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best Greek in/near Boston?

ScubaSteve Sep 26, 2007 09:25 AM

have a Greek friend returning to Boston for a visit. he's been in California for quite a few years and his Greek parents/grandparents are no longer around.

looking for a Very Good Greek restaurant for Thursday night. he's staying in Burlington so we'd like to go someplace in Boston or just slightly north (Ithaki in Ipswich would be too far) and it must have a full liquor license. i would like the place to be fairly highway accessible, if possible.

i like someplace that features seafood but traditional Greek style lamb dishes would be welcome too.

TIA,
SS

p.s. there (used?) to be a place outside of Harvard Square called the Acropolis that we really liked back in the day but i can't find it online. if that place is still open (and Good) i'd like to go there or someplace like it.

  1. t
    taxi Oct 3, 2007 03:30 PM

    Despina's in Cambridge behind the courthouse. The owners are right from Greece.

    1. l
      lexpatti Oct 1, 2007 05:35 AM

      Specialties of the Middle East and the Mediterranean is the Red Fez on Washington st. in Boston. I really enjoyed it but it's been a year or two.
      http://www.theredfez.com/

      Olympia is another great greek one in Lowell - http://www.newolympia.com/olympia.html

      2 Replies
      1. re: lexpatti
        MC Slim JB Oct 1, 2007 06:14 AM

        I'm sorry to report that the food at the Red Fez has taken a sharp downhill turn. They do not even serve pita anymore, just this lame supermarket-grade focaccia with their Middle Eastern spreads. A shame, since it used to be a very useful place to me.

        1. re: MC Slim JB
          l
          lexpatti Oct 1, 2007 06:42 AM

          That is really too bad, lots of history there too. I hear great stories from my folks who grew up in Somerville and worked in Boston (in early 50s).

      2. Chris VR Sep 30, 2007 04:12 PM

        So where did you end up?

        1. g
          G Fresh Sep 30, 2007 03:03 PM

          Long live the Acropolis! I went there for years with my family and they served very good dependable food. Reasonably priced as well...

          The Aegean in Framingham was OK until they moved to a bigger place on RT.30 and that seemed to have swelled heads and the prices on the menu proportionately. Now the place is too expensive to warrant a visit for overpriced "Greek" cuisine.

          2 Replies
          1. re: G Fresh
            BobB Oct 1, 2007 10:50 AM

            Yes, the Acropolis and the Parthenon, both in Cambridge, were mainstays for many years in the late '60s/early '70s. Back then Greek was THE trendy ethnic food in the area. Then came Indian, then Thai, and a hundred others with the foodie revolution, now there's scarcely a decent plate of kleftiko to be found.

            As the song goes, you don't know what you've got 'til its gone.

            1. re: BobB
              galleygirl Oct 1, 2007 04:28 PM

              Yeah, when I was in school, you could walk into Aegean Fare in Kenmore sq., and get a plate of flaming saganaki and a glass of retsina...And this wan't an upscale place...Sigh....

          2. j
            jjbourgeois Sep 26, 2007 06:44 PM

            If you don't mind a 45-60 minute drive, an excellent Greek restaurant is Ithaka in Ipswich. Great lamb, moussaka, grape leaves, greek wines, etc. Have never been disappointed with any of the meals there.

            1. Chris VR Sep 26, 2007 10:19 AM

              I haven't been there enough to offer a strong opinion, but in the neighborhood is Restaurant Mediterranean in Lynnfield, http://www.med-restaurant.com/ My one lunch there left me interested enough to go back for more (but haven't yet) but not impressed enough to really recommend it yet. They do have a full bar in my recollection.

              -----
              Restaurant Mediterranean
              lynnfield, ma, lynnfield, ma

              2 Replies
              1. re: Chris VR
                ScubaSteve Sep 26, 2007 10:24 AM

                h^mmm, that sounds interesting.

                1. re: ScubaSteve
                  h
                  hoplover Sep 26, 2007 10:50 AM

                  While my choice is an Armenian restaurant you will find dishes that have the same influences. My choice is Karoun in Newtonville. I really really love to eat there. It's like going to a friends house whose grandmother is an outrageous cook and she cooks for you. Their salads are so fresh, large and wonderful. The stuffed grape leaves are insanely delicious. Everything we have ever gotten there has been great. We have eaten, lamb, shrimp, spinach pies, stewed zucchini and eggplant dishes and lots of interesting bulghur rice pilaf kind of dishes. I hear there is great belly dancing on friday and saturday nights but I just go for the food. You will not be disappointed.

