A Guide to Octopus in New York City, Mapped
Robert Sietsema's octopus recommendations in NYC.
1. Gregory's 26 Corner Taverna
Astoria, NY 11105
This obscurely located home-style Greek spot mainly coats its tentacles with oregano and lots of olive oil, and provides a side salad.
Situated in the shadow of the N-train tracks, this Cypriot restaurant takes the simplest and most elegant approach to the creature imaginable.
3. Taverna Kyclades
This restaurant over the First Avenue stop on the L is a branch of an Astoria favorite, and now the foremost provider of classic Attic octopus in the East Village, served with grilled toasts saturated with olive oil.
4. MP Taverna
Going against centuries of tradition, Michael Psilakis incorporates octopus into a salad with smoky black eyed peas at the Queens outpost of his chain of casual tavernas, smothering it in a thick mustard vinaigrette.
5. Seabra's Marisqueira
This Ironbound Portuguese seafood restaurant really gets it right: thick ropey tentacles with onions and scallions, flooded with lots and lots of olive oil, tendered in a generous serving. Hint: It tastes better sitting at the bar than in the formal dining room.
6. El Colmado
What goes better with octopus than spuds? At Seamus Mullen’s Gotham West outpost, the paprika-crusted arms are tossed with purple and white potatoes and piquantly dressed with a salsa verde.
By some miracle this old-guard Cuban lunch counter still persists near Times Square, turning out a delicious pulpo salad dotted with red peppers and green olives, very much in the Spanish tradition.
Bobby Flay gives a single smallish octopus tentacle an unexpected twist with sour orange and bacon, though the $17 price tag might seem excessive at his Spanish-leaning pan-Mediterranean.
9. Lobster House Joe's
This classic seafood palace offers an abundant octopus salad, enlivened with black and green olives, celery, and red peppers, including specimens of wildly divergent size
The Wisconsin-style pizza may be mediocre, but the octopus in the seafood salad showcases Michael White’s famous affinity for seafood, along with mussels and clams in a light lemony dressing.
Wrapping around the sinuous tentacles and providing verdant crunch, purslane joins creamy white beans in a salad unique to the world of octopusdom at Danny Meyer’s new Roman pizzeria, via chef Nick Anderer.
New York, NY 10014
At this slightly upscale offshoot of the beloved West Village pasta mill Malatesta, herbed octopus is treated as something to be heaped on a simple, well-dressed salad, with chicory providing a bitter kick.
At Jody Williams’ Buvette, celery provides crunchy counterpoint to the squish of the cephalopod, and olives give this delicious composition a saline edge.
14. Le Midi Bar & Restaurant
Sleeper Greenwich Village bistro Le Midi provides one of the most attractive settings for octopus imaginable: lying like railroad ties alongside potatoes, drizzled with pistou and napped with sunny tomato confit – the soul of Provence.
15. Boulud Sud
Marcona almonds, arugula, and orange segments in sherry vinaigrette share the plate with octopus at this Franco-Mediterranean DB restaurant.
New York, NY 10031
Lightly poached octopod is further "cooked" in lime juice flavored with purple onions and cilantro, served as a cold citrus soup garnished with a periscope of fried plantain in this splendid ceviche.
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Staten Island, NY 10306
This strange restaurant, intended to evoke ancient Troy, Greece, and Rome, offers the kind of sliced octopus terrine you can readily find at Brighton Beach markets, composed of tentacles attractively presented in cross section.
New York, NY 10003
At sushi specialist Hasaki, the classic Japanese octopus app also features cucumber, seaweed, and yellow daikon pickle in the lightest dressing imaginable, allowing the rubberiness to shine.
19. Ajisen Ramen
New York, NY 10001
Chuka idako is a red-cooked baby octopus stew popular in Japan and Hawaii, made from a recipe that probably originated in Malaysia. Find it at this otherwise mediocre ramen restaurant.
20. NY Tofu House
New York, NY 10003
This short-lived St. Marks Korean offered a tangle of baby octopi smeared with red chile sauce in a bibimbap lunch special.
21. Uncle Boons
Delectably grilled, the baby mollusks at Uncle Boons come with charred lime and a spicy nam prik dipping sauce.
Polo Dobkin treats octopus like a bathing beauty in this hyper-attractive presentation flavored with chorizo, basil oil, and thin strips of glistening red pepper.
23. Telepan Local
Bill Telepan and chef-de-cuisine Joel Javier have annealed the beast with red wine, garnished it with almonds and parsley, and dropped it in a puddle of tart yogurt.
Thomas Chen takes a single perfect tentacle cooked golden and deposits it on a gravel of pork xo; as the dish is served, the chef pops out of the kitchen and squirts on the brown butter foam, for an unexpectedly great (and great looking) dish.
25. Empire Diner
New York, NY 10011
Treating octopus as an additional element of a standard Greek salad is the idea behind this app at Amanda Freitag’s nine-month-old diner, with mint and feta providing flavor highlights.
Dave Pasternak takes his inspiration from the Spanish province of Galicia, charring a paprika-coated tentacle and bedding it with smoked peppers.