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Baltimore's Best Greek

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wcgirl Mar 20, 2011 06:25 PM

I'm taking my friend out to dinner this weekend and I'd really like to introduce her to greek food. She has never had it. what is my best bet to wow my friend into loving greek food? Which restaurant will be the best experience?? (and is Zorba's still good?)

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Zorba's
4710 Eastern Ave, Baltimore, MD 21224

  1. ChristinaMason Jul 12, 2011 08:11 PM

    My husband and I were just at Zorba's this past weekend and were seriously disappointed. All of the food was severly underseasoned and just not very fresh or well prepared. Our fried calamari starter ($10) was so overcooked, it was like eating chewy fried rubberbands with no seasoning. We were tempted to send it back and, in retrospect, should have. The "peasant salad" of chopped cucumber, tomato, and olives ($8?) was just OK; the thick slices of feta cheese on top were delicious, but the vegetables themselves tasted like your average dull hothouse vegetables. The dressing claimed to be homemade, but I had my doubts.

    For the main, we split the whole grilled fish special, a branzino served with roasted potatoes and tomato-braised green beans ($23.95). This was the most disappointing of all---the fish had almost no seasoning whatsoever. I could have sworn it was cooked from frozen, because the flesh had none of that succulent sweetness or actual flavor you'd expect from a fresh whole fish. In general, all of the food was coated in a slick of oil instead of being seasoned with any kind of herb, spice, or salt. And I recognize that American Greek food is not always robustly seasoned, but this was ridiculously bland.

    The off-dry Greek white wine (there was no wine list so we went with the only "Greek white" option the waitress offered) was fine but nothing I'd return for.

    And the service? It was no better than the food. Our server was well-meaning but very inattentive. We had to ask for water, pile our plates to be cleared, etc. She didn't even come to check on us or inquire about the food during our meal. We're not high-maintenance diners, but I've had much better, fresher seafood prepared and served with more care elsewhere. I won't return and would not recommend Zorba's to anyone.

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    Zorba's
    4710 Eastern Ave, Baltimore, MD 21224

    1. e
      elgringoviejo Mar 29, 2011 05:36 PM

      Acropolis

      9 Replies
      1. re: elgringoviejo
        j
        jvanderh Mar 31, 2011 06:51 PM

        wholeheartedly disagree

        1. re: jvanderh
          e
          elgringoviejo Apr 18, 2011 02:14 PM

          Lunched at Ikaros today and thought it was excellent. Samos and Zorba's are quite good, but Ikaros knows how to prepare an excellent taramsald and tas kebab. Will check out Acropolis soon to see if they have slipped in light of your post. Do you like Ikaros or not?

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          Zorba's
          4710 Eastern Ave, Baltimore, MD 21224

          1. re: elgringoviejo
            j
            jvanderh Apr 18, 2011 03:34 PM

            Can't recall whether I've been. I work nearby, but have been sticking to the taco joints for lunch after being disappointed so many times with Greek.

            1. re: elgringoviejo
              b
              bmorecupcake Apr 19, 2011 09:48 AM

              The calamari at Ikaros used to be reliably excellent. Recently, it's been hit or miss for us and we're about to give up. Sometimes it comes out overcooked, sometimes fried in old oil. Quite sad. They still make our favorite tzatziki and eggplant salad.

              A little bit down the street is a Greek bakery selling fresh bread. That bakery also has imported olive, cheese, and bake their own desserts. Their spanakopita is sometimes fresh. You'll know because it's stored in a refrigerator and cold to the touch when not fresh.

              1. re: bmorecupcake
                j
                jvanderh Apr 19, 2011 10:48 AM

                Fresh bread sounds good, and so does spanakopita. Where's that?

                1. re: jvanderh
                  h
                  hon Apr 19, 2011 01:26 PM

                  spinach pie

                  1. re: hon
                    j
                    jvanderh Apr 19, 2011 02:37 PM

                    Where, not what! :-P

                  2. re: jvanderh
                    b
                    bmorecupcake Apr 19, 2011 06:38 PM

                    Greek Village Bakery
                    4711 Eastern Ave
                    410-675-8155
                    http://www.greekvillagebakery.com/home/

                    Just be on top of your game when getting the spinach pie. The owner will always say "yes, yes, fresh" regardless. Still, it's a very charming little shop.

                    Here's a Google Maps pic:
                    http://maps.google.com/maps?q=4805+Ea...

                  3. re: bmorecupcake
                    h
                    Hal Laurent Apr 19, 2011 03:33 PM

                    We've also experienced that recently with the fried calamari. Never overcooked, but occasionally fried in old oil. A damn shame, 'cause it's really good when the oil is fresh. I think I'll start asking the waitron about how the calamari are before ordering.

