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Mar 27, 2009 03:21 PM

Greek in Connecticut?

Looking for the real thing-not pizza/gyros/diner food.
Closer to New Haven the better.
Mavi in Bloomfield comes up in a Google search, as does 'Tapas Restaurant' in West Hartford.

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  1. I have been on this hunt for YEARS and usually come up with some crappy Greek pizza place or a diner. Tapas is good, though not what you are looking for. They make a good, albeit expensive for what it is, gyro which isn't truly Greek anyway. Their tzatziki is nice and they make a good Greek salad but that's as Greek as they get. When I lived on the shoreline I couldn't find a thing, but word on the street is there is a place called the Greek Olive next to Ikea in NH and Eos in Stamford. I can't vouch for either of these but hopefully someone else can comment.

    9 Replies
    1. re: mels

      Laskara in Wallingford ( does well in a pinch, producing a good spanikopita and salad/grape leaves. There a few dinner entrees that are Greek but the menu is an amalgam of 'Mediterranean', not pure Greek.
      I usually get my fix at the late summer Greek festival in Orange, or make my own.
      Basel's we miss you!

      1. re: cannedpoo

        Not just Basel's, but IDRA on Dixwell next to the post office..............

        1. re: bagelman01

          B'man, isn't / wasn't there a Greek place on Dixwell at Benham? This was 1980 when I went back there for my mother's funeral. My Aunt and Uncle took me there for dinner the day I flew in.
          IDRA; next to the p.o. on Dixwell at Circular?

          1. re: mucho gordo

            No, IDRA was next to the PO on Dixwell aboiut three blocks south of Benham.
            At the corner of Dixwell and Benham is the Acropolis Diner. Been there since the early 70s. Greek owned, but not greek food (except for souvlaki, moussaka and stuffed grape leaves).
            There is no PO where Dixwell meets Circular, just Banks and French Italian Importing Liqour store.

            Acropolis Diner
            1864 Dixwell Ave, Hamden, CT 06514

            1. re: bagelman01

              That PO must be fairly new (at least to me). The only other building I can recall in the vicinity was on the next corner from Benham; Cherry Hill St. (Cherry Hill Pharmacy). The next commercial building south would have been the auto repair shop (Rheinwald's?).
              The PO used to be in the bank building in back. There was an entrance on Dixwell. I remember the French Italian; my uncle had his law office upstairs.

      2. re: mels

        Tapas also makes spanakopita and chicken Mykonos.

        Luckily, the Greek festival season is almost upon us. Mark your calendars!

        Waterbury - May 7-10, 2009:

        New Britain - May 27-29, 2009:

        Hartford - June 4-7, 2009:

        I'll be the one running for the galaktoboureko before it sells out! :)

        1. re: kattyeyes

          REMINDER: Waterbury Greek Festival this weekend @ Holy Trinity Greek Orthodox Church on Chase Parkway. Hoping to get there today or tomorrow! Link to menu and activities here:

        2. re: mels

          Eos in Stamford is hands down the best Greek I've had in Fairfield County. The restaurant feels family owned, and is elegant yet casual at the same time. It is reasonably priced with apps from $5 for hummus and delicious souvlaki sticks to $15 for the best Grilled Octopus (with grilled arugula and capers) I've had since I lived in Seattle. We had the Gigantes beans in an olive oil & tomato sauce, which was thankfully served with both wheat and white homemade pita, b/c you wanted to drink the sauce, but dipping was a fine alternative. The Feta & Kalamata Olives were outrageous. Then, when we thought we had no room left, two beautiful whole grilled fish were brought out, Snapper and Branzino, cooked to perfection. These came with great sides you could choose from. We loved the sauteed spinach which was a dairy free version of a creamed spinach, with olive oil and some other ingredient we couldn't define. The french fries were thick and salty, and the only side we didn't love was the artichokes with peas. I'd pass on that one, but everything else was just fabulous. The attentive and helpful wait staff paired our meal with a great Greek wine. It was all in all a wonderful evening. We look forward to going back soon.

