Nikola Karvelas Talks to TNH about Korali Estiatorio in NYC

The elegant interior of Korali brings Greece to Manhattan. Photo by Georgios Kalogeropoulos

NEW YORK – Korali Estiatorio, 1662 3rd Avenue in Manhattan, was recently featured in Forbes as one of the Greek restaurants “having a moment” in New York City, but those in the know have long been aware of the delicious, fresh Greek cuisine served at the Manhattan eatery. Best known for its wonderful seafood, Korali is one of the top restaurants in the city. Among its excellent choices, vegan and gluten free items are also on the menu and many Greek wines on its list. The elegant interior offers a mini-vacation to Greece for those enjoying a meal. Nikola Karvelas, General Manager at Korali, spoke with The National Herald about the restaurant and about the competitive business environment in New York.

When asked if he always wanted to go into the restaurant business, Karvelas told TNH, “Yes, since I was a kid, I loved food, flavors, my mom’s recipes. I love cooking so I trained as a chef back home in Greece and then inevitably went into the restaurant business. My ultimate dream is to open my restaurant. One day…”

About his home town, he said, “I am from Peloponessos, Kalamata, a region known for its extra virgin olive oil, black Kalamata olives, traditional Greek cheese, figs, and grapes.”

KORALI estiatorio

Posted by Korali Estiatorio on Sunday, February 4, 2018

Of what inspires him about food, Karvelas said, “Flavors and smells from home, mom and grandma cooking, me tasting everything I could imagine. Spices, everything I can feel with my hands and taste with all my senses.”

When asked if there is a great deal of pressure to stay on top in such a competitive environment, he told TNH, “In every environment it is tough but especially in New York with such a demanding customer base. I see this as a good challenge and an opportunity to position Mediterranean food as a healthy cuisine and diet for Americans since its reputation hasn’t been widespread in the last decades. This is an excellent opportunity for all Greek Chefs to promote new and exciting dishes to the American customer.”

Lavraki at Korali. Photo by Georgios Kalogeropoulos

Karvelas also spoke to TNH about the most popular dishes at the restaurant. He said, “Greek salad with vine-ripened tomatoes, grilled Mediterranean octopus, the lamb shank giouvetsi (wonderful flavors!) and the fresh fish arriving from Greece daily.”

His own favorite dishes include “the oven baked feta cheese and the Chilean sea bass plaki with traditional Greek potatoes.”

When asked what customers can look forward to when they make a reservation at Korali, Karvelas noted that “we have multiple ways to book a table at Korali, and we are committed to providing excellent customer service at all times. And most importantly always great food!”

Octopus at Korali. Photo by Georgios Kalogeropoulos

About the future of Korali and if there are plans to expand, Karvelas told TNH, “We have plenty of plans and expansion is undoubtedly one of them.”

He noted that Lefkada, Greece-native “Ioannis Berbeis, the owner of Korali Estiatorio from day one, also has another two restaurants [Telio and Perfecto] on Manhattan’s Upper West Side.”

It should also be noted that Korali’s assistant manager Georgios Kalogeropoulos shared his splendid photographs with TNH.

More information about Korali Estiatorio is available online: and by phone: 646-964-5470.

Korali Estiatorio, 1662 3rd Avenue (corner of 93rd Street) in Manhattan, is open Monday-Thursday 11:30 AM-10 PM, Friday 11:30 AM-10:30 PM, Saturday 11 AM-10:30 PM, and Sunday 11 AM-10 PM.

Baked feta cheese with tomato, green peppers, oregano, red crushed pepper. Photo by Georgios Kalogeropoulos
Among the dishes available at Korali, biftekia and Greek fries. Photo by Georgios Kalogeropoulos
Mix grill at Korali. Photo by Georgios Kalogeropoulos
Lamb giouvetsi at Korali. Photo by Georgios Kalogeropoulos