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Diners Diners Everywhere, But Not A Greek To Eat

Heidi61 Feb 15, 2008 09:27 AM

I apologize if this has been posted before, but can anyone recommend a decent Greek restaurant in Monmouth or Ocean Counties (preferably Monmouth)? We used to love Mykonos in Eatontown (near Marshall's), but it has been closed for years. I swear, my husband hallucinates about it sometimes, spotting phantom signs for the restaurant, only to have them evaporate the next time he drives past the same spot.

Yes, I know the "It's Greek to Me" chain, but the service has been spotty (especially the one in Pier Village/Long Branch) and the menu predictable. With all of the Greek diners in this area, it's a shame that most of them don't do much more than a few basic dishes (souvlaki, moussaka, etc.).

Have I missed something? Is there a great Greek restaurant hidden in some secret oasis? Or is it just a mirage?

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  1. mschow RE: Heidi61 Feb 15, 2008 09:42 AM

    This is an excellent Greek place, a bit of a ride for you , but if you love Greek, it really is good.

    1. r
      RGR RE: Heidi61 Feb 15, 2008 09:53 AM

      Hey, Heidi61,

      I see that you're new on Chowhound, so "Welcome!"

      We tried It's Greek to Me in Holmdel. The apps we ordered were so horrible that we cancelled our main course order and left!

      No, you haven't missed any hidden Greek restaurant gems in Monmouth Country because they don't exist.

      If you're willing to go Highland Park, in Middlesex County, there is Pithari Taverna. I wasn't very bowled over, but it does have fans on this board. (Paging Angelina! lol)

      1 Reply
      1. re: RGR
        bgut1 RE: RGR Feb 15, 2008 10:47 AM

        I got one in Ocean County. A small storefront in Stella Plaza in Toms River called the Athens Grill. For those familiar with El Familiar its located in the same shopping center. Good Luck.

      2. t
        teddyg RE: Heidi61 Feb 15, 2008 10:56 AM

        Yes, i agree diners just dont cut it with the greek food although they should since there pretty much all owned by greek owners. We usually go to It's greek to me in long branch and know the family that owns the one at the pier and also the one in holmde which they took over in october 2006l. The food is simple good greek food, never had a problem with the service except durning the mad summer rush which is expected. As far as food goes its as greek as you can get without going into the city and paying city prices.

        1. val ann c RE: Heidi61 Feb 15, 2008 11:51 AM

          I've been to "Greek to Me" in Holmdel many times. Not my choice, my co-workers liked it. IMO the food ranges from decent to mediocre.

          Mark your calendar for the St Kisimis Festival in Holmdel. A small church festival with great food and pastries. June 5-8, 2008. http://www.kimisis.com/parish%20organ...

          The Lebanese food at Zaitooni Deli in Red Bank is very good. For me, it's close enough to Greek.

          Zaitooni Deli
          11 Mechanic St, Red Bank, NJ

          4 Replies
          1. re: val ann c
            Heidi61 RE: val ann c Feb 15, 2008 12:01 PM

            Mschow, the menu link you posted made me salivate. THAT's the kind of Greek I'm looking for, but I have no idea where that town is. GPS, here I come.

            Many thanks to VC for Zaitooni Deli (even if it's not Greek, I like Lebanese food too!). Red Bank is very convenient for us. Will put the Festival on my calendar, but I think I have a work conflict and will be in Chicago (now there's some great Greek there).

            Will investigate the Toms River Athens Grill option too. Many thanks to everyone!

            As for "It's Greek," well, maybe if they added some more interesting special dishes? Fish specials? I dunno. The menu is ho hum, but it's better than nothing. I have had great food there, but you just never know. It's ok for take out.

            1. re: Heidi61
              RGR RE: Heidi61 Feb 15, 2008 03:42 PM

              If you like Greek and Lebanese, then how about Turkish, which is quite similar? Check out Marmara, in Manalapan.


              1. re: RGR
                mccloudnj RE: RGR Feb 16, 2008 05:20 PM

                Another good Turkish restaurant is 7 Hills of Istanbul in Highland Park. Pithari Tavern (Greek) has been giving it a run for its money though. We enjoyed Pithari immensely, and the marinated octopus is a wonderful (but expensive) appetizer. I'm just so glad to finally find a Greek place only a few miles away from me. If you like lamb, the oven roasted lamb at 7 Hills is terrific. We also like the slim fried pastry with feta cheese inside. I think it is called Sigara Boryegi.

