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Aug 10, 2008 08:21 AM

Dio Deka, not everything I had hoped

Despite my passion for all things Greek, it took us forever to try Dio Deka, mainly because the word on the street was that it's very noisy, which as it turns out, it isn't. At least not as noisy as I was led to believe. What it also wasn't was as fantastic as I had heard. We had the lamb chops and they are truly wonderful, huge and perfectly done on a bed of spinach, with three big chunks of perfectly fried potatoes. And the service was unquestionably professional and attentive, although you would expect that for the price, which is high. And even though the place was full, we were pleasantly not rushed.

I was, however, unimpressed by the mezes. We got a little bowl of pita with no offer for a refill. The tarama came in a very (very) junior scoop, and wasn't even as good as the taramasalata we get in a jar at the International Market, much less the creamy wonderful stuff they serve at the Athena Grill. The octopus was OK, six pieces for four people, why do they do that . . . I'd almost prefer four. Ultimately mezes are the measure of a good Greek restaurant, and they shouldn't skimp.

The place really doesn't seem at all Greek. The cooks do sport Greek fisherman caps, which is a little silly. And while I don't expect a "Greek" restaurant of this caliber to have Zorba murals on the walls, the place is beyond bland. That's generally the case with restaurants in Los Gatos . . . nobody wants to trouble the waters with anything too bold on any level, but this place is supposed to compete with Evvia and Kokkari. They haven't lured me away. To the contrary, I'm left with a yearning for feta cheese and olives, taramasalata, and a big plate of gigantes. Greek cuisine.

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  1. I had a similar experience there when I went earlier this summer. My ethnic background is Greek and I looked forward to trying this place after hearing such rave reviews. I really wanted to like it more than I did. Like you I thought the service was impeccable and I liked the setting. Like you I was disappointed with the mezethes. I really did like their pita bread. We asked for more and they gave us some. One of my favorite foods on the planet is taramosalata. The taramosalata at Dio Deka is one of the worst versions I remember ever having. The grilled octopus I thought was good. The other mezethes I thought were just ok as was the Greek salad and the main courses. The following month we ate at Kokkari when my folks were visiting. I meant to post a review of our dinner but never got around to it. There was no comparison. Our meal at Kokkari was absolutely delicious and as usual we were stunned by how amazing the desserts were.

    1 Reply
    1. re: Ridge

      I forgot to mention that we had the Milla Foy (I think that's what it's called) which is Dio Deka's "signature dessert." It's a giant almond fillo concoction layered with a light rum cream. It's very impressive to look at but nothing memorable to eat, and again, hardly anything you'd associate with Greek cuisine. I should have followed my heart to the loukoumades, maybe they were better. I didn't order them because I think of them as something you enjoy in the street, hot from the oil.

    2. My experience was also similar. I do think that the real strength of the restaurant is anything that comes from the grill - the lamb chops, squid and pork chops all came off the grill and each was expertly, perfectly cooked. Perfectly. The braised lamb leg was decent, but the orzo that came with it was far, far too rich.

      I would argue that it's more appropriate to think of Dio Deka as a very good steakhouse with a modest splash of Greek. If you do, it could be a useful place for certain occasions - a satisfying location for less-adventurous types who might not appreciate a more traditional Greek meal but want a break from the usual.

      I also agree with the OP about the noise. It was loud but I was ready for deafening, and it was far from that. Maybe a bit loud for the grandparents, but fine for most.

      1. I am likewise not a fan of Dio Deka, but for different reasons. The vaunted lamb chops were perhaps the worst lamb dish we've ever had. Despite their thickness they were utterly devoid of lamb flavor, tasting only of the char and the (not so great) rub. They would have been disappointing at half the price; at the prices Dio Deka charges this was mind-boggling.

        The vegetable dishes were very good; we did not try any of the dips. There is no way this place compares favorably to Evvia for high end Cal/Greek, Athena Grill on the homier side, or any reasonably competent restaurant serving grilled red meat dishes. Avoid.


        1. link

          Dio Deka
          210 E. Main Street, Los Gatos, CA 95030

          1. I guess you should have been warned, but now it's too late: D2 is not a typical Greek restaurant, even though the lamb chops and lamp lollipops are the best I've had anywhere, except at my house. Like all restos, some dishes are really disappointing (moussaka, milla foy, "donuts"), while others are great (fish dishes, lamb dishes, yogurt dessert). I'm surprised that others don't think it's loud - we have to shout, and our ears always ring afterward, but perhaps I'm just old. Overall, it's still our favorite mid-high-end resto because we always have such fun when we go there (convivial atmosphere, our favorite all-time server, etc.) even when we just go alone w/o friends.