Add one more swanky dining destination to the Wharf. Fancy Greek restaurant Limani officially opens Wednesday, November 15, with three levels of waterfront views. The restaurant also has locations in New York’s Rockefeller Center, Chestnut Hill, Massachusetts, and Charlotte, North Carolina—but this is its largest yet, with seating for more than 500.
Seafood is a main attraction here, with charcoal-grilled whole fish and an extensive raw bar selection. Co-owner/chef M.J. Alam is very finicky about his fish: “We’re working with local [seafood] purveyors that we probably are scaring the shit out of right now,” says executive chef Lonnie Zoeller. Anything that doesn’t meet Alam’s high standards, he sends back. “That’s a three times a week occurrence right now. It will be daily once we’re open.”
Zoeller, whose career has spanned from Zaytinya to Georgian restaurants Supra and Tabla, has also been impressed by Alam’s seafood knowledge: “He can identify fish from island to island.”
The restaurant prides itself on only using Greek olive oil, no butter. The kitchen also doesn’t use any deep fryers. Instead, one of the restaurant’s signature dishes “Limani chips”—thin, crispy slices of zucchini and eggplant—are breaded and pan-fried. “It’s a little scary having your whole career or fryers and then realizing you’re going to do 400 to 800 covers and you don’t have fryers,” says Zoeller.
Another signature is the grilled octopus with shaved onions, peppers, and capers. The octopus is sourced from Tunisia because “that’s the highest quality octopus,” Zoeller says. The menu also includes a lot of familiar Greek classics—from spanakopita to moussaka—along with some twists like a “Mediterranean ceviche” paired with gigantes beans and feta.
The wine menu includes more than 160 mostly Mediterranean and Greek labels. Cocktails include some Mediterranean touches too, like a French 75 with pomegranate, but you’ll also find a spicy margarita and a “VIP-tini” with pineapple-infused vodka.
The dining rooms, spanning more than 16,000 square feet on three (elevator-accessible) floors, also have a VIP feel with ocean-blue booths and white-clothed tables overlooking the marina. One section features dandelion chandeliers modeled after those at New York’s Metropolitan Opera House. Another has mirrored walls covered in glass sculptures handcrafted in Greece. Other high-end touches you can’t see, like the expensive soundproofing panels in the ceiling. The top floor offers a (slightly) more casual bar with indoor/outdoor terrace—perfect for spying on the mega yacht anchored below.
Limani. 670 Wharf St., SW.