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
Just wanted to let you know we went to Tarpon Springs and had a great time. We ate our way all the way down Dodecanese Blvd. and then took home some deserts.
The first place we stopped at was Plaka Restaurant and had Sagnaki (flaming greek cheese) which was served with freshly baked greek bread instead of the usual pita and we had some Tzatziki sauce which was a nice bowl to share between the three of us. I did ask for the pita in addition to the bread for dipping. These turned out to be great snacks.
For lunch we ate at Mama's Greek Cuisine where we had the hummus with deep fried pita for an appetizer. The fried pita was very different I had never had it that way before. For lunch I had the Grecian Grouper with rice pilaf and the Avgolemono Soup (lemon chicken with orzo), one of my friends had the charbroiled breast marinated in olive oil, garlic, lemon and oregano. It was seared perfectly. My other friend had the soup and greek salad special. Everything was delicious and we were stuffed....almost in a food coma.
Before leaving to go home we stopped at Hellas Bakery to get dessert to take home. I bought an italian cannoli, greek canoli, rice pudding and galactoumbouriko ( greek custard in phyllo). I loved the galactoumbouriko and my boyfriend prefered the italian cannoli.
I also stopped back at Plaka Restaurant and bought two gyros to take home with an extra bag of pitas for my boyfriend. I have to say that the people were really friendly here and very accomodating and that is why we got food to go.
It was a great trip. I am not sure if these were the places that you suggested, but I would go back to all of them
No, they weren't; ours weren't on Dodecanese but on Athens, one of the side streets. But I'm glad you enjoyed yourself.
We had a terrible experience at Mama's, so I'm glad yours was a good one! Nothing's as bad (in our opinion) as the old Louis Pappas' (now closed), though; I am sure most of the little restaurants are safe. We've had good meals at a number of places in Tarpon. The ones I wrote about just happen to be our favorites (at this point in time, anyhow!!)
(In fairness to old Mr. Pappas, I'm not sure I ever ate there when he was running it. The first bad meal I remember having there was in the 80s.)
I eat at Costa's on the second Thursday of every month.. I'm working in the area...
The Seafood combo platter is killer! Saganaki is great! Spanokopita--- Greek Salads...
It's so consistently good that I have a hard time trying other places---but I will...
And I'll start by taking Tandoori Girl's 'Mykonos' recomendation...
Heck, I'll take Tandoori Girl ! ;-)
And I'm outta my favorite Olive Oil that I get at the 'Halki Market' across the street from Costa's on Athens Street----right off of Dodecanese...
Which Olive Oil?
This'n right here... Tastes freshly squoze!
My mom & I love the Market and always stock up when we're there. I have driven imported Greek feta to my mom's and then home - a total of about 700 miles! lol
I really enjoy the wide variety of olive oils, spices, and the Greek goods that I can't get anywhere in my corner of the world. They have great prices, don't you think? Although last time I was there, I forgot I had already gotten a container of mint leaves, so now I have two! I'm going to have to get cooking or else buy that tea leaves incense burner they were talking about on another thread! haha
Yeah! Grab a chunk of that Kasseri Cheese in the back fridge too!
Slice it 1/2" thick--- dust with flour---brown it on both sides in a buttered non-stick frying pan--- toss a shot of brandy in there---light it on fire--- and extinguish with a lemon!
Home-made Saganaki... Easy... And a killer!
re: Mild Bill
Our whole family loves saganaki (who couldn't?!) My mom's whole family is Greek, and, boy, when we all get together - talk about good food!!
I got Kefalotiri last time I was there and have my famous pastitsio on the list of meals to cook this month. Next time, Kasseri! In fact, you so have my mouth watering for some saganaki that I might have to try the little grocer in the city and see if they have any. I got worried because the Kefalotiri I almost bought one time looked kind of funny, and it was way out of date. I don't generally worry about out of date cheese, but it looked nasty! But the saganaki is sounding mighty good right now, so I might have to attempt cheese there again.
bkhuna is right - the grocer that Mild Bill & I were talking about upthread. If you're on Dodecanese (the serious tourist street) heading into the thick of things (the sponge docks on your right), then you'll turn left onto Athens.
I'm sure if you google Halki Market Tarpon Springs FL that you can get a hit on a map & the address.
They have great prices on their bulk herbs/spices, and they have a nice selection of Greek cheeses. If you decide to make traditional Greek Easter bread, you can even find mastic there (something of an acquired taste for non-Greeks, apparently!)
By the way, they do not take credit or debit cards, so be sure to take cash. Oh, and I do think they take checks, too.