Ithaka – Plate smashing Greek eats in my hood of NYC! OPA!

Ithaka_Dining_Area_2

As most people who live on the Upper East Side know the 2nd Avenue subway construction has been greatly affecting the businesses in the area, and they need support, as many have gone under over the past few years. Not too long ago we took advantage of the first Restaurant Week of the Upper East Side with many eateries offering a 20% discount, or a $20.16 three course dinner in honor of the year this monstrosity is supposed to be completed. (I’ll believe that when I see it!) Now, as we often do when going out for dinner we normally stay close to our area. As creatures of habit sometimes we need to force ourselves to travel elsewhere but with so many terrific restaurants in our part of town to tempt our taste buds and tickle our palates there is really no reason to travel far from our apartment. One of the spots we like for some Greek delight is Ithaka. A long time mainstay serving up great food in a fun, classy, but casual environment.

Warm bread and pita pieces
Warm bread and pita pieces

Good thing we made reservations as the place was packed that night! As you walk in you are greeted by whitewashed walls with wood accents, Greek centric pictures and knick knacks hanging all around, dark wood beams centered across the white ceiling, curved arches reminicent of Greek architecture. It almost looks like a restaurant pulled right out of the movie “My Big Fat Greek Wedding”. Crowd definitely leans to the older side, as it looks like a lot of the senior folks who live in the hood are regulars here. The crowd even made us feel like youngsters eating at the kiddie table. It’s the type of place to bring mom and dad to when visiting. The special deal did bring in more of a mixed crowd though as it was filled with a diverse clientele. Who cares about the crowd as the food is what counts, and it is wonderful here! Totally fresh with a homemade comfort feel to it, as if an old Grecian grandma is cooking in the kitchen using her recipe book handed down from her mom and grandma.

Greek salad. Feta! Yum!
Greek salad. Feta! Yum!

As we sat down a basket of warm bread and soft pita slices were placed on the white tablecloth. Olive tapenade was a perfect and fitting spread. We chose a bottle of sparkling water that our waiter placed on ice to keep chilled. For our first course we both had a Greek salad. Basic stuff but with a very tasty dressing. As our main entrees we dove into the Vegetarian Mousaka – layers of eggplant, tomato, zucchini, potato, topped with béchamel sauce, and the Psari Plaki – their daily fillet of fish (striped bass) baked with feta cheese, fresh tomato sauce, fresh herbs, onions and garlic. Both came with rice, potato, and crisp vegetables. Nice plating too. I have to admit that both were outstanding! The fish was moist and flaky perfection. The mousaka was flavorful and filling. It even felt like we were eating wholesome and healthy prepared food which it realy was! Nothing frozen or processed here.

Vegetarian mousaka
Vegetarian mousaka

Now came the fun part – dessert! As I had been dieting there had been no room for much enjoyment, but I had to try the Loukoumades as our third course. These were warm, fluffy, drizzled with honey, sweet and zeppole-like. OMG. Good thing there were only two per serving, as I could have eaten a dozen of these! Perfect end to a satisfying meal.

Psari Plaki
Psari Plaki

The decor might be a bit stereotypical but it’s very clean, warm, and inviting. The Grecian look and feel adds to the overall charm of the place. The service on this evening was impeccable. I mean, our waiter Gus ( you can’t get more Greek than Gus! ), was super friendly and attentive. Not pushy at all and very cool with us ordering from the 2nd Ave Restaurant Week menu, even though he also presented us with the normal menu. At only $20.16 for a three course meal it was a terrific deal. We had more than enough food to fill us up and keep us content. Seemed like all of the staff here were top notch. Water glasses always filled, attentive waiter, and the manager came by to chat and see if we were enjoying our meals. The type of stuff that makes us want to come back to dine here again.

Loukoumades
Loukoumades

Definitely not the kind of dinner meant for take out or delivery, as I feel that would ruin it and take away from the home cooked sit down flavor and enjoyment. This type of food is meant to be savored hot and fresh at a leisurely pace. Sit down, relax, and enjoy!

