Looking around the room at Pylos, a longtime Greek restaurant in the East Village, you’ll see clay pots hanging from the ceiling, pillows on all the booths, a lot of couples on dates, and at least a few people in suits who probably don’t hang out in the East Village that often. Which should tell you two things: it’s a slightly upscale place, and it has Greek food that people travel for.

For us, Pylos is more of a back-pocket spot than a destination restaurant. And that’s exactly why we like it. It’s the kind of place you want to remember when a few of your friends end up being available for a last-minute dinner, or when you try to get into a newer East Village spot, and they quote you a two-hour wait. It’s always busy here, but you can usually get a table or seats at the bar in a reasonable amount of time.

The long menu doesn’t have many real misses, but for us, there’s one correct way to eat here: focus on the appetizers. Fill your table with the fried zucchini, grape leaves, halloumi, saganaki, meatballs, and pita and dips, and you will be very, very happy with how your night has panned out.

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