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May 8, 2000 04:00 PM

Tarpon Springs Greek Restaurant

  • l

I know, I know...WHICH Greek Restaurant...there are probably dozens on the pier alone...but I can't remember the name of the one we visited about 5 years ago...we sat outdoors across the street from the pier where the fishing/touring boats left. About a block from the "sponge museum". I think it was one word, a name, apostrophe s.

Their garlic potatoes, souvlaki, greek salad (oh. my. gawd) were heaven. Ingested enough garlic to keep vampires away for at least a month. Followed by ice cold Greek beer. Someone, PLEASE tell me the name of this magical place. Want to recommend it to a friend.

And thank you, fellow chowhounds.

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  1. Is it possible you mean Lou? Pappas'??? If it's still there and as good as I remember, it's by now a relic
    (like I am!.)

    12 Replies
    1. re: pat hammond

      THAT'S IT!!!!!! Thank you SO much, Pat. I knew Chowhound would come through for me.

      1. re: lydia

        So glad I could help. AND it's great to know the spot is still there. I had many a great meal there. pat

        1. re: pat hammond

          Can I ask the two of you when you last ate there? I grew up in Tarpon Springs (a Sponger through and through), and Pappas' is universally derided as being overpriced, touristy and unexciting.

          My favorite Sponge Docks restaurant is Plaka, which is about halfway down on the left side. (The sign, cheesily enough, says "The Greek's answer to McDonald's.") I love their gyros, their garlic potatoes, their french fries.

          1. re: Beth

            I'm willing to bet you weren't born when I last was at Pappas' (early 1960s). pat

            1. re: pat hammond

              That's a bet I'm not unhappy to lose!

              But seriously, I'll elaborate on what I said about Pappas.' Locals rarely eat there unless they have guests who insist or are otherwise forced there for banquets and such. It's badly overpriced, and there's nothing more frustrating than spending a lot of money on a mediocre meal. Yes, it has a certain amount of ambiance and cache; it's right on the water, it's an attractive building, and everyone's heard of it. It's not that the food's awful, but this definitely isn't a case of "you get what you pay for."

              I *might* suggest it to people who I knew were much more swayed by ambiance than food (we all know people like that), but if Lydia's friends are looking for good Tarpon Springs-style Greek food, I'd strongly suggest Plaka. They'll save oodles of money, eat well and feel as though they've had a much more "authentic" experience (although, truth be told, the Sponge Docks are all about inauthenticity-- that's part of their charm).

              1. re: Beth

                It was YEARS ago, and we remember it was really good. We avoid touristy stuff, and maybe it was the inviting shaded sidewalk tables...the ice-cold beer...and the ouzo...that really did it for us...but no, the memories are good. How they are now could be quite different, but that's why chowhounds are always out there looking, never to lose a beat. Thanks for the heads up, and I will recommend Plaka's to my friends.

                1. re: lydia

                  Well, I just saw this and had to reply. I live in NJ, near Philadelphia, where there are many excellent restaurants, and some world-renowned ones, so I'm spoiled when it comes to dining out. However, I was NOT disappointed by Louis Pappas' resturant when I went there 2 years ago. The service was good, the food was fresh and well-prepared, and it was no more pricey than any other fine-dining experience in the area. The menu is quite varied, including Greek specialties as well as seafood, beef and poultry prepared in a more 'nouveau American' style. The pastries certainly satisfy a sweet-tooth, also. I would give this restaurant my recommendation for a fine family dining experience (a place to take your Aunt Hilda, who won't try anything 'foreign', when everyone else wants to try something new). If you're looking for 'authentic', this is probably not the place to go - but then, we had Aunt Hilda with us....

                  1. re: Kathy

                    Agreed... I have lunch in Tarpon on the second Thursday of every month... I eat at Costa's, mainly because of their Seafood Combo with the Squid grilled like the Octopus, not deep fried... The Smelts are fried and that's enough... It's a scene man!
                    Salad, Saganaki (OPAH! Cheese)... Can't beat it...
                    Nice people too! Nikki mainly...

                    But the time I popped into Pappa's I didn't know what to expect... Nice place, I felt underdressed but the skinny, 65+ year old, HARD WORKING waitress treated me like a grandson... I had the grilled Snapper with onions and peppers and oven roasted potatoes...
                    The potatoes were browned, garlikky and lemonny...
                    I tasted the coal grill on the juicy, perfectly cooked Snapper...

