For nearly 100 years, Fantis Foods, owned by the Makris family, has been importing high-quality Greek food into New York City. They owned a warehouse in the once-industrial neighborhood of Tribeca, and 10 years ago they realized that with their abundance of top-notch imported Greek fare, they could open a restaurant and cut out the middleman completely.
Thus was born Thalassa, which opened inside that warehouse on Franklin Street between Hudson and Greenwich Streets in November, 2002. It helped to revitalize a neighborhood that had just begun to transition, and it remains a jewel today.
The front lounge area is home to a custom-made curving marble bar as well as custom-designed cocktails including a Greek pear martini and an ouzo mojito. A spread of super-fresh raw seafood lies beyond that, showcasing the best fish Greece has to offer along with the largest shrimp you’ve probably ever seen.
The main dining room features a ceiling of white billowing sails, blue mood lighting, high ceilings, and a live guitarist on most nights. It’s a spacious room that gives each table ample space, and there’s also a giant wine room downstairs and loft upstairs that make for great private parties.
As for the food, as prepared by chef Ralpheal Abrahante, you can tell that the Makris family saves the best items they import for the restaurant. A scallop is wrapped in buttery shredded phyllo dough; sliced octopus is marinated, massaged, and roasted for three hours until it’s falling-apart tender; fish is prepared simply, and flown in fresh daily. There’s also a stellar selection of Greek wines and cheeses.