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Where to go for Greek food in L.A?.

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I miss the Greek Town area back in Chicago, where you can pop in to most any restaurant for a great, reasonably priced mean with excellent service.

I was quite surprised when I mentioned Saganaki to a group of L.A. native coworkers and that had never heard of it, even when I described it!

So this leads me to wonder -- are there any good Greek restaurants in the L.A. area? I would be especially happy to find one in the SFV or SCV. TIA for any suggestions!

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  1. That's an easy one. Papa Cristos - Pico and Normandie, right on the corner. It's not in the valley, but it's worth going over the hill to eat there. They have a Family Dinner night - I think it's Wednesday. Plus the market/prepared foods to go. Yummy taramasalata.

    2 Replies
    1. re: Suger Jones

      What he said. Try the grilled Octopus. Their Tsatsiki is to die for.

      1. re: mattesq

        Concur on both counts. Octopus is charred lovingly and incredibly tender (none of that rubber band texture you get from seafood that's been overcooked) and the tsatsiki is better than anywhere else.

        Mr Taster

    2. That's an easy one. Papa Cristos - Pico and Normandie, right on the corner. It's not in the valley, but it's worth going over the hill to eat there. They have a Family Dinner night - I think it's Wednesday. Plus the market/prepared foods to go. Yummy taramasalata.

      1. There used to be a place in Claremont by the colleges called Yianni's. It was really good and they had excellent saganaki - lit on fire at your table and all.
        Try to google it - do not know if it's still there.

        1. As said, Papa Christo's, not a fancy place, but good Greek food: http://www.papacristo.com/ The family dinner night is Thursday.

          Also there is a relatively new Greek restaurant in Manhattan Beach, which I haven't tried yet, but which has been getting good reviews: Petros. Its more up-scale.

          1. anyone ever been to Sofi on 3rd street?

            3 Replies
            1. re: cookgirl

              Sofi is great!! Been going there for years and when I took my greek cousin (he married into the family) he loved it. They have Saganaki and every other type of comforting greek food you could want. They have a bar and a wonderful patio.

              1. re: yummyinmytummy

                Although I love the garden at Sofi, the food wasn't that great to me, after trying a bunch of others. Mediocre. But charming patio!! For me personally, I'd go if I was in the nabe or live there, but I wouldn't make a special trip.

              2. re: cookgirl

                I've been to Sofi- pretty good/moderately good food but snotty waiters. Made the whole experience unpleasant, and the food wasn't good enough to justify returning. Papa Cristo's is rather good, some items outstanding, but others are not more than ok. There used to be a wonderful Greek restaurant in the west Valley, I think it was called Marianthe's. Owned and operated by a Greek woman. It closed several years ago, and I wonder if Marianthe ever opened elsewhere. That was just outstanding Greek food, and amazingly reasonably priced too.

              3. George's Greek Café in Long Beach (and LA)-- delicious, no-nonsense Greek/Cypriot food, including saganaki and a stellar kleftiko:

                http://www.georgesgreekcafe.com/index...

                1. First, you really should do a search. I asked this question a couple months ago, and we had a pretty good string going. With that said, Papa Cristo's is great; very casual, homey, Chrys the owner walks around, and he's a doll.

                  In the SF Valley, the Great Greek on Ventura. So. Much. Fun. The waiters dance, they pick up diners to dance with them, sometimes right out onto the street. Sure, it's a schtick, but it's entertaining, especially for a group. Get the Greek Feast, which domes with EVERYTHING, including the yummy roasted lamb. After trying a bunch of Greek restos in town, this was my favorite for the lamb. The dips are great, the cheese comes out with a big flaming OPA! It's fun.

                  Petro's is the place in Manhattan Beach. This is like the antithesis of Greek restaurants. The servers are young, hot, it's kind of a sleek place; always always packed. The food is good, and semi-Greek, even though the owner is Greek. But he's lived in CA for long enough, so it's like California Greek. But it's good. Stylish.

                  Another fun one is Papadakis in San Pedro. Run by a great family. It's more expensive than the Great Greek and way more than Papa Cristo's, but it's good food, more fine dining than give me a ton of mezze and let me go out at it.

                  I also had a decent meal at Taverna Tony's, in Malibu. But it wasn't my favorite food out of the others.

                  2 Replies
                  1. re: diningdivala

                    I second the Great Greek! We took my sister in law who was visiting and they actually brought her out to dance. She loved it. Aside from the fun atmosphere we had a the Oven Roasted Spring Lamb and it was really great. The Hummus is great and they actually get their pita bread shipped in from Chicago, very delicious!

                    1. re: diningdivala

                      Glad you mentioned Papadakis, it seems to get dismissed on this board to some extent. It is fun and last time we were there (quite awhile, don't live in the area anymore) the food was good.

                    2. 1. Papa Cristos (Koreatown)
                      2. Le Petit Greek (Larchmont)
                      3. Great Greek (Sherman Oaks/Studio City)

                      1. Although not a proper greek restaurant, you may want to try PITA KITCHEN in Sherman oaks. Is a dive little place on Van nuys just South of Ventura. Excellent grilled meats and salads. Good prices too. must try the red pepper and eggplant salad.