          1. re: mels

            Eos in Stamford is amazing...I live a ways away, but any timeI'm in the area I go there. Their fried zucchini with skordalia (garlic potato spread) is great, I love the grilled octopus and calamari. Great authentic tzatziki for their lamb, chicken, and pork skewers...which also accompanies their greek burger and souvlaki/gyro sandwiches. They have a magnificent flaming saganaki (cheese). My friends have liked the spanakopita and moussaka...but I have to admit to being a little bit of a snob there...I like mine more!

          2. My Greek carpenter just recently told me of a place on the Berlin Turnpike that just opened up; it's at the foot of the hill atop which used to be the Hartford Drive-In (now it's condos). There's a McDonald's across the road. It's supposed to be haute Greek cuisine, including avgolemono soup, taramosalada and other goodies...

            2 Replies
            1. re: shaogo

              This must be it. I have to tell you--I hadn't noticed it, but I'll be on the pike today and I'll look. Interesting addition to that neck of the woods!


              Looks like it's right next to the A&P Liquor Store (on the left of the restaurant in the picture). A&P is 2400, so that makes sense. Guess MotoPhoto is gone!

              1. re: kattyeyes

                Looks tempting...I might take a ride up there and check it out...
                If anyone else does please report back!

            2. From the looks of the website, these folks couldn't divorce themselves from the pizza concept - but I'm gonna try their Tzaziki. To me that's the barometer of authenticity of a good Greek place. My Greek guy also said that they had Taromasalada (red caviar salad) - maybe he was mistaken or maybe it's not on the menu.

              1. So I tried out Cavos in Newington last night. I had the gyro plate, dining partner had the moussaka and we started out with the saganaki. The saganaki wasn't served in the traditional pan, but rather fried and put on a plate so it lost a lot of heat by the time it arrived making the cheese kind of warm and rubbery. Next a complimentary basket of garlic bread came to our table. Barely toasted, barely any garlic flavor. Not really good. Greek salads came with the meals - standard lettuce, tomato, feta, cucumber and one kalamata olive dressed in what tasted like bottled Italian dressing. I had the gyro plate which came with a pile of meat, pita on the side, tzatziki, rice and fries. The gyro meat was spiced perfectly, delicious. Pita was warm and fresh and the tzatziki was thick and garlicky...loved it. Unfortunately the moussaka was pretty bad. It had the standard meat and bechamel, but the meat tasted like it was straight out of their meat sauce used for pasta (think meat and marinara) with little to no other seasoning in the dish. No subtle cinnamon flavor like there should be...this was bland stuff. It was all covered by a brown beef gravy. Having eaten Greek many times I have never encountered a creation like this and honestly, hope never to again.

                The verdict? Stay far away from the moussaka however I'll show up any time to eat another gyro.

                2 Replies
                1. re: mels

                  Too bad ... sounds mediocre at best.
                  If I get a hankerin' for gyro's- I'll stick to with Yorkside Pizza on York St in New Haven. They are the best I've had.
                  Also a Turkish food from the Turkish Kebap House in West Haven does really well when one has to have some of that middle eastern/meze/lamb fix...

                  1. re: mels

                    mels, nice call on the gyro! I had one in a pita (not as a plate) today for lunch and just loved it. My dining companion had chicken souvlaki and was just as impressed--though having shared across the table, we both agreed I had the meat of choice in my gyro!

                    Everything you mentioned was dead on--warm, soft, fresh pita; thick, garlicky tzatziki; tender, perfectly spiced meat and PLENTY of it! There was no way I could pick it up to eat it as a sandwich--it was brimming with meat. I had to use my fork, but this isn't a complaint whatsoever. It was extremely filling and so tasty.

                    I am crazy for for galaktobourikos and had to try it for dessert, even if I knew I couldn't finish it. Delicious!

                    BTW, we started with a bowl of avoglemono, which was lovely. I would highly recommend any of the items we ate for any Greek-food-loving chowhound within driving distance of the pike.

                  2. It's hardly a full Greek menu, and you'd never guess there was anything Greek about the place at all from the outside (or the inside, for that matter). But the "Cozy Cottage," a little restaurant on the south side of Durham (west side of rte 17, right near the intersection with 79 to Madison), has a couple of real winners.

