For a place that is as memorable as Kellari Taverna, it goes fairly unnoticed on a pretty generic street in Midtown. It’s once you’re inside that you immediately get that wow factor. The ceilings are impossibly high and make you feel like you’re out in Greece somewhere with the wooden detailing. There are also the grandiose floral arrangements that are very impressive.
It’s hard to believe that the restaurant has gone under the radar for so long as it’s been in the same spot for almost 15 years. The place was packed though, so maybe just under our radar. We could believe the busyness of the restaurant, even just from the impeccable service. From the hostess to our server, everyone was so welcoming and made you feel at home.
Our server began with recommending a great white wine from Santorini to accompany our dinner and we also tried the Green Tea cocktail, which is great for those that like a more tart than sweet adult beverage. We also received complimentary bread with delicious hummus and tasty kalamata olives, which fit the Mediterranean vibe.
The #1 thing you come here for is the seafood, especially since Kellari is known for offering sustainable seafood, a buzzworthy topic given the state of the world. They even have a fresh fish display with larger than life examples of what you can order.
We chose to begin with the octopus, scallops, and a traditional Greek salad. Everything was super fresh in the salad, especially the tomatoes, almost like they went outside to pick them. The feta cheese on top was the salty addition the doctor ordered. The scallops were seared to perfection and the cauliflower puree it was served on complimented the flavor profile of the dish. The figs added an unexpected sweetness.
The combination of the hummus with octopus was also a great choice. Not to mention the size of the octopus was tremendous! Very meaty but also juicy on the inside and crispy on the outside.
For our main course we were able to split the Salmon as the portions are huge! Again, you could tell how fresh the seafood was and it was cooked perfectly where the fish was tender and flaked apart seamlessly. The lentils and beets added a complexity to the dish that was welcome. If you need to skip anything, it may be the Patatas Fournou, the traditional Greek potatoes, as the dishes stand on their own and you really don’t need sides.
We skipped dessert because the meal was so filling, but will be back to try more. This place is perfect for work functions, family dinners or even date night. Come here for your next Greek meal fix and you’ll be glad you did. Opt for any of the seafood paired with their curated wine selection and we’ll see you there!
19 West 44th Street
New York, NY 10036
– Stephanie Carino
Photos via Kellari Taverna and by Jenny Yuen