                    I loved that meal! And I loved my waitress who brought me bread till all the juice was gone off my plate. My bill was like $18.00, but I tipped her ten bucks. Hoping, along with my expressive smile, to communicate how much I appreciated her.
                    Fond memory of my trip to Pappa's...
                    Preciate the opportunity to write about it...

                  2. re: lydia

                    been several times to tarpon springs for greek food. ive eaten in probably a dozen diffents resteraunts. Costas down one of the side streets from the docks is always excellent. But by far Pappas is the worst of all. so touristy and tacky its good for one thing people who go to tarpon springs and want to claim to have had a greek meal. its the equivalent of people going to benihanas and claiming they had good japanese food. the people who know ..know not to go there.but hey to each his own and to many, average commercialized food is good to them. try Costas and make sure you get the Horta!!!!!!I live in Astoria New York now and the food at Costas is every bit as good as Elias corner or any of the other Greek resteraunts

                    1. re: david d

                      Its very over rated and mediocre:(
                      In a local paper, I noticed that Hellas Greek got a very good rating. I intend to try it!

                  3. re: Beth

                    Listen, being a young adult in the 60s was VERY cool!
                    As for the food at Pappas back then, we thought it was very good. I can't say how it would hit me now, with many more years and food experience behind me. It's a lovely spot in the world though. pat

                    1. re: Pat Hammond

                      Pappas was a great restaurant. Great food and good people. There are many good Greek restaurants in Tarpon Springs, having the largest Greek population of Greeks per capita in the US, but Pappas was one you can count on. It is now Louis Pappas Market Cafe, there are a handful of them and all are just as good.

        2. Thanks for the Costa's rec--I went there for lunch yesterday with friends and it was absolutely wonderful. This are the first place I've found in the Tampa Bay area that has horta (greens in lemon and olive oil-super addictive once you've tasted them) and their fried eggplant is delicious and greaseless. (The only thing I'd change is to ask for a substitute of their wonderful garlicy and fresh tzatziki sauce instead of their just so-so skordalia on the side.) The smoky grilled octopus is wonderful--closest thing locally I've found to what I've eaten in Greece. The saganaki was terrific, as was the caviar spread--the only thing that I wouldn't order again would be the spinich pie--strange flavor and almost no flaky fillo dough goodness. It's my new favorite Greek restaurant in Tampa Bay--I look forward to going back again soon.

          1 Reply
          1. re: laboheme

            They are my favorite as well. You can also get their coupons on which is great.

          2. Pappas's Restaurant is long closed being transformed into a wedding reception complex..........

            If you want great Greek Food in Tarpon, stay off the Sponge Docks and visit Mama Maria's just south of the Sponge Docks on Alternate 19

            The Original Mama Maria's Greek Cuisine
            503 N Pinellas Ave, Tarpon Springs, FL 34689

            2 Replies
            1. re: elks1719

              Pappas has sadly transformed into the Riverside Grille. I took my family there last week and had a horrible experience. The waitress could barely enunciate properly because she had a huge blue ball impaled in her tongue. She was nice enough but totally inept. She brought out three hot sandwiches, then our side salads came out AFTER the hot sandwiches were served.
              Then it took another 13...13....minutes to bring out the chopped salad for our forth person. The excuse was the chopped salad wasn't on the lunch menu and the salad guy wasn't in the kitchen when it needed chopping.....nuff said there. When we complained she basically ran from the table and left us with nothing left to drink until we flagged down another waiter and complained...A man named Chris came over to ask us what was wrong....we told him, he kept asking if the food tasted ok. We assured him the food was ok (and it was....ok) and he said he was sorry and would "take care of it for us, don't worry, its taken care of..."
              SO we finished our meal, expecting maybe at least the salad would be comped, or our drinks, but was presented with the full bill. WILL NOT BE GOING BACK. I am a 46 year old Pinellas native who has spent many happy times in TS at this restaurant and others and am very disappointed in this latest incarnation of the old Pappas building.

              1. re: Bear1101

                Sorry you had a bad time Bear. I went with some business associates on Friday 12 /17 and had a pretty good time. Our server was average but the food we had was excellent. The prime rib was cooked to the medium rare we all requested and it was one of the best I have ever had. One of our diners {Gerry} had jumbo {huge} shrimp and large bone-in pork chop that was tender and juicy. We did not have dessert or meet Chris. I will be back again for sure.