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May 5, 2011 06:48 PM

What is the best Greek restaurant?

North of the 8 and west of the 15 freeways.

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  1. Apollonia in the Costa Verde center has very good stuff. The tzatziki is the best and they have authentic greek salad, which is called horiatiki salad, just ask for extra feta cheese.

    1. San Diego doesn't have good Greek restaurants that I know of. Cafe Athena in PB is not bad.

      Cafe Athena
      1846 Garnet Ave, San Diego, CA 92109

      1 Reply
      1. re: Josh

        Apollonia is the "sister restaurant" of Cafe Athena, so they pretty much are the same restaurant. We eat there about every 3 or 4 months on average. I would probably characterize it as "pretty good" (somewhere between Josh and 4wino :).

        When I lived in Rancho Bernardo 5 years back, we'd eat at the Pegasus Cafe from time to time. More "homey" than Apollonia, and in my opinion slightly better. But it probably has been 4 years since I've been there. It is slightly east of the 15, though, so it might not fit terlin's criteria. :)

      2. The Santorini Island Grill franchises are consistent and make really good, fresh food.
        3 of the locations are West of the 15.

        Santorini Island Grill
        3295 Business Park Dr, Vista, CA 92081

        15 Replies
        1. re: Cathy

          We have eaten at the Scripps Ranch location and the food is rather underwhelming.

          1. re: Cathy

            Just went to the Scripps Ranch location, mostly because Waihina Kai shave ice is next door. It is better than Daphne's, although that is not saying much. Got the chicken and beef skewer dinner w/ a side of dolmas. Big plus that the chicken and beef were moist and had some flavor and a decent smokiness from the grill. They were better w/ a dousing of the vinegary hot sauce and tzatziki. Pita was soft and reasonably tasty.

            However, the greek salad and dolmas left a lot to be desired. Salad dressing was too oily and didn't have enough acid, leaving the salad greens limp and tasteless. Tomatoes looked like they were cut hours before and were limp by the time they hit the table. The feta cheese helped add some flavor but quite frankly, I can make a better Greek salad than this!

            Dolmas were also bland and flavorless, not helped by the dousing of oily salad dressing and overgenerous hit of ground black pepper. Was better after a hit of the hot sauce and tzatziki. However, I've had more flavorful dolmas from Trader Joe's.

            Service was prompt and friendly--the biggest plus.

            Overall, I wouldn't go out of my way to eat here. However, if I was in the area and didn't want to eat at Subway or the number of fast food chains in the immediate vicinity, I would consider going back.

            1. re: daantaat

              Daantaant, if you want to taste a real Greek salad, go to Apollonia in Costa Verde Center. And don't ask for the Greek salad, ask for the Horiatiki salad. There won't be any lettuce in there. I would also ask for extra feta cheese. In Greece they give you a huge block of feta cheese on top of the salad, while at Apollonia it's just two small cubes. But they will accomodate your request.

                1. re: daantaat

                  FYI to add to 4wino's comment, here's a pic I took of a Horiatiki Salata in Athens just last August... -

                  I'd love to find some of the simple, non-fussy but absolutely delicious charcoal-grilled seafood that they have over there, such as this grilled calamari ( or this beautiful grilled octopus ( )...

                  nyone know if any of our Greek places comes even remotely close to serving something like this?

                  1. re: cgfan

                    Great pictures cgfan. Now that is what I call a nice block of cheese. And the calamari...

                    1. re: cgfan

                      It will be hard to find something as good as freshly grilled calamari directly next to the Mediterrean Sea (I miss doing the same at the Croatian coast) but the octopus appetizer at Starlite is surprisingly good

                      1. re: honkman

                        Is this kind of cuisine so inherently unobtainable? Perhaps I'm being too optimistic, but all it would take is for someone to open up a shop sourcing the best seafood from around the world much like a Sushi bar, and preparing it in a simple, Mediterranean way.

                        After all if we could have quality oyster bars, Sushi bars and Mariscos restaurants, all operations that seek out the freshest of seafood for a customer base that is willing to pay for the quality, why not a quality Mediterranean Seafood Grill?

                        Come to think of it along the same vein, San Diego could still use a true Robata-ya...

                        1. re: cgfan

                          I want that salad NOW! San Diego could also use a restaurant with New Mexican cusine.

                      2. re: cgfan

                        now THAT is some smashing Horiatiki Salata and calamari! I can almost taste it through the photos!

                        1. re: cgfan

                          That is one hell of a Horiatiki Salata salad in Athens..
                          My mouth is watering wishing I was there..

                          1. re: cgfan

                            Wow remind me to get a lot of recommendations from you if I ever visit Greece...

                            Just a big "WOW" on those photos....

                            1. re: karaethon

                              Thanks karaethon... The irony is that Stateside we tend to over-complicate things and forget sometimes just how simple good food can be... What, just fresh octopus or squid over a charcoal fire, olive oil, and maybe some salt and a wedge of lemon...

                              It was such a treat eating there that I ordered "much like a food reviewer" with every meal, focusing on variety rather than worry about not finishing. I recall some kids at the next table staring at the plates and asking me: "Are you going to eat all that?"...

                          2. re: daantaat

                            These are great pictures - the best part was that a salad that looked (and tasted) exactly like this could be had at just about any taverna in Athens. I spent 5 days there last year, and had a salad and a Mythos for lunch just about everyday! Apollonia is an adequate approximation at best, and will quiet a craving - but I wouldn't compare it to the salad in the picture! It is to an Athenian taverna, what Bronx Pizza is to diFara's or Grimaldis.

                            1. re: ipsit

                              Ipsit, it's not rocket science to make a good Greek salad. Fresh ingredients and a freshly made salad dressing and voila. The only thing missing at Apollonia is the big block of feta cheese.

                    2. Olympic Cafe at Texas & University in Hillcrest/N. Park is a very good family run operation. Short on ambience but food is very well prepared, ample portions and very reasonable. You can't miss with anything you order.