505 Columbus Ave, New York, NY | Directions 1002340.785807 -73.972664
Mon 5-10 pm, Tues-Thurs noon-3 pm, 5-10 pm, Fri-Sat noon-3 pm, 5-11 pm, Sun 11 am-3:30 pm, 5-10 pm
Neighborhoods: Upper West Side, Midtown
Star chef Michael Psilakis aimed to take Greek food into the American mainstream; and with Kefi to some extent he succeeded. It's always crowded and the fine food and modest prices are obviously the reason why. If there were more Kefis octopus might be as popular as veal.
I Love This Place@ – Whenever I visit my college friend on the UPS we go to Kefi. The place is always lively and the food is truly great. I enjoy everything. In particular I love the meatballs, pita spreads and last, but not least, the sheep milk dumplings! AMAZING! Not sure if the offer the special menu but they offer a three course menu at $39.95 where some of the aforementioned items are available - can't beat it! Will always go back- craving those dumplings now!
Kefi - July 3, 2010 – Whatever you have read about Kefi's lamb burger, believe it. So, read other reviews, and come back here.
Preliminary hurdle: Tactile Test - Pass
What does a good burger need? It is not a trick question. You think it is meat? Well, that is more like an assumption: We cannot even start a semi-intelligent discussion about burgers without good meat. So, try again. OK, let me tell you, then: The biggest hurdle, which throws off many, in fact, most burgers, is the buns. Allow me retract the word - "buns" - because it is associated firmly in my mind with that soggy, sloppy, soft weakling of baked starch, which if called "bread," I am sure, most of the boulangeries in France will either have a riot or a heart attack. Yes, it is that piece of yellowish carbohydrate you usually get, which cannot withstand the liquid goodness of the meat without disintegrating.
Thankfully, Kefi uses real bread, which is of well-balanced firmness to stand up to the juice emanating from the lamb (I refuse to use the word, "patty." Don't you think it sounds rather, well, idiotic?). Now, I can proceed with the taste examination.
Meat: Good - Juicy and very tasty, but was it lamb? You could have fooled me. I am not complaining, but was it lamb or veal or beef or what? Or has genetic engineering advanced to a stage to breed a hybrid of all three?
Meat with bread: Good - Bread had enough good wheaty savoriness but not so much to fight against the lamb.
Meat with bread, plus feta cheese - Outstanding. Feta, feta, feta, where have you been? Blue cheese is delicious, but you are lovely on my palate, too.
Refreshingly cool salad: Good.
Home-made potato chips: How can it be bad?
Fantastic, Affordable Greek – Michael Psilakis’ Kefi is very delicious Greek at very affordable prices. The atmosphere rustic and comforting, Kefi dishes out bold, refined plates of pork souvlaki, grilled swordfish, crispy Greek salads, and mouthwatering meatballs (which I highly recommend). Service was great, and reservations are widely available.
A bit disappointing – Recently had dinner at Kefi; a long awaited visit. The place was packed - good sign. Drinks were good, octopus appetizer was great. The rest of the food was mediocre at best - they seemed to be VERY generoud with the olive oil, and stingy with the lemon on the lemon potatoes. There are definitely better Greek places in Manhattan.
Improved with New Location – Since there are so few good restaurants on the Upper West Side - and by good I mean serving well-made and well-priced food in nicely designed spaces - Kefi stands out as a bright star. Unfortunately, because there are so few good restaurants this far up in the neighborhood, the good ones tend to be enormous and crowded. Kefi is both. Fortunately they now take reservations.
The food is well made - seemingly with an emphasis on seafood. Though there are pasta, lamb and other obvious Greek classics on offer, the real gems, in my opinion, were the fresh and incredibly delicious fish dishes.
Recommended for smaller groups that can make their way up and down steps to get to the much less crowded lower-level dining area.
Affordable Greek has Finally Arrived on the UWS – Kefi has been one of our favorite restaurants since it opened. It moved from it's humble space on 79th St., to a very large space on Columbus, but maintained the same menu, and more importantly, the very reasonable prices.
My favorite dish is the hanger steak. It's probably the best steak for under $15 anywhere in NYC. Other notable dishes include the calamari, pork sulvloki, bronzino and lamb chops special. The kids menu is terrific too.
Great food, reasonable prices – I was at Kefi with a friend on the early side of Wednesday evening. We got seated right away and there were still empty tables. By the time we left, the whole place was crowded. The food was great, we had the appetizer of spreads, I had sheeps milk dumplings with sausage. We split a bottle of wine and the bill was still really reasonable. We were also served very quickly, but that could have been the early hour.
Overcrowded, Loud, but Food (and pricepoint) Makes it 3 stars – The new space at Kefi is huge - and much nicer than its previous subterranean space on 79th street. Unfortunately, there is absolutely nowhere to stand while waiting for a table (meaning you should expect to get pushed and shoved and stared at by other hungry diners) and the decibel level, especially in the cavernous downstairs, is deafening. On a recent Saturday night, the three of us we were crammed in two person table with no apologies and a table of six next to us were screaming at each other just to be heard. I agree with the critics - the signature dishes are worth a visit - rabbit pasta, selection of dips, shrimp with orzo, meatballs - and are priced well to be economical. However, the environment tests the patience and willingness of this diner to return on any regular basis.
Greek superstar Michael Psilakis's comfort-food venue moves to a bigger, two-story space, but with the emphasis still on low prices and high-level execution. – Michael Psilakis aimed to take Greek cuisine to a three-star level with Anthos, but it's at Kefi, his casual comfort food venue, that he's most loved. Though relocated, the restaurant is the same blue-and-white Greek taverna decor you might expect, and the food, as before, is simultaneously rustic, refined and shockingly assertive. On the menu: baccala, crispy-fried cod with garlic potatoes and tomato, grilled octopus with bean salad, and Hilopita, baked pasta with rabbit ragout and bechamel. Psilakis has also rolled out a new menu of Greek sandwiches and pastas. There's even an Ouzo shot machine to complete the good time feel.
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