                    The moussaka, for one, is really outstanding: genuinely light (if "light moussaka" is not an oxymoron), and fresh. Likewise the spannakopitta: fresh tasting spinach and feta wrapped in phyllo. Neither of these is the standard thick, heavy, been-sitting-on-the-steam-table-all-day variety that is so standard at Connecticut's Greek diners. No taramasalata or other meze-type appetizers, but the pastitsio looked as good as the moussaka, so I'll try that another time. There's also a grilled lamb dish that might be better than you'd expect, and a couple of other Greek main courses. Plus gyros, of course, though I don't know about that.

                    This is not the answer to the search for a full-scale Greek restaurant, but it is run by Greeks, and the Greek things they make are well worth stopping for.

                    11 Replies
                    1. re: linguist

                      linguist, nice call on Cozy Corner--thanks for the tip! I had to travel in that direction today, so we stopped in for lunch. The spanakopita was fresh and wonderful, just as you described. Since spanakopita was listed on the board only as a special and not on the menu, I checked with the waitress, but she said they make it just about every day. It was excellent!

                      The gyro was of the preformed variety (rather than the freshly sliced meat at Cavos on the pike), but tasty and very filling just the same.

                      Cozy Corner Restaurant & Pizza
                      5 New Haven Rd, Durham, CT 06422

                      1. re: kattyeyes

                        Glad you liked it! Be sure to try the moussaka next time. I was afraid the gyros might not be as special... I think the Greek items are all pretty regular appearances on the "specials" board.

                        1. re: linguist

                          While New Haven has been acclaimed as a real restaurant destination, the lack of a "real" Greek restaurant is glaring (and by "real," I am excluding Greek diners or pizza places that have a few Greek dishes). As sophisticated as the New Haven restaurant scene has become, it is very surprising that no body has sought to fill this void. I fondly remember the "old days" at Basel's.....and yet, as "evolved" as Greek cuisine has become in other cities, it has not made it this far.....

                          1. re: lsnhc

                            This is especially frustrating given the fairly substantial Greek population in the area, and the fact that a couple dozen of the first and second generation Greeks from St. Barbara's in Orange are bar and restaurant owners in the area. They know good Greek food, and they prepare it for church social events. But they don't seem to think that enough non-Greeks in the area are interested in real Greek food. Even the food they have at the Odyssey festival, while good, is not on par with the food at the smaller church social events, or the food they make in the church's Greek cooking class.

                            1. re: danieljdwyer

                              New Haven had True Greeks restaurants for years, but they folded long before New Haven became a restaurant destination.

                              Basels was on State St. for many years but the area became so unsafe that it couldn't survive. I believe it closed about 1980.

                              On Dixwell in Hamden, just south of the Post Office next to the Madison Apartments was IDRA, a Greek Restaurant and Nightclub that survived until the early 1980s. Since them nothing.

                              1. re: bagelman01

                                WOW! I would be totally lost there now. There were no apartments on Dixwell in that area back then; just homes.

                            2. re: lsnhc

                              Funny, I don't remember Basel's as being Greek. I haven't been there since the '50's but I remember it being German/Swedish or something similar.

                              1. re: mucho gordo

                                Not Basel as in Switzerland <VBG>
                                Basel's was greek with Bozouki dancing in the aisles.

                                1. re: bagelman01

                                  Ahh......I loved Basel's! It was at the corner of State and East St. and was the quintessential Greek restaurant. On Saturday nights, they had a band and after ample quantities of wine and ouzo, literally everybody was dancing around the dining room (always led by Mrs Basel!!).
                                  I have long wondered why there are no true Greek restaurants in the New Haven area, especially given the significant Greek population.

                                  1. re: lsnhc

                                    As sterotypical as it sounds, many of the local Greek population are in the food bsiness and working those hours necessary to support a restaurant.
                                    Idra, the Greek restaurant/nightclub had a large Greek clientele, but was short lived.
                                    Today, the best 'authentic' Greek food in the area are found at the annual church fairs in Orange and Bridgeport.

                          2. re: kattyeyes

                            NO MORE SPANAKOPITA at Cozy Corner. :( Stopped in on my way home specifically to pick some up, but it's off the menu completely now. Whattashame.