                        1. Yes, it's in a mall, and keep in mind that I'm not Greek or even from Detroit. But, personally, I love Ulysees, the Greek restaurant in the Farmers Market/Grove. I had their grilled octopus appetizer last week and thought it was better than the version I had at Papa Cristo's. Very pleasant atmosphere, too.

                          4 Replies
                          1. re: kablamo

                            I love Greek food and keep passing by Ulysses. I'm glad to hear that it's actually decent -- unlike some of The Grove's restaurants.

                            What are their standouts? Grilled fish? Thanks!!

                            1. re: Liquid Sky

                              Their spanakopita. The Ulysses sister restaurant in West LA is outstanding too. I forget the name of that restaurant, but it's owned and operated by the same folks. Very small, tons of atmosphere

                              1. re: chuckling

                                That was Mamma Voula's and recently closed.

                                1. re: chuckling

                                  Thanks! How's their moussaka?

                            2. YES for George's Greek Cafe in Long Beach!! The downtown location on Pine has better service than the 2nd Street location in Belmont Shore but everything I've ever eaten there--and I've eaten there many times, including my wedding reception, has been great!

                              1. We like Alexis in Northridge. They have Saganaki and do the little flame thing at the table too.

                                1. You cannot get good Greek Food in Los Angeles. Go to Chicago or Toronto. Papa Cristos is no good. Whey./ his lamb is frozen and thats's a no good and well everything else is medocre at best.

                                  1. Mykonos in Long Beach is the L.A.'s best kept Greek secret. The Sanganaki, Baby Octopus & Rack of Lamb are excellent.

                                    1. Since you mentioned SCV, I thought I would let you know about Athena's in Canyon Country. It is a 'hole in the wall' type Italian/Greek restaurant in a mini mall on Soledad Cyn across the street from the Regal theaters. I am no expert on Greek food but the prices are very reasonable and the food is tasty. I don't think they have saganaki and the service is friendly although not 'excellent'. It is definately not an upscale place. Some of the things we like are the moussaka, lamb shank, and greek salad. They have great lentil soup. I love their pita. If you live in the area check it out.

                                      1. This thread is missing Taverna Tony's in Malibu.

                                        1 Reply
                                        1. re: Cinnamon

                                          Went there for the first time a few weeks ago and was underwhelmed.

                                        2. The sad truth is that there aren't 'great Greek' restaurants in L.A. despite the one with that name... There's much better Greek food in Chicago, New York or London in the cities outside of Greece. I've looked here for ages to find an equivalent and have tried all the ones mentioned here, and am still looking.

                                          4 Replies
                                          1. re: Thorn

                                            Those who don't think there's good Greek food in LA really should try George's Greek Cafe in LB. I grew up in Chicago and lived in NYC for a while, plus have traveled a bit to Greece and I think George's is on par with anything I had in Greece for traditional dishes.

                                            1. re: bohemiana

                                              Petros' menu in Redondo Beach reminds me of some of the upscale places in the Plaka district of Athens

                                              http://www.petrosrestaurant.com

                                              1. re: Ernie

                                                That's Petros in Manhattan Beach, not Redondo, I believe.

                                                1. re: Cinnamon

                                                  Oops, you're right. That's what I get for posting so late at night :)

                                          2. Ulysses' Voyage at the Grove has great okra and whatsitcalled, the boiled dandelions, and their lamb shank is succulent and delicious. I'm used to cheap Greek food since I used to live up the street from Papa C's (which I still love), so the prices at Ulysses always make me wince a little, but their ingredients are very fresh and the flavors are great.

                                            1. Has anyone tried the semi-ubiquitous Daphne's Greek Cafe which seemed to spring up overnight? Just the McDonald's look of it frightens me.

                                              Mr Taster

                                              1 Reply
                                              1. re: Mr Taster

                                                Their salad, lemon chicken, rice, and tzatziki will do in a pinch. Gyros and kabobs are nasty, tough, and dry.

                                              2. I blush to say I haven't been to Papa Christos because it's just not in a convenient location for me, but I've had food they've catered. Very good.

                                                We go to Taverna Tony's a lot, both for the food and the atmosphere. The terrace is the place to sit; it's beautiful. Their entrees are too large, however, so what we usually do is order a selection of appetizers. Someone above mentioned grilled octopus at Papa Christos. The grilled octopus at Tony's is great, too.

                                                Daphnes -- meh! I suppose its better than McDonalds, but that's about it.

                                                1 Reply
                                                1. re: gsw

                                                  In particular at Taverna Tony's I recommend the roast baby lamb kleftiko entree, the flaming saganaki cheese appetizer and the taramosalata dip that's also an appetizer served with warm (and I think olive oil drizzled) tasty pita. (Their Greek Californian salad is not terribly Greek, but those are great too, as a light meal or lunch in themselves.)
                                                  http://www.tavernatony.com/pdfs/dinne...

                                                2. Firehouse Restaurant in Reseda. Posted about it earlier. http://www.chowhound.com/topics/show/...

                                                  1. So what about the best Greek on the west side or beach cities, if you don't wanna go to Petros?

                                                    2 Replies
                                                    1. re: Cinnamon

                                                      Earlier thread about your question:

                                                      http://www.chowhound.com/topics/show/...

                                                      1. re: young_chower

                                                        Thanks!