Not to be mistaken for Ashley Madison – the dating website promoting casual affairs – Avra Madison is a gourmet Greek restaurant, also setting tongues wagging in Manhattan. Far more seductive in our books – and a delicious date destination at that!
Just yards from Central Park, this staggering 207-seat bi-level beaut offers exec chef Ralph Scamardella’s traditional Greek fare emphasising fresh-caught, charcoal-grilled seafood. A whopping 7,000 sq ft larger than its original space, grandiose new features include 8-foot lemon trees and wall-mounted salt sculptures by Brooklyn’s Fernando Mastrangelo, suggestive of the sea.
Giant amphoras dot the Rockwell Group-designed interiors, but most of the decor is a restrained cream dream, with curvy pale banquettes, simple stripes, white marble, oak and bronze, and beehive-shaped glass pendant lights. Greenery and stone evoke a Med island villa feel, with a groaning table of surf-and-turf produce – from fish, lobsters and prawns to lemons, peppers, chillis and mangoes.
Lounge tableside or perch on high chairs at the counter bar, ideal for a Santorini Martini pre or post (Bombay Sapphire gin, grapefruit liqueur, cucumber and basil make for a refreshing mix). At dinner, kick off with octopus carpaccio or ouzo-spiked mussels, then hit the raw bar for oysters, clams or shrimp and lobster cocktails, before ordering sashimi or whole fish by the pound. Steamed wild mountain greens and Greek salads ensure a healthy night out, unless you go bonkers for baklava. Opa!
Avra Madison / 14 E 60th St / +1 212 937 0100 / lunch & dinner daily / avrany.com