Periyali is not your father's Greek restaurant. It's your grandma's, and she's drunk on ouzo in the back with her friends.
Open since 1987 (seriously), Periyali has been a staple of Greek dining in our city for a very long time. The restaurant got a facelift in 2006 to keep up with the changing times (see, computers), and as a result feels a bit more modern than you might expect for a place that's 27 years old. But make no mistake that this is a relic from another era.
When it comes to the food, Periyali is responsible for much of what one might call "Modern Greek Cuisine" in New York City. OK, nobody actually calls it that, but they did make this particular kind cooking viable in upscale restaurants. People weren't serving grilled octopus and moussaka on white tablecloths before this place existed.
Fast forward to 2014, and Periyali is still serving up some pretty damn good Greek dishes - especially that previously mentioned octopus. There are, however, a lot of sleepy items on the menu that won't leave much of an impression, and the wine list could most definitely use an overhaul. But if you stick to some of the classics and pretty much anything lamb, you'll be in good shape. It's also worth noting that Periyali has a big back room that plays often plays host to some pretty lively parties. Maybe keep that in mind just in case someone special has a birthday coming up. Your Nana is gonna tear this place down on her 80th.
Food RundownOktapodi Sharas
Octopus that's been marinated in red wine and then grilled over charcoal. Arguably the best plate of octopus in the city.Horiatiki Salata
Your classic Greek salad, with tomato, feta, cucumber, red onions, and olives. This should be on your table.Spanakopita, Tiropita, Kolokithokeftedes
Spinach pie, cheese pie, and that word with six K's in it apparently means "zucchini fritter." All three are simple and tasty.Fava Kremidaki
Basically a fava bean hummus. You probably don't need to order this. It's fine, but there's just not a ton of flavor here.Souvlaki Kotopoulo
Your typical chicken kebab, served with a vegetable couscous. The chicken is nicely cooked and has good grilled flavor, but otherwise there are better options on this menu.Branzino
I have no idea what the Greek word for branzino is, but I'm guessing it has about 8 syllables and uses the letter P as a vowel. Anyway, this is a fantastic and simple plate of fish, and you should order it if available. It's typically a special.Kouneli Stifado
One of the best and most well known items on the Periyali menu. This rabbit stew is hearty and not at all gamey. A good order on a cold day.Mousakas
Layers of eggplant, ground lamb, and cheese sauce. You aren't gonna be mad about it.