Avra Estiatorio

Avra is a wonderful Greek gem on the East Side and a favorite for fresh Mediterranean seafood. The beautiful space is so cozy and warm you feel transported to a Greek Isle home. Whitewashed walls, limestone floors, fresh flowers everywhere, comfortable couches in the bar area, intimate booths, a bountiful raw bar, rough hewn woodwork and a wonderful outdoor patio on a not very busy street make this a very special place.

What is unique and wonderful about this restaurant is that they specialize in freshly caught fish purchased through select European exporters and with special arrangements with local purveyors at the New York Fulton Market. Fish is grilled on charcoal with fresh lemon-olive oil and herbs in cages whose handles are bent away from each other. This done so that the fish is kept elevated from the fire, therefore cooked evenly with crisp skin. The fish is then cleaned of all the bones and seasoned with salt, pepper, oregano and a light lemon and olive oil sauce. The head and tail are left on.

Many of the fish are species of which you have never heard, like Loup de Mar a white, mild, moist, sweet, fish very popular in Europe especially France & Greece or Rouget: a Mediterranean Red Mullet, very bony but extremely tasty and sweet when pan-fried.

Don’t feel like fish? The grilled organic chicken with oregano fries is to die for.

The wine list is interesting with many Greek choices (ask for help) and very reasonably priced. After dinner there are many single malt scotch, grappa, port and coffee drink specialties.

Weather permitting, ask for a table outside. Inside, ask for a wall booth. This restaurant has it all; ambiance, great food and wonderful value. Don’t miss it. Additional location on the Upper East Side.

ROMANTIC QUOTIENT: Medium, this is a lively place, not necessarily the most intimate for romance.

The Mediterranean meets Manhattan at this fabulous upscale East Side Greek seafooder that’s always jammed with seekers of meticulously prepared meze and perfectly grilled fish; look past the noise and Olympian per-pound pricing ┬ájust focus on the fresh catch. ZAGAT