NEW YORK – Thalassa Restaurant, 179 Franklin Street in Tribeca, Manhattan, opened its doors fifteen years ago, and since 2004 has received a total of 39 awards and high marks from Forbes magazine, Zagat, Wine Spectator, Wine Enthusiast, and many more.
Reviews in The New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Forbes, The National Herald, the local media, Yelp and other social media all highlight the dedication of this restaurant to Greek gastronomy and the Mediterranean diet.
The restaurant’s name Thalassa- “the sea,” its sign reading “Eat Fish Live Longer,” and the charming decor evoke the Aegean islands.
Thalassa is more widely known to TNH readers since it is a Greek restaurant and often presents the work of Greek artists. Greek winemakers have also presented new varieties of Greek wines at Thalassa.
The Greek community holds many social events at the restaurant including corporate receptions, charity functions, and other events.
The restaurant’s general manager, Tasso Zapanti attributes Thalassa’s success to the vision of Julia Makris and her family as well as the innovative company importing Greek products and wines, Fantis. Fantis Foods is one of the oldest Greek companies in North America, roughly the same age as the National Herald.
Asked about Thalassa’s clientele, Mr. Zapanti said the restaurant is a destination not only for the Greek community, but also for politicians, artists, and stars of all backgrounds.
Each of the restaurant’s three floors offer something special and unique. The high ceilings, rare in a New York restaurant, add a distinct quality to the dining experience.
The artworks, the different lighting on each floor, the bar, the winepress, the fishing net, the bar display cases decorated with white sails, the wine displays, and the stairs leading to the two upper floors impress the visitor and suggest the seafood dishes about to be enjoyed.
The secret of success is that everything starts and ends in the quality and authenticity of all products.
“When fish and seafood are fresh, they need no more than three ingredients,” Zapanti noted, pointing to extra virgin olive oil, lemon, and capers.
“First-time customers always return with more friends the next time, not only because of the welcoming environment, but because of the impeccable service and quality food,” he added.
One of the great achievements of the Greek diaspora restaurants and chefs was introducing the Greek salad to the wider American audience, he said.
“The quality of the salad depends first and foremost on the quality of tomato, cucumber, olive oil, and feta. We use organic products that include extra virgin olive oil and Greek feta. We differ from many other restaurants because we have the privilege of importing olive oil, feta, halloumi, kefalotyri, and other cheeses directly from the producers in our native land,” Zapanti said.
A view of the charming interior of Thalassa Restaurant. Photo: TNH/Costas Bej
Asked about the wine cellar, he said there are over six hundred kinds and that Greek wines amount to three hundred.
Besides, it is no coincidence that customers select and prefer Greek wine varieties to go with the restaurant.
“Greece has indigenous grape varieties and produces quality Greek wines equivalent to French and others. In recent years, great progress has been made on the production and standardization of Greek wines, and many have been awarded prizes,” Zapanti said, noting that Thalassa restaurant is an ideal platform for the presentation of Greek wines.
“Our customers do not just come here to eat, but they also come for the experience, for the family atmosphere, and the hospitable environment. From the time they enter the restaurant until the time they leave, the experienced and talented waiters serve them with a smile and a keen willingness to do their best for them,” he said, recalling that the “customers are not only tasting the exquisite food and drink, but also Greek hospitality and philotimo.”
Thalassa Restaurant’s Main Dining Room seats 120 and can accommodate up to 180 people, the Wine Cellar has 60 seats and a reception area for 120 people, and the Gallery Loft, seats 120 and up to 200 people for a reception.
More information about Thalassa is available online at: www.thalassanyc.com.
A welcoming lounge area at Thalassa Restaurant in Tribeca. Photo: TNH/Costas Bej