Loi Estiatorio, a Greek dining room founded recently by celebrity chef and Greek transplant Maria Loi, is our favorite Greek restaurant in New York. Of course, Astoria, Queens is known for their Greek establishments and Manhattan isn’t short of its own Greek offerings, but Loi Estiatorio, on West 58th Street, stands out amongst the crowd. A commitment to quality, fresh ingredients and innovative preparations helps the restaurant stand strong above its competitors and offer something unique in a very crowded market.
The restaurant is located in a bustling area, near Columbus Circle. But, you might never know it’s there if you weren’t looking for it. And, not finding it would be unfortunate. I spent an evening at the restaurant over dinner and thoroughly enjoyed every moment. Without fail, each dish brought to the table was better than the last. From the Greek red wine chosen by the owner for its rare complexity, to the pikilia (smattering of spreads), the homemade bread, the spanakopita (spinach pie) or olive oil drenched calamari – it was all fantastic.
Main courses included dishes like lamb chops, psari sto alati (salt baked fish) and porgy. For dessert, oh the dessert, I indulged in Ms. Loi’s famous flourless chocolate cake, baklava and ekmek kadaifi (shredded phyllo, custard, cinnamon and whipped cream). Ms. Loi brought several of the dishes herself to my table, explaining each one – which was a delight. She made the rounds, speaking to each guest personally, as well.
At the end of the night, the staff bagged-up Ms. Loi’s amazing homemade Greek yogurt, olive oil, tomato paste and pasta for me to take home. What an amazing surprise that was. The Greek yogurt is the best I’ve tasted, even better than that I had in Greece last summer. For those who love real Greek food, made from the best ingredients one can find, Loi is the only place to be.