12 Greek Restaurants in the U.S. Where Wine Is Golden

Pair refreshing cuisine with top wines at these destinations

12 Greek Restaurants in the U.S. Where Wine Is Golden
Calissa brings Mediterranean cuisine to the Hamptons. (Courtesy of Calissa)
Oct 6, 2022

You don’t need to travel to scenic island vistas and luxurious beach resorts to dive into Greek cuisine. Light, fresh and seafood-centric, it’s an ideal match for any locale or time of the year, and tastes even better when paired with world-class wine. These 12 Wine Spectator Restaurant Award winners with Greek menus also showcase the country on their wine lists, creating cohesive, authentic experiences.

This is just a small sampling of standout wine spots. For more wine-and-food destinations around the world, search all of Wine Spectator’s Restaurant Award–winning restaurants, including all our Grand Award recipients.

Do you have a favorite you’d like to see on this list? Send your recommendations to restaurantawards@mshanken.com. We want to hear from you!

Note: Opening hours and menus are subject to change as the industry continues to adjust to evolving regulations..


Amali

115 E. 60th St, New York, N.Y.
Telephone (212) 339-8363
Website www.amalinyc.com
Best of Award of Excellence

 People dining in the tasting room at Amali, Sopra, with brick walls, a wooden table, wooden chairs and a view into the stainless-steel kitchen
Amali enlivens the classic ingredients of Greek cuisine, pairing them with a similarly focused wine list. (Courtesy of Amali)

Not far from Central Park, Amali brings elevated Mediterranean cuisine to Manhattan’s historic Lenox Hill neighborhood. Relying on sustainably sourced ingredients, chef Alex Tubero’s menu embraces both traditional mezes and charcuterie, Spanish octopus and Moroccan spiced lamb saddle alike. Wine director Kylie Monagan’s 500-selection list spotlights producers using environmentally friendly practices across Greece and Spain, with even more from Italy, France and beyond. And Amali will waive its $55 corkage fee for any bottle that is “rare, unique or exceptional in quality,” provided that a glass is reserved for the team to taste. During the week, the restaurant offers a prix-fixe lunch menu and nightly aperitif hour; on Sunday evenings, a trio of Broadway musicians performs a selection of crowd pleasers.


Avra Madison

14 E. 60th St., New York, N.Y.
Telephone (212) 937-0100
Website www.theavragroup.com
Best of Award of Excellence

 Shrimp, mussels, crab legs and other seafood on ice at Avra Madison
Fresh seafood is central to the dining experience at Avra Madison. (Courtesy of Avra Madison)

With three locations in New York, and two more in Miami and Beverly Hills, Calif., Avra is a leader for Greek cuisine in the U.S. Like its sibling restaurants, Avra Madison looks to make guests feel as if they’ve been transported to one of Greece’s many seaside taverns, with an upscale twist. Executive chef Fermin Chaves sources many of Avra’s recipes from co-owner Nick Tsoulos’ family and experiences while growing up in the coastal village Nafpaktos. Guests can expect the likes of chicken grilled in Mediterranean herbs, braised giant lima beans, Chilean sea bass souvlaki and a wide range of other seafood and Greek classics. (A three-course prix-fixe lunch menu is also available.) Greek grape varieties feature heavily on wine director Johnny Kozlowski’s 700-wine, Best of Award of Excellence–winning list, joined by bottles from Champagne, Burgundy, California and Italy.


Dio Deka

Hotel Los Gatos 210 E. Main St. Los Gatos, Calif.
Telephone (408) 354-7700
Website www.diodeka.com
Best of Award of Excellence

 Dio Deka’s double-cut lamb chops with roasted potatoes
Dio Deka's menu features Greek classics like grilled lamb. (Dio Deka)

In the centrally located Hotel Los Gatos, in Silicon Valley, Dio Deka delivers an upscale experience infused with the values of traditional Greek hospitality. At 1,100 labels, the wine list is one of the largest among Greek-cuisine Restaurant Award winners. Wine director Jeremy Dennis has curated a stellar collection of California wine, with cult favorites such as Screaming Eagle and Harlan Estate. France and Italy also stand out, as does Greece of course. Enhancing Dio Deka’s authentic feel is chef Nikos Moulinos’ menu, which opens with traditional small plates like grilled octopus and tzatziki (served with fresh-baked pita), before leading into larger dishes like mesquite-grilled branzino and Australian lamb chops.


