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Greek food in Portland

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  • mjp81 May 16, 2007 01:20 PM

Ever since Christophers left Portland many years ago there has been a serious lack of Greek food in Portland. I was wondering what peoples thoughts were on the Greek Corner and Acropolis? I've seen Greek Corners abitious menu online, not entirely Greek at all, but can not find much info. on Acropolis. Also, does any one have any info. on the new Greek restaurant (Emilitsa) going up at 545 congress?

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  1. Acropolis is fantastic! I've gone about five times in two months and have had a different dish each time and have loved everything.

    1. We went to Acropolis last night, after hearing rave reviews. The appetizers were excellent, but the main courses we sampled were merely average. I liked my psari plaki, although the fish was overcooked. My husband's souvlaki was basically grilled meat with no noticeable marinade, and my daughter said, "you make better spanikopita." I was also disappointed that Greek potatoes weren't a side dish option, and vegetables weren't served with the main courses, although the zucchini on the appetizer plate was awesome. Also, they were very busy, and the service was spotty. I have to say I was disappointed, and will have to resume getting my Greek fix in bigger cities.

      1. I actually stopped by Emilitsa recently to see when they were going to be open. A construction worker told me that he thought it would be open by the end of July. He also said that they are using mostly organic and natural ingredients. It is going to be all Greek food, including the wines. From what I saw they had a beautiful marble bar in the lounge area.

        7 Replies
        1. re: phagos

          Any idea who's running/ owning Emilitsa? It would be great if they did open at the end of the month. Sounds like a great plan to use organic ingrediants and have a fully greek menu.

          1. re: mjp81

            I know this is a ridiculously old thread, but I just wanted to say I'm from Minneapolis and my Uncle's Demo and John Regas are opening the restaurant. You guys are in for a treat, they are AMAZING chefs!

            1. re: mcrakes

              Where? I miss greek food that I had available when I lived in Minneapolis. There's no place in Vermont with good greek food. *sigh* (at least none I've managed to find anyway)

              1. re: Morganna

                You could always grab a gyro on Church St. or at the Greek Festival at the Orthodox Church in Burlington. They're not that bad, something to hold you over until you get the good stuff.

                1. re: mjp81

                  Where on Church street? The only place I've had that's even close is Ali Kabobs but that's not especially good. I also don't really consider it worth all the effort to find parking near Church street to have a meal somewhere on or near it. We only get into Burlington a few times a month, at most, and we aren't usually going anywhere near downtown, so that means a special trip. Since it is always on a Saturday that we're up there, and there's nearly always SOMETHING happening on Church street that makes it crazy/crowded/hard to find parking, we don't go there much when we're up. :) It'd have to be some nice Greek food to get me to go there. :D

                  I can't stand going to the Greek orthodox church during their celebrations, it's... well to be honest, I'm a bit of a hermit and big crowds really get to me. :) I'm a wuss, I admit it. :)

                  Had some really good Greek food in Lake Placid a few years ago. We went there specifically 'cos they had a Greek place. :)

                  1. re: Morganna

                    The cart is located across from Leunigs. $6 got you a gyro. Cheaper than the Orthodox and better but still just what it is, average and holds you over until you find the real deal. The Greek Festival in Burlington is nothing like the three day fest in Portland. They shut down a street block in June for a food festival with more to offer than the standard, gyro and souvlaki. You should seek it out.

                    1. re: mjp81

                      Sounds great! I'll look into it, thanks!

        2. Where is Emilitsa located?
          I'd have to agree with the "average" comment on Acropolos- although in all fairness my only visit was during their 2nd week of operation. I'm glad to hear they're busy- will give them time to improve.

          1 Reply
          1. re: joss2

            Emilitsa will be at 545 Congress.... obviously right by 555. Looks like it could be a good area for food.

          2. I've eaten at Greek Corner only once, and while I and the couple we were with had great meals, my husband was the only one who ate the shish kebab and suffered terrible GI distress afterwards. Needless to say we haven't been back.

            1. Update Emilitsa opened...wondering if anyone has been.

              1 Reply
              1. re: amyc

                I stopped by the opening night (last Friday) and had a very enjoyable meal. They opened with a limited menu, I'm not sure if they've expanded it out yet. The wine list was full of Greek wines I have not tried before. Unlike other new restaurants in Portland that have struggled a bit with providing good service, the service at Emilitsa was excellent.

              2. It looked so nice from the street, I look forward to checking it out. What was the price range?

                2 Replies
                1. re: amyc

                  I had dinner at Emilistsa last night with one other person. The price range for appetizers was around 7-10, salads. 8-10 and entrees 19-26. The menu was listed as a "preview" menu and only had four options for dinner.

                  The decor of the place is fantastic . It is a long a skinny room with a large marble bar upon entering and exposed brick along one wall with comfortable bench seating and about a dozen or so tables.

                  The wine list is exclusively Greek starts and start at around $24 a bottle $ 6 a glass and head up from there. We ordered a sampling of cold appetizers and one order of beef sausage (meatballs). The cold appetizers of hummus, tzatziki and an artichoke dip were decent but not much better than one could find at a typical Greek restaurant. The beef sausage was good but certainly not better than the meatballs served as tapas at Local 188.

