Mon-Thu, 10am-midnight; Fri-Sun, 9:30am-2am
34th Ave. to Triboro Plaza, 24th St. to 44th St.
Ovelia distinguishes itself from the area’s crowded Hellenic market by doing something completely different. It pairs a taverna menu with a nightclub setting that acts as catnip to young Greek-Americans and recent Manhattan expats. Amiable owners the Giannakas family run the corner spot with sleek white décor, a buzzy bar, and house music. The place gets culinary cred from a home-style kitchen helmed by brother Peter. Their appetizer-centric menu is well-suited to grazing and people-watching. Grilled octopus is tender enough to cut with a fork, and spanakopita spinach pie is encased in pastry-quality phyllo dough. Traditional dips—tarama cod roe, tzatziki yogurt-cucumber, skordalia potato-garlic, and mashed feta spiced with Japanese hot green peppers—spring to life atop exemplary pita bread. The savory louganiko sausage is made in-house, its gamy pork and lamb flavors sparked by ground orange zest; it is offered solo or in a toothsome roasted-meat platter. Spit-roasted lamb shoulder is a frequent, worthwhile special; moussaka and a variety of ocean-fresh fish, simply grilled the Aegean way, all satisfy. Dessert—honey-drenched loukoumades fritters—is on the house, all the better to linger longer and get into Ovelia’s lively groove.Recommended Dishes
Grilled octopus, $12.50; pikilia dip platter, $15; pikilia meat platter, $21; moussaka, $13.50