Estiatorio Ornos

252 California St., San Francisco, Calif.
Telephone (415) 417-3969
Website www.michaelmina.net
Best of Award of Excellence

 Estiatorio Ornos’ dining room
Estiatorio Ornos is one of the many stellar spots overseen by chef Michael Mina. (Courtesy of Estiatorio Ornos)

Part of chef Michael Mina’s restaurant group—which includes Best of Award of Excellence–winning Bourbon Steak and Stripsteak locations—Estiatorio Ornos offers San Francisco diners elevated takes on Greek cuisine in a lively atmosphere. (Mina opened a sibling location in Miami in 2020.) Inspired by Ornos Beach on the island of Mykonos, Mina’s restaurant focuses on shareable seafood. The Ornos team flies this bounty in daily at the direction of a “fish sommelier,” who also provides tableside recommendations to diners. Chefs Nikolaos Georgousis and Daniela Vergara prepare a range of spreads and salads in addition to the raw bar and fish dishes: sea bass, lobster and phyllo-crusted Petrale sole, for instance. Alongside this cuisine, Mina Group corporate wine director Jeremy Shanker oversees more than 2,000 wine selections, focused particularly on Greece, along with Champagne, Burgundy, Tuscany and other regions.


Molyvos

402 W. 43rd St., New York, N.Y.
Telephone (212) 582-7500
Website www.molyvos.com
Best of Award of Excellence

 People dining in the interior of Molyvos
Molyvos maintains one of the country's largest exclusively Greek wine lists. (Jeenah Moon)

The Livanos family has a long history in New York dining, starting in 1957, when John Livanos moved to Manhattan from Greece and worked as a dishwasher in his uncle’s restaurant. Today, multiple generations help run the family’s restaurant empire, which includes Molyvos, a Best of Award of Excellence winner named for the village where the Livanos family originated. Contemporary takes on Greek classics are paired with 740 wines on wine director Kamal Kouiri’s exclusively Greek list. The program stretches from northern Macedonia to southern Crete, offering a comprehensive primer on Greece’s diverse wine styles. Molyvos’ longtime 7th Avenue location closed during the pandemic, but the restaurant has since reopened in Hell’s Kitchen.


Nerai

55 E. 54th St., New York, N.Y.
Telephone (212) 759-5554
Website www.nerainyc.com
Best of Award of Excellence

 Nerai's poached lobster with squid-ink linguini in Metaxa bisque
Nerai's poached lobster with squid-ink linguini in Metaxa bisque (Courtesy of Nerai)

Earning its Best of Award of Excellence in 2019, Nerai has been a beacon for Greek dining in Midtown Manhattan. Wine director Dimitrios Karagiannis’s 500-wine list spotlights Greek wineries, like Domaine Katsaros and Tselepos. Rounding out the list are standouts from France (especially Burgundy), California and Italy. Karagianni spotlights smaller, family-owned producers throughout, but guests will find benchmark names too. These are often the focus of winemaker dinners hosted at the restaurant. For the menu, chef Aaron Fitterman uses classic Hellenic cooking techniques while adding a broader Mediterranean twist on classics. The results are dishes like duck moussaka served with chanterelle-fig jus and Maine lobster in lemon aioli.


Andros Taverna

2542 N. Milwaukee Ave., Chicago, Ill.
Telephone (773) 365-1900
Website www.androstaverna.com
Award of Excellence

 Dining room at Andros Taverna with arch shaped mirrors on the wall and bell jar shaped lighting fixtures hanging
Andros Taverna brings a contemporary spin to its Greek cuisine and décor. (Hsing Chen)

Since opening in 2021, Award of Excellence winner Andros Taverna has not only provided guests with delicious, contemporary Greek cuisine, but an education in Greek wines as well. Wine director Alexandria Brashear oversees a 120-selection list of almost exclusively Greek wines; she encourages guests to learn more about them by providing details on Greece’s local grape varieties and leading producers, such as H. Hatzidakis. The restaurant frequently hosts dinners with Greek winemakers, letting guests explore Greece’s bounty further. These wines are paired with chef Doug Psaltis’ menu, which offers new takes on classics with dishes like prawn saganaki and barrel-aged feta with vegetables, along with a variety of mezes.


Calissa

1020 Montauk Highway, Water Mill, N.Y.
Telephone (631) 500-9292
Website www.calissahamptons.com
Award of Excellence

 Diners outside at Calissa with lights hanging on strings overhead and a pergola nearby
Calissa's team distills Greek cuisine and wine into an enchanting Hamptons experience. (Courtesy of Calissa)

Featuring fresh fare, an outdoor garden and live music from big-name performers, Calissa—the more purely Greek concept from the team behind Amali—offers high-energy Hamptons dining in Water Mill, N.Y. Chef Bob Abrams prepares a range of distinctive mezes, plus entrées, including salt-baked turbot grilled simply with citrus, herbs and Cretan olive oil. If you’re in a sharing mood, don’t miss the astakomakaronada, a 2-pound lobster pasta with tomato confit, tarragon and fennel pollen. Wine director Kylie Monagan’s 260-selection list focuses on Greek wines, which are categorized based on their resemblance to better-known international varieties. The program has strengths in France and Italy as well, among other regions, and the selection of rosé (including large-format options) isn’t to be missed.


