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Papas' Taverna - Petaluma CA

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Had dinner at Papas' Taverna with my husband and in-laws tonight. (On their website and on their staff's T-shirts, it's spelled "Papas' Taverna", but on their restaurant sign it reads "Papa's Taverna").

Papas' Taverna opens at 7pm (winter hours). We arrived at 7:30pm to find the downstairs nearly full, so we had to sit near the back underneath the gazebo. There is a $15 minimum charge per person downstairs because of the live music and belly dancers.

The "live music" did not show up... the band supposedly got stuck in traffic. It was a while before anyone came to our table.

The drinks were all right. I was a bit disappointed with my iced tea as I'd read online reviews raving about it and it was merely okay. Watery and mildly spiced. My husband ordered one of the Greek beers and found it so-so.

The bread was stone-cold... I don't like it when restaurants do that, but usually it's forgivable.

Service was reaaaallllly slow. Maybe it was because we were seated in a corner, but we felt neglected most of the evening.

My moussaka was hearty, though a bit too salty for my liking. The vegetables were well-done. The dolmas tasted just like the kind they sell in cans at my husband's workplace. The orzo was yummy (you can't really mess up orzo, can you?). The salad... we could make better ones at home.

My husband and the in-laws ordered some kind of combination plate, and they seemed to have liked their dinners. No one raved about their food though.

There were three belly dancers. They put on a good show that lasted around 20 minutes. There was an invitation for the restaurant-goers to dance, and a group of people went up, but there was no live music, no DJs, so... yeah. Maybe it's more fun on other evenings.

Overall, it was a disappointing experience. Should've picked another restaurant for my birthday celebration because we felt we should've enjoyed ourselves at a place like this, but did not.

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Papa's Taverna
5688 Lakeville Hwy, Petaluma, CA 94954

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  1. Please someone say they really like this place and why. I've tried to like it several times over several years. The last time, though, was nine years ago on a Sunday afternoon with a live Greek band downstairs that turned out the dreariest music you could ever (not) imagine from a Greek band. And the food was just OK as usual. Is it ever better than that?

    1 Reply
    1. re: Mick Ruthven

      Here's a sort of favorable report from 2006

      Papa's Taverna, Petaluma report w/ pics
      http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/45836

      A not so successful lunch in 2003
      http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/24019

      A better report also circa 2003
      http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/25765

      I thought there was an longer chowdown report but I guess not.

    2. Sad to say its always been mediocre for all the years I can remember. Which is too bad because I would love to find even a "pretty good" or "average" Greek restaurant in the North Bay but Papas falls short in my opinion

      1. I was there for lunch on a weekday a few months ago. We sat by the window and had a nice view of the river and the funky little marina. The food was fine -- nothing memorable but a good lunch. I go there for the nice riverside ambiance.

        A friend of mine used to take his Sunday NY Times and go for breakfast. The place wasn't crowded in the morning, so he could spread out and relax and chat with the owner/waitress.

        1. wish i could contradict you, but I've tried the place twice and both times meh. I am drawn to funky kitsch places like Papas', but there has to be a degree of edible food and attentive service too. Shame, really.

          1. So does anyone have any reasonable Greek alternatives to recommend? Especially in the North Bay? I know about and have been to some in the Sf and know about ones in the South Bay but having just recently returned to the Bay area I was wondering if there were any in the North Bay that I had missed?

            1. Papa's now has a new owner, new chef and new menu.

              I believe it's a family member but they wanted to spread the word that there are lots of changes in the works. Many of the wait staff seems the same.

              5 Replies
              1. re: MSK

                Have you tried the restaurant since the ownership change? If anyone has, I hope they start a new thread so changes don't get buried at the end of this thread. I did make a note on the Place linkl

                1. re: rworange

                  There was another thread about a week ago. I can't find it anymore. Melanie Wong posted asking a question in the middle of the thread.

                2. re: MSK

                  >Papa's now has a new owner, new chef and new menu.<

                  Do you know when that occurred?

                  1. re: Mick Ruthven

                    Sometime in April 09. My daughter rides horses at a barn nearby and she loves to go for Falafels afterward. They closed down for a week or two but things look very much the same inside (menu is a bit different). We picked up a few Gyros for take-out since they've re-opened but did not stay so we really could not get a sense if the change is +, - or =.

                    I would love to see some newer, more innovative items on the menu in addition to the traditional fare.

                    The staff says everything is updated, really, really fresh and that they are planning on expanding their hours. They are excited about the changes. I'll send you a gold star for your forehead if you can pronounce the new owner's name from the website.

                    They specifically asked us to spread the word. I think I would recommend waiting just a bit until they get their "sea legs."

                    1. re: MSK

                      >Sometime in April 09<

                      Good, that's after the original posting in this thread. I'll have to get there this weekend for lunch. If I don't like it I won't report because it would be too soon. I'd be very happy with traditional fare done well :-)