Perched in the heart of it all is Greek Islands, a Herculean restaurant seating nearly 400 people that has kept diners satisfied with mousaka, shishkabobs and baklava since 1971. One of the most popular Greek restaurants in the city, Greek Islands imports its quality extra-virgin olive oil, wines, cheeses, herbs and seafood directly from Greece to create the ultimate authentic dining experience.
The voluminous menu epitomizes the Mediterranean diet, made with only natural, fresh, and healthy ingredients. The appetizers come both hot and cold and are the perfect way to prime your stomach for the main course. Wise choices include the taramosalata (considered Greek caviar), grilled pita bread or the famous flaming saganaki cheese. The soups and salads are also made from scratch and are a great way to kick off your meal.
Fresh seafood flown from as far as 5,000 miles away takes up a hefty chunk of the main menu. Greek sea bass, red snapper and Atlantic salmon, all prepared Greek style, are just a few of the choices. Other favorites include the gyros plate with seasoned beef and lamb, pastichio (baked pasta, ground meant and cheese casserole with béchamel sauce) and dolmades (grape leaves stuffed with rice, ground meat and herbs). If you're a lamb-lover, order the roast leg, roast loin, kokkinisto (braised in tomato sauce), arni fournou (baked), arni aginarato (with fresh artichockes), the options are endless. The savory dessert menu is a sweet way to top it all off. Try traditional galaktoburiko (custard flavored with orange and lemon rind and baked in phyllo dough) or sokolatina (fluffy layers of chocolate cake).
Family-style dining, a Greek tradition, is also a popular option. Your party can share one of three family-style meals: a perfect way to taste test a plethora of yummy Greek foods. Despite its popularity, reservations are usually not necessary thanks to Greek Islands' gargantuan size. If your party finds itself without a table, just head to the cocktail lounge and sip a Molon Lave, a dry, fruity white. Free valet parking.
Average cost: $10-$20
Centerstage Reviewer: Lauren Ziel