Kiki on the River

450 N.W. N. River Dr., Miami, Fl.
Telephone (786) 502-3243
Website www.kikiontheriver.com
Award of Excellence

 The dining room at Kiki on the River, with a neon Kiki on the River sign, mirrored walls, flowers hanging form the ceiling and chairs around a square bar
At Kiki on the River, floral elements help create an enticing atmosphere for enjoying Greek cuisine. (Courtesy of Kiki on the River)

With colorful lighting, a neon sign and plants throughout its dining room, Kiki on the River offers Miami diners Greek cuisine in a lively atmosphere. A significant part of this experience lies in wine director Marius Zemache’s 185-label list, with bottles from France, California and, of course, Greece, among other regions. Mixing more casual bottlings with rare gems, the diverse beverage program includes well-known names like Péloponnèse’s Skouras, Bordeaux’s Pétrus and Ribera del Duero’s Vega Sicilia. (There is also a separate cocktail list with colorful illustrations of Kiki’s mixed drinks.) This means there’s plenty to complement chef Steve Rhee’s menu of Greek and Mediterranean dishes: octopus braised in olive oil and chicken with avgolemono emulsion, for example. Notably, Kiki on the River offers guests yachting trips to enjoy its cuisine at sea.


Molos Restaurant

1 Pershing Road Weehawken, N.J.
Telephone (201) 223-1200
Website www.molosrestaurant.com
Award of Excellence

 A table set for four with wine glasses at Molos Restaurant, with a nighttime view of Manhattan.
A meal at Molos Restaurant comes with sweeping views of the New York City skyline. (Molos Restaurant)

On the New Jersey side of the Hudson River, Molos Restaurant offers time-honored Greek cuisine enhanced by a hard-to-beat view of Manhattan’s skyline. The restaurant doubled the number of labels on its wine list in 2019, expanding its higher-end Old World options and adding large formats and half-bottles. While California and Italy are strong in wine director Julio Paris’ program, many of the 210 wines hail from Greece, representing producers such as Alpha Estate and Boutari. Dine on an assortment of dips and mezes, plus selections from the in-house seafood market: Dover sole, Mediterranean sea bass and red snapper for two. Executive chef Michalis Bakakos and chef de cuisine Nicholas Poulmentis prepare fish with traditional simplicity, grilling it whole with olive oil, lemon and oregano. There’s also saganaki, a flaming cheese served tableside, for fans of dramatic presentations.


Omega Ouzeri

1529 14th Ave., Seattle, Wa.
Telephone (206) 257-4515
Website www.omegaouzeri.com
Award of Excellence

 The modern-design dining room at Omega Oueri with blue and tan colored wooden chairs, wooden tables, a large blue mural on the wall and wooden, labyrinth-like shelves for wine bottles
Guests can explore a wide range of Greek producers and wine styles at Omega Ouzeri. (Suzi Pratt)

Located on Seattle’s Capitol Hill, Omega Ouzeri represents owners Rebecca and Thomas Soukakos’ devotion to Greek cuisine. Thomas, the chef and wine director, has assembled 120 wines for the Greek-focused list, stretching across a range of regions, varieties and styles, from Nemea Agiorgitiko to Naoussa Xinomavro to Syrah from Crete. Representing some of the country’s leading wineries, the program is a thorough introduction to Greece’s wine and earned an Award of Excellence in 2022. Alongside these wines, Thomas prepares a variety of classics, including a variety of mezes: zucchini fritters, tzatziki with pita, taramasalata with tobiko roe. For mains, guests can look to grilled octopus with potato salad, chicken souvlaki with avocado tzatziki and whole grilled sea bass with crispy garlic, to name just a few.


Thasos Greek Taverna

3330 E. Oakland Park Blvd. Fort Lauderdale, Fl.
Telephone (954) 200-6006
Website www.thasosrestaurant.com
Award of Excellence

 The dining room at Thasos with cream-colored, woven-seat chairs and wicker chairs, and a white chandelier hanging over head, and a sculpture that gives off the appearance of bone
Enjoy authentic cuisine and breezy vibes at Thasos Greek Taverna. (Thasos Greek Taverna)

In a bright, airy space that’d look right at home on the coast of Santorini, Thasos Greek Taverna brings authentic Greek dining to Fort Lauderdale, Fla. Owner and co–wine director Sophia Mylona built the 245-selection wine list to champion a range of Greek wine styles while satisfying fans of other Old World regions. She now oversees the list alongside Gus Leontarakis. California is a another primary focus, with bottles from well-known producers like Stag’s Leap and Honig, which sit beside leading Greek names like Skouras. As for the food, chef Akis Lambiris lends a contemporary touch to Greek classics for dishes like watermelon with feta in a balsamic glaze, scallops with cream of corn and a filet mignon skewer.

Edited by Collin Dreizen, Emma Grant and Kenny Martin


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