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Help? Good Greek (Restaurants/Stores) in Northern Virginia?

  • c

I have a real dilemma. We are looking for good Greek restaurants or stores in the area. I've dined at some mediocre places (the Mykonos grill in Rockville, and some place in the Clock Tower in Herndon that didn't really do it for me).

We are tired of driving around and trying new places only to find them overrated and disappointing. Can any Chowhounds help? What I wouldn't give for a real, authentic feeling Taverna right about now...

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  1. There used to be a really good store in the Bailey's Crossroads area, down near the Fortune and Duangrat's restaurants. Its not on Route 7, but it is just a few doors north in a strip mall.

    7 Replies
    1. re: Bob. B.

      I think that's Aphrodite mart, although the name Minerva is also coming to mind. I haven't been in several years because we moved out of the neighborhood, but they always had an excellent selection of cheeses and olives and such.

      Also, while not limited to Greek, the Mediterranean Bakery on Pickett Street in Alexandria (between Duke & Van Dorn, same plaza as the huge Home Despot) is a wonderful resource for ingredients for all cuisines bordering the Mediterranean. They have olive, cheese, and pastry counters. And inexplicably, they have one heck of a hot sauce collection!

      1. re: PollyG

        Well, I'm rather partial to Taverna Cretekou located in Alexandria on King Street (just west of Washington). You can't miss the Greek Flag outside. The food is good, if a little expensive. Of course, ask to be seated outside in the back (assuming it is warm enough).

        /\/

        1. re: Nikos

          My favorite is Athena Pallas in Crystal City. Family-owned, neighborhood atmosphere, authentic Greek, moderate prices. Good luncheon specials.

          Link: http://www.athenapallas.com/

          1. re: John M

            Thank you everyone for the great suggestions! :)

            1. re: Chowgirl

              For serious Greek food:
              Taverna Cretekou is good for Lamb and appetizers
              Athena Pallas good lamb
              Taverna Greek Isles on Capitol Hill, good rabbit, good fillo layered lamb casserole
              Yannis in Cleveland Park, best Spanakopita, great lamb, great charbroiled octopus leg
              Parthenon in Chevy Chase Circle the longest appetizer list in the metropolitan area and amazing roast lamb, and fried eggplant with skordalia dip, also on weekends ovgolemano lamb and artichoke, this place I consider the best
              Zaytinya in Downtown DC is very good for the squid with spinach and several other Greek mezes

              1. re: Chowgirl

                For serious Greek food:
                Taverna Cretekou is good for Lamb and appetizers
                Athena Pallas good lamb
                Taverna Greek Isles on Capitol Hill, good rabbit, good fillo layered lamb casserole
                Yannis in Cleveland Park, best Spanakopita, great lamb, great charbroiled octopus leg
                Parthenon in Chevy Chase Circle the longest appetizer list in the metropolitan area and amazing roast lamb, and fried eggplant with skordalia dip, also on weekends ovgolemano lamb and artichoke, this place I consider the best
                Zaytinya in Downtown DC is very good for the squid with spinach and several other Greek mezes

            2. re: Nikos

              I can second this recommendation. I have been eating there for almost 30 years (since I was 15 years old) and it is one of my favorite restaurants. My very favorite item is the fried kasseri cheese. Heaven!

        2. The Greek Taverna in McLean is excellent for SPECIFIC dishes:
          1. Their daily lamb specials of which there are perhaps three that rotate. All three are excellent.
          2. Shrimp w/ feta cheese appetizer. Delicious.
          3. Hummus or tzatsiki (sp.?)
          This is a restaurant where you really need to know what to order since much of it is mediocre.

          1 Reply
          1. re: Joe H.

            I second Greek Taverna.

            I love the lamb dish that comes in a clay pot (can't even remember what it's called). Their swordfish special is also good.

          2. Am in the same boat! (So to speak). I have been hearing rumors of a new Greek Store coming to the Hamilton, VA area. Katarina's is the name (I think). Heard it was opening this coming Spring from someone at the 6th Annual Ashburn "Taste of Greece"....

            1. Very casual, just one step above a take-out, so no atmosphere and not fine dining, but the food at the Plaka Grill in Vienna was very good recently.

              1 Reply
              1. re: Elder Berry

                I'll second Plaka Grill. Also Skorpios down the street. Both very casual and affordable with generous portions.

                Since this thread started, Cava Mezze has opened several shops. Excellent grilled octopus, but their gyro is that horrible zero-prep bologna strip stuff I find inedible.

              2. Try Vaso's Kitchen just north of Old Town (oppposite side of the Parkway from the Potomac River). Good food, good prices. Family owned. Small.

                2 Replies
                1. re: Bart Hound

                  Vaso's opened a second location in the old Bistro Lafayette space, but I haven't been

                  http://oldtownalexandria.patch.com/gr...

                  Not Greek per se, but Pita House does excellent gyros, souvlaki, lamb shanks, and mezze.

                  1. re: Bart Hound

                    i liked vaso's too -- but it isn't a strictly greek menu (which may be a plus, unless you want a deep greek menu). good prices, friendly service. uncomplicated, relaxed and a nice spot for conversation. also, for good weather, some outdoor seating.

                  2. There is a nice place in Ashburn called OPA! Mezze Grill. I haven't had a lot there but I really love their stuffed grape leaves (beef an rice). I took my family there for a meal of mezze and everyone enjoyed the meal very much.

                    1. athena pallas near crystal city is good. they have lovely whole fish! sort of an old-fashioned place, with white tableclothes, older waiters, friendly atmosphere, relaxing.