                Oh, and Pithari Taverna has a great store attached to it, with all kinds of Greek and Middle Eastern products. Best of all, they have tahini, which is hard to find in my area.

                Anyway, sorry to ramble. Both these restaurants are good.

              2. re: Heidi61
                mschow RE: Heidi61 Feb 19, 2008 01:22 PM

                Galloway is right outside of AC, on the mainland. You hop off of the parkway, head east, and the Athenian is pretty easy to find. Might be worth the trip, the food is very authentic.

            2. p
              Paul N RE: Heidi61 Feb 16, 2008 10:36 AM

              It's in Mercer Co. (just off exit 8) but Basil's Lamb Chop House is an awesome Greek grill. And he has a special all Greek menu on Sundays.


              1. t
                tom porc RE: Heidi61 Feb 18, 2008 09:17 PM

                Synaxis on Cookman Ave in Asbury Park

                recently reviewed by Clurfeld in the Press

                7 Replies
                1. re: tom porc
                  RGR RE: tom porc Feb 19, 2008 09:17 AM

                  If you check the Synaxis thread, you'll find that reviews by most Hounds who have been there are negative.


                  1. re: RGR
                    Heidi61 RE: RGR Feb 20, 2008 12:15 PM

                    Alas, Asbury Park. Now that HAD to be too good to be true.

                    1. re: Heidi61
                      RGR RE: Heidi61 Feb 20, 2008 02:21 PM

                      My Little Fat Greek Restaurant, on Route 9, in Freehold, was reviewed by Karla Cook in this past Sunday's "NY Times." She gave it a rating of "Good" (= 1 star) though to me, the text reads more like just satisfactory. Frankly, I've never put much stock in Cook's reviews.


                      I'm almost positive one of our fellow Hounds tried it some time ago (maybe jsfein or seal?) and posted that it was mediocre. I tried searching but can't find it.

                      1. re: RGR
                        Angelina RE: RGR Feb 20, 2008 05:59 PM

                        Gross.... save your time, heartache, and trouble. SOOOOO not worth going...TRUST ME!!! If you want me to elaborate I will, I just don't know where to start.......

                        1. re: Angelina
                          diablo RE: Angelina Feb 20, 2008 06:10 PM

                          Man, that's too bad Angelina. I read the review in the Times and was going to go check this place out. I've been dreaming about good Greek food and this place was actually kind of close for me :(

                          1. re: diablo
                            Heidi61 RE: diablo Feb 21, 2008 06:43 AM

                            So my husband is not the ONLY one dreaming of good Greek food in Monmouth county? He has a partner in you, Diablo!

                            1. re: diablo
                              Angelina RE: diablo Feb 21, 2008 08:17 AM

                              I know it is close to me to. I much rather schlep over to Highland Park than eat at this place. That was a while ago, so maybe things have changed. I just have no desire whatsoever to return.

                  2. t
                    travelmad478 RE: Heidi61 Feb 21, 2008 02:09 AM

                    Does St. George's Greek Orthodox Church in Asbury Park still do the Greek Festival every year? I am reaching back several decades, but we used to go every year when I was a kid. That was the mother lode, back in the day...the big cafeteria line of Greek food cooked by every grandma in the church...amazing!

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: travelmad478
                      stack_c RE: travelmad478 Feb 24, 2008 01:50 PM

                      I heard that Synaxis is AP is actually run & owned by either the President or Pastor of St. George's Church..I can't remember exactly but I know there is a connection....

                    2. Tapas52 RE: malaka May 15, 2008 08:45 AM

                      Athens Grill Toms River on rt 166


                      1. sweethunibabi RE: Heidi61 May 21, 2008 08:23 PM

                        If you're still looking, the Holmdel Greek Fest is June 7th-9th :)

                        1. y
                          yankeefan RE: Heidi61 May 22, 2008 06:52 AM

                          Truly dont think there are any good ones in those counties. I can honestly and truly say it is worth the trip to Middlesex county and Highland Park to visit Pithari Taverna. Awesome awesome authentic greek food. really one of my favorites, incredible stuff.

                          Octopus platters, fried calamari, gyros, desserts all tremendous.


                          1. a
                            Amer5858 RE: Heidi61 May 22, 2008 07:13 AM

                            I have no answer to this question. i just wanted to say it was nice to see some of these towns listed as i grew up in Matawan.

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