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Jan 11, 2002 12:23 PM

Grecian Formula

  • l

My International Dining Club is on the letter "G"...and this can only mean Greek. (Well, it can mean a couple things, but right now it's going to mean Greek.) I don't know of any great Greek places with table service and room for a group of 10-20 to have a leisurely - read: hours-long - dinner/drinks at $20-25 a head. O Hounds, do you know of such a place?

I have sure enjoyed eating vicariously at Greek-Armenian 'hound favorites Carousel and Helena's thru your posts. Barring something new and wonderful, which of these restaurants best fits my criteria?

Thanks and happy weekending!

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  1. One word: Papadakis!

    I don't know if San Pedro is geographically undesirable to you and the group, but for great food in a group-friendly setting, it's hard to beat. I've had one or two very positive experiences there, but not recently. Other 'hounds with later visits might want to chime in and confirm/deny their worthiness.


    1 Reply
    1. re: Kriss Reed

      A hearty second for Papadakis Taverna in San Pedro for a group. We had dinner with a group of 10 a few years ago. We had a private room in the back, excellent food (and way too much! the portions are huge), great service, and they circulate the music, belly dancer, whatever, through the private rooms as well. It may be over the $20-25 price limit, though. One way to get around the cost would be to order extra appetizers and share a main course - there will still be leftovers.

      Another good choice, although behind the Orange Curtain in Fountain Valley, is Café Plaka on Brookhurst. They are most accomodating, and the place is lively, with great food. Their house special lamb dishes are especially good. Definitely within your budget. Reservation necessary for a group of ten. IMHO, Plaka is far better than Le Petit Greek in Larchmont.

      Café Plaka
      18633 Brookhurst St.
      Fountain Valley, CA
      (714) 963-4999

    2. Le Petit Greek in Larchmont is where I had a birthday dinner a couple of years ago. Had a great time.

      1 Reply
      1. re: Holly Young

        A bit of a drive, but I love Taverna Tony's in Malibu, off PCH on Cross Creek Road. W/drinks, it may cost more than $20/25.

      2. Haven't been there lately but Sofi on 3rd Street between LaCienega and Fairfax used to be very good. They have a nice patio too. Perhaps someone out there has been recently.

        6 Replies
        1. re: Robin

          I thought Sofi was pretty bad from a food perspective but OK on ambience. I'd definitely go to Carousel over Sofi.

          1. re: Dylan Yolles

            Second the opinion on Sofi.

          2. re: Robin

            I was at Sofi recently. Loved the fresh pita (brought to table piping hot and with just a touch of butter), loved the dolmathes. Avgolemono came slightly on the cool side. My seabass (I opted for the baked version) was slightly overcooked and chewy. I'm more used to seabass that melts in your mouth. My fiance's meat dish (sorry, can't remember the name) was much better.

            In short, nice ambience, decent food, large portions, slow service (in true Greek style?). The tab came to $100 before tip with the above plus 3 glasses of wine. I'd go back but it's not my favorite.

            Pita Pita (not Greek, more like Persian or Lebanese) in Pasadena (on Fair Oaks south of Colorado) is better value. It's also the only place I order lemonade (good, cheap, free refills). Everywhere else it's way too sweet and often tastes of chemicals from the fake lemon juice they use (ok, maybe not fake but certainly processed beyond recognition).

            1. re: Sonia
              michael (mea culpa)

              It's also the only place I order lemonade (good, cheap, free refills).>>
              Surprisingly, Cassel's has real good lemonade.

              1. re: Sonia

                Pita Pita is fantastic. Its actually Lebanese. I love their crunchy pita bread that you can dip into that spicy red sauce. There samosa type things(forgot the name) filled w/meat or spinach is awesome!!! Its great for a casual dinner. They also cater, if anyone is interested.

              2. re: Robin

                sofi's has never been the same since the original owners sold it, several years ago. back in the 80s it was the best!

              3. I think the Great Greek, on Ventura in Sherman Oaks would be perfect. They have a warm ambience, good location (for LA, Westside, Hollywood or Valley), you should be able to set up a menu for your party with the management within your price range if you dont' want to stick to the menu. There's music some nights.

                It's a fun place. And the food is quite good, I think.

                1. r
                  Richard Gould-Saltman

                  Petit Greek, which is close to my office, is OK but you're paying for atmosphere; ditto for Sofi.

                  Papadakis and Cafe Plaka are more bang-for-buck, less decor-for-buck (is there any significant Greek community in Orange County?)

                  NO decor, KILLER food!!!


                  7 Replies
                  1. re: Richard Gould-Saltman

                    Sofi's for me is a conundrum, one of those restaurants you keep going back to despite the fact it's not really that good. But the ambience can be terrific, particularly outside on the right day, with the aide of a bottle of retsina. Good fresh pita, a sampler of Greek salads, some spanikopita and you start to think you just might be on Hydra, especially with the weather we've been having recently. With a large groups, it's nice place to go, but don't expect the best Greek cooking West of Athens. (You have to go to London for that. Or even NY). But it's still fun. Carousel, btw, is not Greek Armenian. I would call it Armenian LEbanese, although the food is definitely better than Sofi's.

                    1. re: roger simon

                      I think that Roger is right on the money with his assessment of Sofi - and for the reason that the ambience is perfect for your event - I'd choose Sofi. I just did a lingering meal there with approx. 15 people for a 30th birthday party; the sampler appetizers intermittently placed along the table are all you need to create the feeling a real greek restaurant.

                    2. re: Richard Gould-Saltman

                      Okay, so where is C&K and Papa Christo's? And as to the question of a Greek community in OC, there is a good sized Greek Orthodox church in Long Beach, right on the OC border, and I understand there is another center somewhere in the Buena Park area.

                      1. re: LBQT
                        michael (mea culpa)

                        Okay, so where is C&K and Papa Christo's? >>
                        They're on Pico at Normandie across from St. Sofia's. A friend always calls Papa Christo's "feta attraction."

                      2. re: Richard Gould-Saltman

                        I love C&K...but I didn't think it'd be the best spot for a lingering dinner with table service. Let me know if I am woefully mistaken.

                        1. re: Lisa Bee

                          There is no table service, but for $20 a head you could eat everything on the menu.