              2. hiddenboston Sep 26, 2007 10:19 AM

                The Acropolis closed when I was a little kid (don't ask how long ago), and I've been searching for a place similar to it ever since.

                I like the Farm Grill in Newton a lot, though it's more cafeteria-style than a full-service restaurant. Other than that, I don't know. I like Greek Corner, but it tends to get mixed reviews from others, and Dionysos (Cambridge), which would have been a good choice, closed last year. Maybe it's worth trying Vlora in the Back Bay. I haven't been yet, but it sounds intriguing.

                1. MC Slim JB Sep 26, 2007 10:14 AM

                  Another thought: Aridane in Newtonville. Fine-dining New American with some strong Greek touches (the chef/owner is Greek, and drags in some other European and Asian influences) at very attractive prices. Lovely atmosphere (almost all the dining room seating consists of well-spaced semicircular booths), strong service, good cocktails, interesting wine list, live music some nights, free parking out back.

                  Check out the menu: http://www.ariadnerestaurant.com/dinn...

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: MC Slim JB
                    Ali G Sep 27, 2007 10:25 AM

                    Ariadne might be a great choice. I'm on their mailing list and regularly receive e-mails about Greek Night events. They were putting on a Greek dinner as a fund raiser recently for the fire victims in Greece. They fit the bill with a full bar and are very close to the highway. I'd give them a call and see if they are offering any Greek specials.

                  2. g
                    ginnyhw Sep 26, 2007 10:09 AM

                    I was looking for the same in ne.food last December and was told
                    "A nice Greek restaurant called Aegean is located on
                    Rt. 30 in Framingham. The food is great and the interior design is
                    beautiful."

                    I never got out to try it but it is in the metrowest area. I used to love the Acropolis but it's long gone.

                    1. e
                      emilief Sep 26, 2007 10:02 AM

                      This is a tough request. The greek restaurants in Boston area are mediocre. Greek Corner is just ok but no liquor. Ithaki is better and has liquor but you already said not. Haven't tried Greek Isles. Kouzina in Waban has two excellent Greek style dishes one lamb and one fish- the lamb gouvetsi with orzo and the baked bronzini on a bed of tomatoes and potatoes. Their other dishes are greek inspired but not really Greek. Again, no liquor- only wine and beer. The Aegean in Watertown (also in Framingham) is just ok but has a wide variety of Greek dishes, very good meze, and does serve liquor. Although it is not my favorite place, I think that it is the only place that has a varied menu and liquor that would satisfy your requirements. Good luck! By way of disclosure, I make my own Greek food with MIL recipes, have taught Greek cooking and have been to Greece many times so I am hard to please when it comes to Greek food.

                      8 Replies
                      1. re: emilief
                        ScubaSteve Sep 26, 2007 10:07 AM

                        i've been to the Agean in Framingham years ago and liked it a bunch. right now the Athenian in Lowell is the leader.

                        should Steve's on Newbury St be given any consideration?

                        1. re: ScubaSteve
                          e
                          emilief Sep 26, 2007 10:13 AM

                          Sorry, I have never been to Steve's on Newbury Street. Would like to hear from anyone who has been there. Vlora sounds interesting although I believe that the owners are Albanian- similar but not exactly the same food.

                          1. re: ScubaSteve
                            Chrispy75 Sep 26, 2007 10:14 AM

                            Steve's was ok about 10 years ago. Nothing spectacular, but edible compared to other eats around Newbury. I tried them a couple of times recently and found them to have gone way downhill. Everything was heavily salted, almost to the point of being inedible.

                            1. re: Chrispy75
                              pamalamb Sep 26, 2007 11:52 AM

                              Agreed, Steve's is good for an informal lunch or for a take-out gyro, but definitely not a destination.

                          2. re: emilief
                            s
                            Scruffy The Cat Sep 26, 2007 07:46 PM

                            100% right on, Emlief. I'm Greek (and also hard to please with Greek food) and couldn't agree with you more. Though I would put Aegean in Watertown as pretty terrible.

                            If anyone ever asks me for "nice" Greek, I strongly recommend Kouzina and those dishes, the bronzini especially.

