Mediterranean food has a rich following for its delicious and evolving flavors and ample health benefits. The cuisine draws on minimally processed ingredients, unsaturated fats, and lush amounts of produce. The Mediterranean consists of countries like Albania, Algeria, Croatia, Cyprus, Egypt, France, Greece, Israel, Italy, Lebanon, and more.
And if you’re aching for a vacation to the Mediterranean but can’t get away, at least you can taste the vibrant flavors from the region here in NYC. So if you are looking to whisk your taste buds away, we know just the best Mediterranean restaurants in town!
1. Estiatorio Milos, Midtown West
It doesn’t get much fresher than Estiatorio Milos. Here you’ll find traditional Mediterranean seafood including tsipoura and loup de mer fish, as well as an array of octopus and squid offerings for the more adventurous. The high quality selection of delicious seafood means you’ll likely spend a little more than some other Mediterranean restaurants in NYC, but the price is well worth it.
Estiatorio Milos has two locations in New York, with their main outpost in Midtown West and another location in Hudson Yards.
Where: 125 West 55th Street, New York, or 20 Hudson Yards, Fifth Floor, 500 W. 33rd Street, New York
2. Shoo Shoo, Nolita
Step into Tel Aviv’s bohemian cafe culture with a NYC twist at Shoo Shoo. The timeless restaurant prioritizes grass-fed organic proteins, whole grains, and seasonal vegetable to star in their shareable plates.
The space is also home to a speakeasy bar that’s available for private event bookings. Learn more here!
Where: 371 Broome St &, 173 Mott St
3. Shukette, Chelsea
This lively restaurant in Chelsea, helmed by The Bowery Group and partner and chef Ayesha Nurdjaja of Shuka, offers a wide array of breads & dips, small plates and mouthwatering entrees like Joojeh chicken and Fish in a Cage.
The inviting space seats up to 74 customers and makes for the perfect date night, group dinner or special occasion spot!
Where: 230 9th Ave, New York
4. Jack’s Wife Freda, Various Locations
Though a bit of a tourist spot, Jack’s Wife Freda is a reliable and casual Mediterranean stop in NYC. There, you’ll find a large space accommodating fast eaters and chatterboxes alike.
The food here is a mix of traditional Mediterranean fare and American diner staples. You can find excellent matzo ball soup and a Grilled Eggplant Baguette with roasted tomato, mozzarella, olive tapenade & pesto. You’ll also be able to sample hot-sauce marinated chicken kebabs. In the mornings, stop by for a cup of Stumptown coffee and a pastry.
Founded by Maya and Dean Jankelowitz, Jack’s Wife Freda will make you feel at home with its Mediterranean flair and NYC diner vibe.
Where: Multiple locations
5. Balaboosta, West Village
Balaboosta may well be one of the best Mediterranean restaurants in NYC. But first things first, what does Balaboosta mean? The Israeli chef and owner, Einat Admony, says the term is used in Jewish culture to describe a homemaker with all the skills of a domestic goddess.
Take one step into Balaboosta and you’ll see why Admony named her restaurant the way she did. Take a whiff of the combined spices and flavors that color Admony’s eclectic cuisine here, which features dishes from India, Europe, the Middle East, and even South America.
You can cozy up with a menu staple like the Lamb Neck, or try something new, such as the Shrimp Kataïf.
Where: 611 Hudson Street, New York
6. Souvlaki GR, LES
Restaurant collection, Souvlaki GR, now has multiple locations in New York, including their iconic food truck in Lower Manhattan. All locations offer, as the restaurant’s slogan proclaims, “a little slice of Mykonos.”
You won’t find a more authentic dish of souvlaki anywhere else in the city. All of the restaurant’s Greek staples would hold up in Greece, carrying on the delicious traditions that New Yorkers still flock to years after the introduction of the food truck.
Where: LES – 116 Stanton St; Midtown West – 162 W 56th St; Midtown East – 231 E 53rd St
7. Au Za’atar, East Village
Lebanese/Middle Eastern cuisine is highlighted on owner and head chef Tarik Fallous’ menu, with tantalizing bites. Whether you’re stopping by for mezze or tableside shawarma, you’ll be delighted by the flavors in every dish.
Where: Multiple Locations
8. ilili, Flatiron
ilili is a perfect place to go if you want to explore the flavors of Lebanese food. Here, you’ll find delicious falafel with a crisp crust, unbelievably light pita bread, and beautiful entrees such as the Fattoush which is a Lebanese garden salad with toasted pita, and sumac lemon vinaigrette.
Where: 236 5th Ave
9. Shuka, SoHo
Ayesha Nurdjaja is the executive chef at Shuka and has made a name for herself with her delicious and flavorful cuisine. In 2022 Nurdjaja was a James Beard Award Finalist Nominee, and it certainly shows in her menu and the restaurant’s aesthetic.
Nurdjaja and her team have long been focused on utilizing local ingredients while staying true to a Mediterranean tradition in their Soho spot. With beautiful spaces to eat both inside and outside, you’re sure to have an excellent Mediterranean experience at Shuka.
Be sure to try their new seasonal cocktails like their Tangier, made with spicy tequila, pineapple, sesame and lime or their Bursa featuring gin, mastiha, elderflower, and cucumber cordial. You can also get the whole table involved with the Shuka Feast, which features all the staples from the menu including falafel, turmeric rice, and a fine selection of meat and vegetables.
Where: 38 MacDougal St
10. Bustan, Upper West Side
Bustan’s team prides itself on keeping the traditions of Mediterranean food alive while adding elevating twists. If you want hummus and other types of spreads, this is your place.
If salad is more your speed, Bustan offers a wide range of crunchy delights, such as the Israeli or Greek salad. If you’re looking for meat, look no further. Bustan also offers dishes like the spiced lamb kebab and roasted “pargit” (chicken thighs).
Where: 487 Amsterdam Ave