make this a regular stop.
Don't go expecting a relaxing dinner – We had a decent dinner but weren't able to relax because the waiter kept rushing us. He kept hovering over us while we ate and while we paid for the bill. After the meal was over and done with, we were poured more water without asking and then ten seconds later, our water was taken away. What an insult. This behavior really ruined what could have been a nice dinner. Don't expect any Greek hospitality here.
Felt like I was in Greece! – We read about Kefi in TONY and wanted to check it out randomly one early evening. Thank goodness we got there before 6.30 because the place was getting packed. It's very small, initimate but the service and food was amazing. This dinner rivaled our meals in Greece. Everything was super fresh and pretty affordable. I also had the Greek Margarita and it was yummy. I would totally come back.
better than any Greek food in NY -- and I live in Astoria!!!! – My friend and I arrived here after work on the advice of a co-worker.
We bought a bottle of Greek red wine and started with the 4 spreads appetizer served with hot pitas. The spreads were fantastic, although the "caviar spread" was a little too odd for me (the texture at least)
I had the shrimp and orzo, which quite honestly was the best I have ever had! My friend ordered the skirt steak which looked delicious!
I would highly recommend anyone to go to Kefi - but be ready for a long line and cash only! Better than any Greek food in NYC - and I live in Astoria and have tried all of the restaurants out there!
Best Greek on upper west – Kefi is a gem amongst utter garbage in the upper west side. The appetizers were good, maybe even the highlight of the meal. We got octopus, cod with scordalia, and sheep's milk dumplings; all on point. Entrees were a little less exciting but well executed. We lack knowledge of greek wines but our waiter was able to point us in the right direction as to what we were looking for. The only problem we had was thus: the menu is very summery. Almost all the items on the menu were comprised of summer ingredients, even though we ate here in mid December. Maybe there is no winter in Greece but there certainly is in NYC. Overall, we will be back, but probably not until mid august unless the menu changes drastically. Cheese flan rocks!
Amazing innovative Greek food and friendly staff – I read about Kefi on Citysearch and tried it out that Monday night with my family. We were a party of 6 and they put us at this small table in this room which was no bigger than a closet. Our waiter was very friendly and knowledgeable and when another table opened up in the main dining room, they moved us immediately, making for a very pleasant dining experience. The food was phenomenal. All Greek dishes with a great little twist. Everyone in my party was so happy and excited with their food, we passed around so everyone could taste each one. The taramousalata was incredible- better than some I even had in Greece!
Straight from the Crete – I simply adore Kefi. Michael Psilakis is certainly a genious. His spin on traditional Greek food is remarkable. The perfect octopus, the cremiest spreads, the softest meatballs and the most delicious mussels. All under $10 and with lots of interesting Greek wines to match under $25. I usually can make a meal with the above mezes, but I also love the branzino and the lamb shank if I have the appetite for a main course. It pays to be nice with the gentleman at the door because the bar area is always mobbed with customers waiting for a table in the charming back dining room. However, the waiters are always nice and polite and they remember my favorite dishes each visit. I am glad to have such a fantastic restaurant at these bargain prices in my neighborhood.
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