                            If atmosphere isn't important, Farm Grill gets my vote. It's pretty close to the real deal. I was there last weekend on a warm evening and they had a large table set outside under their trellis and it was a true taverna scene.

                            My hypercritical Athenian father also likes it as well.

                            1. re: Scruffy The Cat
                              limster Sep 26, 2007 08:03 PM

                              Make that another vote for Kouzina and their brazino.

                              Greek Isle was pretty good too, although it's been several months since I've been.

                              1. re: Scruffy The Cat
                                e
                                emilief Sep 27, 2007 07:58 AM

                                Fram Grill is ok- some things are excellent like the avgolemono soup, gryo, salads and the desserts. The gigantes are not good. My hypercritical Athenian husband thinks it is just ok. There is a small storefront type place in Wellesley that is run by a greek family that has a few ok greek things- especially their souvlaki and Greek salad, and fried zucchini meze- called Maugus. I think Aegean is pretty awful but lots of non-Greek people think it is wonderful. Some things are very good and some things awful. If you stick with appetizers it is usually ok.

                                1. re: Scruffy The Cat
                                  StriperGuy Sep 30, 2007 04:17 PM

                                  I wouldn't feed the chow at the Aegean to my cat ;-) no insult intended scruffy. The apps come out of large food grade buckets and are not terrible. It goes WAY downhill from there.

                              2. Infomaniac Sep 26, 2007 09:41 AM

                                Athenian Corner in Lowell is an excellent Greek restaurant with a great menu, and on Thursday nights they have belly dancers.
                                http://www.atheniancorner.com/menus.htm

                                -----
                                Athenian Corner
                                207 Market St, Lowell, MA 01852

                                3 Replies
                                1. re: Infomaniac
                                  ScubaSteve Sep 26, 2007 09:57 AM

                                  thanks Infomaniac. that place looks like it will fit the bill nicely. do you recommended anything particular?

                                  i'd still like to get an option closer to Boston in addition.

                                  1. re: ScubaSteve
                                    Infomaniac Sep 26, 2007 10:28 AM

                                    Most of the time I go with the lamb shish kebob or the octopus saute, but I don't think you can go wrong with any of the lamb dishes. The Greek meatballs are good, great fresh cut french fries, and the Avgolemono soup has always been awesome. I like the vegetable platter too.

                                  2. re: Infomaniac
                                    t
                                    taxi Sep 30, 2007 04:36 PM

                                    And, Lowell is not that far from Burlington. Just head up Route 3 N for about 20 minutes. There are a few other Greek places in Lowell. Check superpages.com. Sorry I can't think of some names. Have fun.

                                  3. MC Slim JB Sep 26, 2007 09:29 AM

                                    I don't know about "best", but I had a very solid meal at the Greek Isles in The Fenway recently. It's a counter service place (at least at lunch): order, then they bring it to your table, which in my case was a pleasant patio seat. Beer/wine only. Big portions of nice-priced food. I had the vegetarian moussaka with a good Greek side salad and rice.

                                    2 Replies
                                    1. re: MC Slim JB
                                      ScubaSteve Sep 26, 2007 09:40 AM

                                      thanks MC, i'll file this place but with the Sox in town @705p the Fenway area is not where we wanna be. plus, we want hard likker.

                                      1. re: MC Slim JB
                                        Sal Monella Sep 27, 2007 09:00 AM

                                        Been to the Greek Isles a few times...talked with the owner at length. Good family run operation that pride themselves on quality and service. I 2nd it.

                                      2. heathermb Sep 26, 2007 09:29 AM

                                        I really like Greek Corner in Cambridge, but I don't have Greek family whose home cooking I might compare it to. That said, I think their food is great. Service and atmosphere are definitely no-frills though.

                                        2 Replies
                                        1. re: heathermb
                                          b
                                          Bluebell Sep 26, 2007 09:39 AM

                                          I also really like Greek Corner, and it is definitely run by a Greek family. They may only have beer/wine, but they do have retsina. Acropolis moved from its MassAve location to Lexington in the 80s or early 90s, and then last year it closed and is now a Mexican place.

                                          1. re: Bluebell
                                            t
                                            twentyoystahs Sep 26, 2007 10:01 AM

                                            I third Greek Corner...but definitely not high on atmosphere/ambiance. I know they've got beer and wine but I'm not sure about hard liquor.....

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