                  We had Moussaka and Lamb shank for our main dishes. Both of the dishes were very good but certainly not exceptional. The portions were a touch larger than what I would have wanted or expected. The wait staff is very well trained, which should not be surprising, but in fact in Portland it is rare. There seems to be an incredible lack of knowledge in how to wait tables in this city. My biggest pet peeve with wait staff is their insistence on clearing the table of plates when only half of the people have finished their meal. It is simply inexcusable to do this. Many restaurants that should know a lot better ( Local 188 constantly, Fore st. at times, Mim's and with complulsion the now closed Uffa's) insist on reaching across diners that are still eating and take away the plates of people that are finished. Thankfully the staff at Emililsta's was a touch inexperienced but was very well trained.

                  Our server remarked that the reason for only having Greek wines on the menu was to be as authentic as possible. While I loved the Greek wines and enjoyed the Greek food, I found the experience about as far from what it is like to eat in a restaurant in Greece as possible. The great things I recall about eating in Greece was the casual atmosphere, somewhat decent food and most importantly inexpensive wines served in stainless steel pitchers. I find when people often open "authentic" restaurants they take what I remember as being good about eating in the region and often raise the price till it is a premium to eat in an "authentic" restaurant. If Emilista opened a restaurant the was in fact similar to what it was like to eat in Greece, the place would in fact be packed nightly. One of the pleasures of eating in Europe is to be able to sit down with lunch or dinner and enjoy an exceptionally drinkable and inexpensive carafe or pichet of house wine. I am bewildered that the only place in Portland to have figured the draw of this out is The Front Room ( which is packed nightly).

                  If people have not been paying attention then they may have not noticed that our economy is in a touch of a slump. New restaurants like Emilista, Evangaline, and maybe the Grill Room will struggle to survive if they do not recognize that the ability of diners to splurge is limited, and the amount of places to do it in Portland is growing. Unfortunately, the ego of many owners and chefs prevent them from moving towards where the real money and desire is, good restaurants with decent inventive food at a great price.

                  I would need to have an incredible meal to feel the need to go back to Emilista. The meal gave me a few reasons to go back, but not at the prices that I paid.

                  1. re: ejohnson

                    My expectations were exceeded on the night I dined at Emilitsa. I was pleasantly surprised by the quality of the food, the exceptional service and the upscale decor.

                    As has been stated by others, the restaurant only serves Greek wines. Luckily our waitress had excellent knowledge of the featured wines and directed us to two full bodied reds, which she allowed us to taste before committing to a full glass. The first, an '05 Palivou Nemea was comparable to a Red Zin - complete with a peppery finish. The Domain Foivos "Myesis" was a more mellow red, dry, with only a hint of spice.

                    Our waitress (Jenny) surprised us with a treat from the kitchen, a chilled potato garlic puree served with grilled Standard baguette slices topped with high quality unfiltered olive oil, parsley and lemon. We munched away happily as we perused the menu. Still in the midst of a "soft opening", Emilitsa is serving a "preview" menu, featuring a dozen or so appetizers and only four entrees. Numerous appetizers appealed to us, and with assistance from Jenny, we settled on the Spanikopita and the trio of dips served with pita.

                    Thin layers of buttery, light and flaky phyllo dough held a blend of spinach, feta and dill to create the delicate Spanakopita triangles. Our trio of dips included traditional tzatziki (blended cucumber and yogurt) which made a fabulous dip for the Spanikopita, a red caviar "hummus" type dip (my favorite), and a chunky eggplant, tomato and herb mix, similar to a bruschetta. All were served with thick, warm, doughy pita bread from Greece.

                    My husband ordered the restaurant's only Grecian beer, called Mythos, to enjoy with his entree of Free Range Chicken, marinated in lemon, olive oil, oregano and garlic. A bit overcooked, it was flavorful but dry. The grilled potato wedges were excellent, crisp and golden on the outside, yet soft on the inside and wonderful when dredged in the olive oil, lemon and parsley on the plate.

                    I wanted to try something different than my husband, but the three remaining entrees on the preview menu were meat based; I was hoping for a veggie option. The waitress, after checking with Demo, proactively offered to have the chef create a dish that was not on the menu. The resulting vegetarian entree featured grilled yellow zucchini, eggplant, scallions, red onions, olives, feta cheese, fresh lemon juice and a fabulous unfiltered olive oil (from Greece); it was creative and flavorful.

                    We managed to save just enough room to share the baklava, a dessert made with layers of phyllo, walnuts, and sweet honey. The chef is smart to portion this dessert very small, as it is so rich and sweet.

                    I agree with ejohnson that the service at Emilitsa is excellent, attentive without being intrusive. We particularly liked that with each course, the silverware was cleared and replaced. The chef attempts to use all organic ingredients, many are shipped directly from Greece. Soon (perhaps at the time you are reading this), they plan to add fish to their menu - caught daily in the Mediterranean - and within 24 hours on the tables of Emilitsa diners.

                    Although more expensive than the two other Greek restaurants in town, the service and quality of food match the price point. My husband and I each had two drinks, an appetizer, entree and split a dessert for $95.

                    I will definitely return to Emilitsa and encourage others to give it a try.

                    Erin
                    http://blog.typeadiversions.com/