Overall, it was a terrific deal to try out a spot that we had not been at in quite a while. Regular menu is on the pricey side, as many of the plates are seafood based and Greek specialties. Still would be worth it for a nice dinner out as the quality is well worth the cost. Can get a bit loud in there so its also a prime spot to bring those boisterous family units that like to laugh and be heard.

OPA!!!

ithaka_front-300x200http://www.ithakarestaurant.com/index.htm

http://www.yelp.com/biz/ithaka-new-york

Ithaka on Urbanspoon

40 thoughts on “Ithaka – Plate smashing Greek eats in my hood of NYC! OPA!”

  1. I’ve really got to stop reading this blog. I look at the fantastic places and food you mention and get excited. Then I remember: I live in Scotland. Home of haggis and blood pudding.

    1. Hey Fearless!

      You can have all the Massholes and Boston fans up there. Hope they all choke on their lobstah! That would be wicked awesome! 🙂

  2. “Crowd definitely leans to the older side, as it looks like a lot of the senior folks who live in the hood are regulars here. The crowd even made us feel like youngsters eating at the kiddie table.”

    Great line!

    Looks like a good place and, again, nice to see places coming with clever things (deals/meals etc.) to get people in their joint.

  3. I love the white paint with the dark wood and the tile floor. Looks very clean and chic.

    Sounds like a good meal at a very reasonable price. I’d definitely check this place out. (You had me at warm bread.)

    Patricia Rickrode
    w/a Jansen Schmidt

  4. I love Greek food, especially Greek feta cheese. I worked as a tourist rep for 4 months on Cephalonia (just next to Ithaca):) Looks like a really cozy place!

  5. Wow. I’ve actually been there once with the crazy Greek ex-boyfriend… He did know his Greek restaurants. That was definitely one that impressed. Makes me want to go back there with the super-nice husband. 🙂 I’m about to click on your Astoria pastry post…

  6. You always go to the coolest places, Phil! I love Greek food—got introduced to it back in the 80s on a student tour to Greece. Love the plate-smashing-dancing thing and oh my, did I meet a very attractive Greek dancer. He couldn’t speak a word of English but as they say, love is the international language….

    1. Hey Marcia!

      I’m just lucky to live in NYC where we have a ton of food diversity!

      Oh, you naughty gal. Taking advantage of an innocent Greek man for your lusty desires! Hope he made you scream out “OPA”!

  7. I’ve never eaten at a Greek restaurant before, unless you count Greek pizza! Everything looks great and that is quite a deal-worth driving out there from Iowa for a meal, right? Thanks for making me hungry once again, Phil!

  8. Mmmm! I love Greek food and that feta salad and mousaka looks amazing even though it’s just after 10a.m. in Germany right now and I should be going about my business. Who cares, with yummy food like that!
    With deals like $20.16 for a three course meal, you can’t go wrong. New York, here I come!!

    1. Hello Victoria!

      No one says you can’t eat Greek for breakfast! Sometimes I get an egg white omelet with feta in it. Can’t ever have enough feta!

  9. I love Greek food, but the closest restaurant to us with Greek food is about an hour away. Your food looks yummy, now I think I need to add a Greek dinner to my menu plan next week!

  10. Mediterranean cuisine is a food after my own heart. Though Mathair is an Irish Southerner through and through, my father is a full-blooded Italian and so Mediterranean food was always a staple in my home. Italian American cuisine was a constant as well, but it has a tendency to be very heavy and probably the reason why I was heavy most of my life. When I started my journey to losing the weight, I reverted back to the light and airy meals that my Nonna had specified were true Italian meals because of their simple yet rustic nature. Greece and Northern Italy have a tendency to mirror one another in that sense and so Greek food is true passion of mine. Now, for the real Ginger to stand up. You had me at zeppole! *tear* I would eat my freakin weight in those Loukoumades and not stop until my gut bursts and I died of gluttony.

    1. Hey Inion/Mathair!

      Just like you all I enjoy all types of cuisines. Living in NYC we are surely spoiled here with food from all over! Gluttony for sure!

Feel free to comment! We all have opinions!