Greek Food in Tarpon Springs
Some friends and I are going to Tarpon Springs tomorrow and I am looking for the best greek food.
Need help fast.
Chicken Lemon Soup
My mom & I are regular visitors to Tarpon. We have been 4 or 5 times in the past 9 months together. On Athens St., I think it's the Dodecanese restaurant. It's horrible that I don't remember their name - we ate almost every meal there (I'd say 7 out of 8 of our meals) these past few visits. I'll post a picture of part of the outside so you can identify it. Actually, I might even have a picture from inside during our last visit (November). It was too cold to sit out on the sidewalk, and it was the first time my husband, kids, and stepfather had all been with us, so we took a few pictures.
Anyhow, they have very good food. My uncle got the calamari when we met him there in March. He loved it. My stepfather had their avgolemono soup and said it was good but not as good as all our family members' homemade. We are Greek, so that helps, and we're also not cooking for a whole day of restaurant visitors.
I'm trying to remember all the dishes that everyone ate when we were there in November. My son got some huge plate - I can't remember what it was. Anyhow, everything was very good. We've gotten their salad a couple times - lettuce, olives, tomato, feta cheese, etc. - and my mom & I have split it.
For dessert, though, I do not recommend picking it up there. The bakery 2 doors away (I THINK it's National Bakery, but I'm not positive - it's the last business in that section of the block/building they share.) They have excellent bread (I always bring some home). For cookies - if you like subtle anise, get a bag of their paximathia. I still have some I got in November, and they're still fine & delicious. (These are similar to biscotti only better, and they are not overly sweet.) Also a bag of their koulourakia. Not as good as my grandmother's, but they are still scrumptious. My favorite serious splurge dessert there is a cake - the girl in the bakery pronounces it something like "koo-beh-hi," but her English is a little limited yet, and she wasn't sure how to pull it into English. I tell you that so you can order it if you want and kind of have a clue that you & she are on the same page. (The guy's grasp of English is better. He's almost always there, but sometimes he's in the back.) Anyhow, I won't bore you with the history of why this particular cake came to be part of Greek cooking (not everyone is as interested in that crazy stuff as I am!), but suffice it to say that it was a dessert invented for royalty. It has layers of phyllo on the bottom, a very thick layer of cake on that, and then is topped with more phyllo, and the entire thing is deliciously moistened (and ultra-stickied!) by a honey syrup poured over it. When you enter the bakery, it will be in the case on your immediate right.
Other things we've had there that are good - their almond cookies that are kind of like meringues. I don't have the name of them. They are the ultimate mmmm. Also, they have good melamacarona (if you pronounce it "mella-ma-kadinna" they'll know what you mean.) It's an oval cookie with nuts on top and a syrup coating. Superb kourambiethes (roundish cookies covered with powdered sugar).
I can't say anything bad about any of their baked goods. We've probably tried about half of them. (Some we never get - we tend to get our favorites and not venture into trying too many other things for fear of sugar shock!)
There's another bakery when you head out of the touristy area and into the historic district. I'll try to find the name or a general location and let you know. Our last trip was our first visit to that location. I THINK it's on N. Pinellas Ave. It's on the right if you're heading toward the historic district from the tourist area. It's across the street from the book store/gift shop for the Greek Orthodox church. (The church store has cookbooks in the window, if that will help you kind of orient yourself with my crazy directions.) They also had good paximathia (different from National's, which I prefer, but both were good.) We got several things there. Their kourambiethes were also quite good. They had some interesting things in the case, but we had already stocked up at National! We did get a few things to go. In fact, they also serve lunch there, but we had already eaten. I did get a loaf of a baked feta bread. When we were in there, it was in the case you face as you enter the shop, top shelf, all the way to the left. My daughter is begging me to go back to Tarpon so I can buy some more loaves to freeze!! haha I think it'll be easier to try to duplicate them for the time being.
If there's anything else I can think of that might be helpful, I'll post again. Oh, yes, by the way, the reason my mom & I chose the restaurant the first time we ate there was because all the Greek men were there. They were sitting outside the cafe eating their lunches and visiting. A true sign that you are having delicious, authentic food when all the real locals/Greeks are eating there!
Here's a picture of the sign that hangs by the restaurant, although I think the painted windmill sunset mural on the wall will be enough to assure you you're at the right place.
Also, I think the bakery I was talking about that's close to the historic district is Fournos at 15 N. Pinellas. I looked up the bakery & the bookstore online, and unless there's another bakery in that block that we didn't see, that should be the one.
I can't believe I forgot to recommend the skordalia! If you've never had it, it might sound kind of gross. It's potatoes and garlic (LOTS of garlic) used as a dip. The restaurant I recommended has incredible skordalia, and with their bread - *> (that's me kissing my fingers in gustatory approval!)
They have very good crusty bread, and we really enjoy it with the skordalia. We've also taken some home (it's a LOT for 2 people, so Mom & I have leftovers) and had it with bread from National bakery.
I hope you get all my messages before you go. I'm getting nervous since you haven't reposted since my first posts.
When you get back, let me know where you went & how everything was.
I guess this is too late but - - -
I prefer Mykonos.
628 Dodecanese Blvd.
Tarpon Springs, FL
Try it next time.
I think that