good Greek place for moussaka and/or dolmades in Oakland, Berkeley, San Leandro or nearby?
Looking for a Greek restaurant with table service that serves a decent moussaka. Noticed recent posts mentioning Athineon in Berkeley and Luke's Grill in San Leandro, but wasn't sure whether they have dolmades or moussaka. Athineon seems to only be open 12-5 according to Yelp, and I was hoping to go for dinner.
Also noticed Simply Greek, but I understand that this is a casual place. Are there tables to sit down and eat, or is it just take out? Also, do they usually have moussaka? I've noticed some references online to a lamb moussaka, but it doesn't appear to be listed on their current online menu.
Thanks for any of your recommendations, in advance ;-)
4060 Piedmont Ave, Oakland, CA 94611
1509 E 14th St, San Leandro, CA 94577
1941 University Ave, Berkeley, CA 94704
Simply Greek is sit down -- dolmades but no moussaka on the online menu. The online menu I saw for Luke's Grill didn't have moussaka. One Greek place that flies under the radar is Gold Coast Grill in Alameda. They have moussaka on the menu they have online, but they just did a revamp (changed the name slightly, etc.) and I don't know if the menu is the same. Worth calling and asking.
Gold Coast Grill
1901 Park St, Alameda, CA 94501
We had a decent dinner at Gold Coast Grill last night.
The atmosphere is definitely old-school. Worn leather banquettes, and slightly dark. The service was friendly.
Lots of Italian dishes are on the menu (pasta, eggplant parmigiana, picatta, etc) , in addition to the Greek dishes. We stuck to the Greek ones.
This is what we ordered:
fried calamari- a breaded version, rather than floured, served with slices of lemon, as well as tartar sauce and cocktail sauce. Fresh tasting, tender squid. Oil tasted fresh. Generous portion.
marithes tiganites (still on the menu!)- floured then fried, generous serving, over 24 marithes- but pretty standard for marithes tiganites (which just means fried smelts in Greek). Fresh tasting smelts, and skilled person manning the deep fryer. Not much in terms of seasoning- so lemon is a must ;-) In Toronto, where I live, this amount of marithes would usually cost closer to $15. I confess, I didn't try the skordalia (garlic/potato dip)- wasn't in the mood. Was surprised that it was served with marithes- usually it's served with cod (bakaliaros) more than marithes.
lamb riblettes (they were more like ribs)- not my favourite- a little on the greasy side, but ok. Served with lemon. Generous portion of 5 or 6 ribs.
Greek platter- cold (canned) rice dolmades, taramasalata, melitzanasalata, tzatziki, feta, olives, pickled peppers, veggies, pita- nice plate. The winners on this plate were the melitzanasalata (eggplant dip) and feta. One of the better restaurant versions of melitzanasalata that I have encountered, and the feta was much better quality than I've found in most Greek American restaurants.The taramasalata wasn't great- lacked the distinct salty tarama flavour. Tzatziki was just ok.
Greek salads- I didn't order this, but, but the 2 "small" Greek salads (which were quite large) at our table looked very good- including the same high quality feta, lots of tomatoes, peppers, cukes, olives.
Spanakopita- better than average filling, with detectable dill. 2 triangles. Not too much feta. I'm picky when in comes to spanakopita, and I like the filo to be crispier, brushed with more butter (rare in restaurants since it's expensive), but this was quite good for a restaurant version at this price point.
Rack of lamb- nicely seasoned (oregano, garlic, salt) , grilled rare just as ordered, very tender.
Moussaka- a generous portion which smelled good- and quite authentic- both orders at our table were polished off. I didn't try it- I was seeking out moussaka for a relative who said he was craving it, but I'm not a big fan of ground beef, so I didn't have any. Be warned that they do pour some tomato sauce on top of the bechamel (although they probably wouldn't if you mention you don't want this treatment to the moussaka).
There were no hot house-made dolmades offered as a main dish, which was consistent with the online menu.
The daily specials included a roasted chicken, petrale sole, and paella.
Fresh bread was also served in a basket, and replenished.
The Greek coffee I ordered wasn't as good as I hoped, so I'd probably skip that in the future.
Our meal came to about $160 before tax. We didn't order any alcohol or desserts.
The servers were friendly, and the owner (who is originally from Greece) was very nice. He even turned on the Greek music for us. Although the servers were not Greek or Greek American, they had learned some Greek, and knew the basics, which was a nice touch.
All in all, a decent Greek meal in the East Bay. Nothing fancy, somewhat worn but tidy atmosphere (which I anticipated) and probably not worth a serious detour, but a good weeknight meal if you're looking for an old school meal close to Alameda or Oakland. My only other meals in the area were at Nation's on Broadway and the Buttercup (which served me a surprisingly good, flavourful lentil soup), so it was a nice contrast to have some old school Greek favourites at the Gold Coast Grill.
It was nice to see a place like this was half full on a Tuesday night. A mostly 50 & 60something clientele, which seemed to be predominantly businessmen types.
One of my relatives also mentioned there was a tiny Greek place in Orinda with generous servings, and good prices- might have to seek that one out on another trip. Not sure of the name of that place.
re: Ruth Lafler
Thanks for posting this- hope to try Troy next time we're looking for a Greek restaurant in the area. Nice to see they have even more Greek options on the menu ;-)
Happy to also see Avgolemono soup & pastitsio on Troy's menu. Gold Coast Grill only serves Avgolemono on Saturdays IIRC.