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Desfina-Best Greek, really?

c
chowfdf Aug 4, 2007 09:50 PM

Wondering others thoughts on Desfina. Love greek food, have never been able to find a good place in the city. A few months ago did some research. From google and chowhound, learned of Desfina. Went in a couple of wks ago, thought it was awful. Everything from the tzatiki to the saginaki to the pita bread was pitiful. We had a whole fish, which was fine--nothing special, and a lamb dish served with some kind of overcooked greens. Add to that, the physical space is dirty and really bad diner-like. Anyway, then Improper and Boston mag's "Best of" lists came out and BOTH gave Desfina best greek! So now I'm wondering if I'm being too hard, or if I don't know good greek food....but I don't think so to either, so am curious as to what everyone else thinks. Also, why don't we have a good Greek spot in the city? Is it not a generally popular cuisine on the East Coast?

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  1. Sal Monella RE: chowfdf Aug 6, 2007 08:12 AM

    agree with you on this. I am of Greek ancestry and never considered Desfina a Greek restaurant. The best (and this is relative) Greek restaurant I've experienced in and around Boston is Ithaki in Ipswich. I really don't know why Greek restaurants in NE are few, far between and seldom prosper given the quantity of the Greek population here. Greek Corner in Cambridge is just ok and not really notworthy. Dionysos closed down and Meze in Charlestown was in over it's head.

    The whole "best of boston" thing is a farce.

    4 Replies
    1. re: Sal Monella
      hiddenboston RE: Sal Monella Aug 6, 2007 09:06 AM

      Sal Monella, do you like Farm Grill in Newton? I find their food to be pretty good.

      1. re: hiddenboston
        Sal Monella RE: hiddenboston Aug 6, 2007 09:58 AM

        Never been there. What's their address? I'll give it a try...

        1. re: Sal Monella
          hiddenboston RE: Sal Monella Aug 6, 2007 10:30 AM

          They are at 40 Needham Street in Newton (near the New England Mobile Book Fair). Very good food, excellent prices, and a well-lit, clean place...

      2. re: Sal Monella
        Bob Dobalina RE: Sal Monella Aug 6, 2007 10:56 AM

        Sal -

        You ought to also check out Kouzina in the Waban section of Newton. Traditional and not so traditional Greek fare.

      3. MC Slim JB RE: chowfdf Aug 6, 2007 10:59 AM

        I always thought Desfina was hideous, a microwave-cookery fake-Greek food place. I have heard a good thing or two about a little takeout place in the Fenway, been meaning to try it, the Greek Isles on Peterborough.

        Two fancier places show worthy Greek influences, though they are primarily American/Eclectic menus: Kouzina in Waban (more casual, family-friendly), and Ariadne in Newtonville (more fine dining).

        4 Replies
        1. re: MC Slim JB
          yumyum RE: MC Slim JB Aug 6, 2007 11:08 AM

          Wow. You used to simply dislike Desfina, now it's "hideous"? I don't agree ... don't get me wrong, I don't think it's incredibly great but the griled octopus app and the plate of mixed apps is very good.

          I was surprised to find it was named "Boston's best" though. I do hope other hounds will check it out and report back.

          -----
          Desfina Greek Restaurant
          202 3rd St, Cambridge, MA 02141

          1. re: yumyum
            MC Slim JB RE: yumyum Aug 6, 2007 12:13 PM

            Maybe bad food gets worse in my memory. I definitely recall the beep-beep of that microwave, followed by my dry-as-leather lamb coming out (I was the only one in the place at the time). It certainly doesn't help that my Greek-American friend loathes it, calls it "De-shteenka". I stopped in for a beer not too long ago, and the place certainly looks worse for the wear. Bring back Third and Charles! That dump had bad food, but better than this place.

          2. re: MC Slim JB
            limster RE: MC Slim JB Aug 6, 2007 06:59 PM

            The Greek Isles is pretty good, although I do regret that they reheat their galaktobouriko in the microwave as it could have been even better.

            1. re: MC Slim JB
              c
              chowfdf RE: MC Slim JB Aug 6, 2007 07:00 PM

              am very glad to hear that it's not me. i know the 'best' issues are somewhat nonsense, but still! heard about greek isles, will have to check it out. maybe this is more of an 'everyday' greek place w/ great food.

            2. s
              ShelT54 RE: chowfdf Aug 6, 2007 07:22 PM

              I used to live in Chicago, which has an awesome Greek Town--Greek Isles, Courtyards of Plaka are among the best. Locally, Farm Grill is decent and reasonably priced. I didn't think Desfina was terrible, just average. Haven't been to Ithaki in Ipswich, but I know from the menu that it's way pricier than the other 2 I've mentioned.

              1 Reply
              1. re: ShelT54
                MC Slim JB RE: ShelT54 Aug 6, 2007 08:03 PM

                Greek Town is definitely something I miss about Chicago: the ability to get authentic Greek food with fine dining service instead of just a sub shop, diner, or pizzeria. (I remember a long conversation with Studs Terkel as we were standing in line at The Greek Isles on a long-ago Friday night.)

                I liked Meze Estiatorio a lot, and remember Omonia fondly. It's an ongoing disappointment to me that Boston can't seem to support more proper sit-down Greek restaurants. Maybe it's the prevalence of low-end places in the States that makes people wary of the cuisine in a more formal context.

                Does anyone have any favorites at the Greek Isles in the Fenway? I'm heading there soon.

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