                    Ikaros is still one of my two favorite places to get whole fish (the other being the Black Olive).

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                    Black Olive
                    814 S. Bond Street, Baltimore, MD 21231

            2. JonParker Mar 20, 2011 08:11 PM

              If price is no object, then Black Olive is very good and well worth the money. Zorba's is excellent, especially the lamb chops. It's been a while since I've been to Ikaros but I liked it fine.

              Samos is good if you're wanting gyros and souvlaki, but getting a table can be a long process.

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              Samos
              600 Oldham St, Baltimore, MD

              Zorba's
              4710 Eastern Ave, Baltimore, MD 21224

              Black Olive
              814 S. Bond Street, Baltimore, MD 21231

              12 Replies
              1. re: JonParker
                monkeyrotica Mar 21, 2011 06:05 AM

                Second Zorba's and Samos. The pitas at the latter are addictive.

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                Zorba's
                4710 Eastern Ave, Baltimore, MD 21224

                1. re: JonParker
                  e
                  edresner Mar 21, 2011 06:23 AM

                  Samos is great, but as has been said get there early to ensure a quicker table. It's also BYOB.

                  1. re: edresner
                    JonParker Mar 21, 2011 09:22 AM

                    I used to love Samos, but at some point the balance of food quality vs. the pain of getting a table tipped over, and I haven't been back since. I guess it also bugs me that the place gets so much love vs. better and more interesting places, like Zorba's.

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                    Zorba's
                    4710 Eastern Ave, Baltimore, MD 21224

                    1. re: JonParker
                      w
                      wcgirl Mar 21, 2011 09:39 AM

                      So I was leaning towards Zorba's, but haven't been there in about 4 years...it's really still good?

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                      Zorba's
                      4710 Eastern Ave, Baltimore, MD 21224

                      1. re: wcgirl
                        JonParker Mar 21, 2011 12:30 PM

                        Yeah, it really still is.

                        1. re: JonParker
                          j
                          JamesPapa Mar 21, 2011 04:16 PM

                          Zorba's is still good. But if the weather is nice, you might want to check out Black Olive in Fells. Can't really go wrong with either. Food is good there too and if she is new in town it is nice place to walk off dinner after.

                          -----
                          Zorba's
                          4710 Eastern Ave, Baltimore, MD 21224

                          Black Olive
                          814 S. Bond Street, Baltimore, MD 21231

                          1. re: JamesPapa
                            j
                            JamesPapa Mar 21, 2011 04:18 PM

                            Not to mention there is a couple places that could be good for dessert in Fells, but you would not go wrong with Baklava and something else Greeky from Zorbas if it is freshly made.

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                            Zorba's
                            4710 Eastern Ave, Baltimore, MD 21224

                      2. re: JonParker
                        r
                        ronandaim Mar 21, 2011 05:54 PM

                        Jon-Any "can't miss" items at Zorba's?

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                        Zorba's
                        4710 Eastern Ave, Baltimore, MD 21224

                        1. re: ronandaim
                          j
                          JamesPapa Mar 21, 2011 06:10 PM

                          Lamb Chops are banging. The Home Made Desserts. Baklava is mad good. Marinated Octopus if your feeling wild. Rotisserie Chicken..

                          Oh yea, btw, it is GREEK WEEK in B-MORE. Zorba’s has a $16 Greek buffet from Monday through Thursday, 5 p.m. until closing. Try lots of items! Call for more details and whatnot. And BO? has a fixed-priced something. My friend just told me this info. Yay, I am heading out tomorrowwwwww

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                          Zorba's
                          4710 Eastern Ave, Baltimore, MD 21224

                          1. re: ronandaim
                            JonParker Mar 21, 2011 09:54 PM

                            The lamb chops and the grilled octopus. I've had worse lamb chops in far better restaurants. I think Zorba's may be the best I ever had.

                            One of the things that I can't decide is delightful or obnoxious about nearly all Baltimore Greek places is their insistence on serving this dish of canned green beans in canned tomatoes. It's just awful, and they nearly all do it. So avoid that, or get it as one of your sides and don't eat it.

                            A good rule of thumb at Zorba's is that if it comes off the grill it will be good to excellent -- stray from that and you're on your own.

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                            Zorba's
                            4710 Eastern Ave, Baltimore, MD 21224

                            1. re: JonParker
                              h
                              Hue Mar 22, 2011 02:16 PM

                              I rather enjoy those overcooked green beans!!!

                      3. re: JonParker
                        s
                        southbaltimoregirl Apr 20, 2011 09:48 AM

                        Samos's shrimp stick just got mentioned in this story.
                        http://www.citysbest.com/baltimore/ne...

                        Looks pretty good.

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