November 4, 2009

Kefi: Wonderful Greek gem on the UWS

Owned and operated by Chef Michael Psilakis and restaurateur Donatella Arpaia (both often seen as judges on various Food Network shows),  Kefi has been one of our favorite neighborhood gems.  It serves the best rustic, comforting Greek food.  With appetizers under $10 and entrees under $20, Kefi is one of the best deals in the city. 

It was originally located on W 79th Street in a smaller space but is now in a much needed two-level space a few blocks away.  Unlike the old space, the new Kefi takes reservations, credit cards, serves lunch, but retains much of the same, affordable menu items that brings in the crowds.

Our drinks of choice:  At left is an affordable, fruity and balanced Xinomavro wine from Boutari (Greek, of course!) and a crisp Radebeger Pilsner (ok, it's German) on draft is always a good pick.

Greek Salad ($6.50):  This is our favorite Greek salad in the city!  It is so light, fresh, and crispy. There's so much flavor with the olives, feta cheese, pepperoncini, red peppers, finely shredded lettuce, and extra virgin olive oil.

Grilled Octopus Bean Salad ($9.95) with tomatoes:  The octopus is meaty and tender while the white bean salad is nicely marinated. 
Sweetbreads ($7.95) with spinach, crispy shallots, and garlic:  We cannot get enough of this rich dish - the sweetbreads are pan roasted and the sauce is very garlicky.    
Pan seared striped bass ($15.95) with green beans, potatoes, caspers, and olives.  With crispy skin and flaky meat, this fish entree was simple but satisfying.  We love food cooked with just olive oil as it allows the pure flavor of fresh vegetables to shine through.
Grilled swordfish ($16.50) with tomatoes, cauliflower, and olives:  This is a meaty fish - it's like the steak of fish - and was perfectly seared.  The vegetables were earthy and like most dishes here, cooked with olive oil and lots of garlic.
Flat pasta, pulled braised rabbit, and graviera cheese ($11.95):  There's a nice almost sweet taste to this hearty dish.  The cheese is melted and the rabbit is tender. 
Shrimp, Spinach, Orzo, Feta, and tomatoes ($13.95):  There were four very large and plump shrimps in this dish.  The orzo is wonderfully plump and
We love this place and hope they bring back our favorite dish from the old location:  Moussaka.  We asked our server and she said that the chef was not happy with the consistency of the dish so it was taken off the menu.  We told her if they needed taste-testers for the dish, we'd be more than happy to volunteer!

Kefi is located at 505 Columbus Ave (at W85th St) in NYC. 


  1. Wow that's pretty close to where I live! Boutari ... I went wine tasting at their Santorini vineyard. We loved the Santorini 2007 White wine. One question, do they use pine nuts at their restaurant? My boyfriend is deathly allergic ... anaphylactic shock ... have to carry his epipen around!

  2. yum! this place sound amazingly delish

  3. Another great looking post of mouthwatering food. So envious you live in NYC!

  4. @Jenn - We're probably neighbors! We did not have pine nuts in our dishes, but I would contact the restaurant directly before you go (and it's best to phone and make a reservation there anyway). One of my best friends is allergic too and have had to bring the epipen out once.

    @Jessie: Definitely give this a try - dinner's better than lunch in my opinion because the entree selection is richer.

    @Mardi: We'll soon be in San Fran - another great dining town!

  5. Wow your photos are amazing! This looks great!

  6. WOW nice place and super review. The photos make me want to hop in the car and eat there. However, I think the drive from SW Florida is a bit much! Thanks for the taste of NYC!

  7. Sounds like an excellent place! We love Boutari Naoussa wines!

  8. I'm pretty sure Michael Psilakis and Michael Symon are the same person, and Food Network is just trying to make itself look like it has more chefs working for it.

  9. Amazing -- everything looks delicious on this post! What a lovely treat to have this so close to home and the prices are great. I love restaurants who balance out their business and the happiness of customers with quality food at reasonable prices.

  10. keep forgetting that I need to try this place out. Prob can take the crosstown bus from my place and be there in two minutes!

  11. @Simply Life: Thanks!

    @Red Kathy: haha! If you ever spontaneously decide to drive up to NYC, I hope you'll let me know so I can come up with a foodie tour for you!

    @5 Star Foodie: Love having wines from all over the world!

    @plumpdumpling: You're so funny!

    @WP: I agree! I love when chefs cater to all price points in their restaurant portfolio - like Kefi or Bar Boulud.


  12. Thanks for the tip! Can't wait to try this place out. I just moved to NYC from LA less than a year ago and I'm still trying to discover all the wonderful little gems.

  13. @DhaleB: Welcome to NYC! There's so much to try in this town so if you need any specific recommendations, feel free to email us!

  14. I want those pan roasted sweetbreads! Great review :)

  15. I recently used one of your photos on my newly launched blog, (don't worry, I gave you credit,) that I found via google images. Anyhow, it led me to your blog and I must say, I LOVE it. I'm a super foodie. Love your reviews and your photography.

  16. Thanks for visiting my blog Elizabeth! Your blog is beautiful too! In addition to food, I love fashion and design too so I can wait to read/see more on your blog! Thanks for crediting my photo! =)


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