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What's the deal with all the greek places around asheville?

Having just moved here from a place with absolutely no greek food--I can't help but notice quite a few greek diners in and around asheville. Are any of them worth going to? Any signature dishes?

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  1. many are owned by the same extended clan. none of them are anything special. my suggestions for greek food are to go to one of the church-sponsored meals (they do them at mother's day, easter and other times) or to the greek festival in the fall.

    at most of the "greek" restaurants around town, you'll find large portions of food-service grade ingredients. there are some nasty twists, too; watch out for cinnamon pizza.

    stony knob used to have some greek food, but i haven't been in quite some time to be able to say if they still have it, and whether it's good.

    there's a place downtown called the mediterranean restaurant that i think offers greek food. i've heard good things about it, but consistently forget about it when i'm on the area.

    16 Replies
    1. re: mark

      Not sure if it's the same family, but Greenville is full of restaurants owned by Greeks, but serving your basic burgers and fries and other short order stuff. Green salads w/ feta cheese are about the only nod to Greek food.

      1. re: danna

        owning restauarants must be the biggest source of income for greeks outside their home country.

        in my hometown, detroit, we have coney islands, which are essentially diners that usually offer a bit of greek fare as well. the best ones (and they are pretty good for what they are) especially lafayette, are owned by greeks.

        as to the places in asheville, the greek dressing is about the only decent thing they offer; assuming one has learned to dislodge the good stuff that settles into the bottom of the carafe.

      2. re: mark

        Please don't tell me you like that cinnamon pizza?

        1. re: southernitalian

          that cinnamon pizza is gross! my wife & i went to apollo flame years ago to try the pizza after so many locals raved about it. we eagerly dug in, and immediately stopped with aghast expressions. we decided the kitchen had accidentally spilled cinnamon on it, and were preparing to send it back when the waitress came back to ask us how it was & whether we liked their "secret" ingredient. as they seemed so proud of the cinnamon pizza, we opted not to send it back, and chalked it up to a lesson learned.

          1. re: mark

            THANK YOU, THANK YOU, THANK YOU, for finally being one of the only people I have encountered after 13 years in Asheville in agreement with me about Apollo Flame's pizza. I have only had it two or three times (three too many), and each time I have found it gross, also. Who wants cinnamon in their pizza sauce?! I cannot for the life of me understand how this place keeps such a loyal following, although a good majority of people I know who love it also think that a good steak dinner can be had at Ryan's. Aside from the pizza, I also found that their Greek dressing was completely tasteless. We have had Greek salad from Trio's Pizza (tiny hole-in-the-wall, mostly takeout place in Candler) that was pretty decent. Lots of romaine, fresh veggies, just the right amount of feta, and really tasty dressing. The pizza was okay, nothing outstanding, but I have yet to find a pizza in this town that is, other than the Boston Pizza of years ago when the original owners were there. Any ideas for a great pizza to pick up and bring home, something my 10-year old will also enjoy? We like Circle in the Square (my hubby knows the owners) for NY style, and Nona Mia for Sicilian, but other than that, we're stumped.

            1. re: stephw1

              The family that has Apollo Flame and Bellagio are the Original owners of Boston Pizza.

              1. re: stephw1

                Have you tried Digable Pizza Haywood in W. Asheville? Small place, where the hot dog shop used to be. The rosemary crust is very nice, same with the roasted veg. topping combo. Its local, focus on organic, also has a spelt crust for the wheat challenged...Think they also sell by the slice.
                http://digablepizza.com/about_us

                1. re: meatn3

                  Gotta say as much as I've been a fan of Digable (after Marco's and Circle)...that they've gone a bit downhill...or at least their quality has varied greatly IMHO....

                  1. re: jbyoga

                    Can you be more specific? I haven't been there in 7 months or so, moved away & have not gone there on my trips back. The fellow who owns it always seemed very concerned with quality. Just curious ... :)

                    1. re: meatn3

                      Well, the biggest gripe I have was ordering a slice (expecting it to be from the hot pizza they just had put into the warmer) and being served an 'old' slice as they were packaging the hot fresh ones for the next day..it wasn't good - and I've been a fan of theirs for a while but the last few times I've been there I haven't been impressed. Viva Marcos!

                2. re: stephw1

                  You're stumped? For pizza in Asheville? Have you not tried Marco's?
                  Having lived in Italy, NYC and elsewhere it is in my top 10...

                  Thanks though for the Trios review...may have to try it as I live nearby...

            2. re: mark

              I agree that some of the best true Greek food is at the church sponsored meals, not necessarily the big Greek fest. Having been to Apollo Flame and Bellagio I can tell you that their food seems barely a step up from something you'd get at a mall. Salads w/ tons of iceberg lettuce...this seems to be their trademark...quantity over quality.
              I have enjoyed lamb shanks at Stoney Knob and Pomodoro's at times has Greek dishes that are good.

              1. re: leahinsc

                Thank you everyone. All you asheville hounds have really been helpful as we are getting settled in our new home.

                Funny about the cinnamon on the pizza. A long while ago, we once had a friend who thought that being greek automatically made him an excellent cook. He also considered copious amounts of cinnamon to be his secret ingredient.

                And Leah, let me ask you, have you had any meal in the area on the same level as Five and Ten in Athens?

                1. re: charlottecooks

                  CC - interesting that you should ask....my husband and I were pondering this after our last fabulous food foray at 5 &10.....
                  Actually 28806 has had a few dishes that approached 5&10.....but not consistently, though I could drink a pitcher of their lemon ginger martinis.
                  Fig...sort of, but different style and preparation of food....
                  Then I guess I'd probably say Richmond Hill Inn.
                  So sad.....we need a 5&10 or I need to think of more excuses to drive 3 hrs to Athens for dinner!

                  1. re: leahinsc

                    Thanks, we've been wanting to try fig, so with your rec, it'll be the next place to try. We used to live in walking distance to 5 and 10. I am going through withdraw. Not that we ate there that often, but I'd always go and read the menu! We were brunch regulars, sometimes in for the prix fixe and the occasional 9 pm oyster plate with drinks. The special occasions that we went for an all out, multi-course dinner are some of my very best food and taste memories.

                  2. re: charlottecooks

                    The cinnamon seems to be traditional in some Greek meat cooking. You also find it in Cincinnati style chili, which is often sited as originating from Greek restaurant owners in that area. People usually either love it or hate it, not much feeling in between!

              2. I think pomodoros has pretty decent greek food. Salad is fresh with lots of veggies. Good mousaka and pasticio (sp).

                1. We're recent SoFla transplants and were wondering the same thing! How funny.

                  A big mistake was trying Gusmo's Mojo Cafe (on Merrimont, I think) b/c I was sure it must be Cuban/Caribbean. Turned out it wasn't "mojo" pronounced the Spanish way, but a la Austin Powers. And we do not recommend their Greek Spaghetti!

                  (We've since found Tomato's Cocina Latina for great Latin food and Ianucci's for delicious pizza, so that helped.)

                  1. Marco's Greek Salad dressing. Yum. I could almost drink it.