You're in for a delicious meal at Plaka Estiatorio, conveniently located in the Jackson Heights shopping center on 31st Avenue. This quaint Greek eatery offers wonderful fresh fish, delicious meat and an array of Greek specialties for all to enjoy. They will even deliver if you prefer. Anna and Alex Theodoropoulos make you feel at home as you unwind in the comfortable dining room. Whitewashed walls are adorned with blue shutters dressed in lace and Hellenic artifacts. Sturdy wood tables covered in white and blue linens rest on rustic wood floors.
The open kitchen shows the skilled grill men at work and a refrigerated case filled with ice holds the day's catch. Porgy, red snapper, bronzino and striped bass were some of the offerings when I visited, all fresh from the ocean.
Sevy, the very pleasant, attentive server, suggested we start with saganki, a generous slice of haloumi cheese that is pan fried and finished with a splash of brandy. A squeeze of lemon enhances the flavor of this mouthwatering cheese ($8). We also shared some outrageously delicious grilled calamari, which were supremely fresh, tender and perfectly grilled with a lemon and olive oil. You can also order fried calamari which are breaded and fried till golden brown, served with wedges of lemon and a zesty tomato sauce, scented with a touch of cinnamon. Loukaniko are handmade Greek sausages that come off the grill crispy on the outside and juicy inside, as do the the hand made meat balls called keftedes. Creamy dips, such as melitzanosalata (eggplant), taramosalata (caviar), and revithosalata (chick peas), are yummy, spread on thick slices of warm, crusty bread. A table of diners can share an assortment of four dips, and all the appetizers at Plaka offer plenty to share, which is an integral part of Greek culture. Don't forget traditional Greek salad with feta and olives, or horiatiki, loaded with juicy tomatoes, cucumbers, feta cheese and olives ($9). A carafe of the house red wine was the perfect accompaniment to this special meal.
The fresh fish at Plaka cannot be beat, and I enjoyed a whole red snapper, grilled to perfection and drizzled with olive oil and lemon to enhance all the natural flavor and juices of this flaky fish. Next time, I'll try the grilled octopus, which can be ordered as a main course or an appetizer. Lightly battered codfish is fried until crisp and light then served with garlicky potato dip called skordalia. Plump shrimp get a quick pass over the hot grill, or you can choose to have them stuffed with clams and bread crumbs. Enjoy a seafood feast when you order the broiled seafood combination. There are even some pasta dishes such as shrimp Plaka. These tender shrimp are sautéed in Greek liqueur called ouzo , tomatoes
and feta cheese, then served over a generous portion of linguine ($22.50).
Plaka has fabulous Greek specialties such as rich mousaka layered with ground, seasoned meat and béchamel sauce, and pastitsio, a Greek version of Italian baked ziti. Share a hunk of spinach pie or just take one to go home with you for tomorrow's lunch. Tender, baby lamb chops, called paidakia, are served sizzling hot from the charcoal grill and are savory and delicious. Juicy pork chops, rib-eye steak and tiny quails are all cooked to order and served piping hot. Shish kebab is one of their specialties, made with marinated pork or chicken. For perfect comfort food, try the half roast lemon chicken ($13). All meat and fish entrées are served with your choice of rice, their addictive lemon roasted potatoes, or horta greens.
Plaka serves an economically priced lunch menu from 11am to 3pm when you may choose among the classic gyro, souvlaki or chicken shish kebab sandwich or platter.
Sandwiches are piled into pita bread and platters are served with rice or potatoes. The falafel wrap, vegetable wrap or chicken wrap with Greek salad makes an ideal lunch, as do their crunchy salads and hearty soups, such as avgolemono. Call in your lunch-time order for free fast delivery.
Sweeten your palate with baklava, dripping with honey and nuts, or rich golden cake sweetened with honey. Enjoy a rich cup of coffee, cappuccino or espresso to finish off your meal nicely. Plaka Estiatorio is a comfortable, neighborhood restaurant welcoming families large and small, and couples who want an intimate meal together. Call Anna to arrange a private party and leave the rest to them so you can enjoy your guests. Call for delivery to your home or office. Plaka Estiatorio is a slice of Greece in Jackson Heights. Opa!
75-61 31st Avenue
Jackson Heights, NY • 718.505.0515