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Oct 20, 2011 11:52 PM

Vasili’s Greek Restaurant in Santa Cruz

Decidedly mediocre, if tonight’s dinner is the norm. Skordalia looked like plain mashed potatoes with little richness of olive oil, tasted flat and had a bitter aftertaste from underripe garlic. We paid the upcharge for the homemade pita and it was hard, tough, and did not seem fresh or much different than the flatbread sold at Trader Joe’s. Dolmathes were underseasoned and just tasted blank. Spanakopita was soggy and not crispy; the spinach filling had turned gray. Mom had the side order portion of lamb sirloin souvlaki, good thing as the one skewer overcooked to death, chewy, and dried out.

The one highlight and the only reason I’d step inside again would be to taste the Greek meatballs, keftethakia. Four to an appetizer order, $5.50, they’re crusty on the outside, tender-centered, well-spiced, and bathed in oregano-scented dressing.

Beats me why Vasili's was so busy tonight. Our tab came to more than $30 for two of us, and that was ordering very lightly. Do ‘hounds still like this place?

Vasili's Greek Restaurant
1501A Mission St, Santa Cruz, CA 95060

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  1. I remember when Vasili would cook your order and then would take a good look at you to see if you enjoyed his food, the pride and joy of him. He would close the place down on occasion for his parties, food, ouzo, Opah !

    After some years he sold it to one of his employees . I would have lunch there on occasion and I thought it was solid . Years later Vasili opened another restaurant downtown. I wanted to try the grilled octopus, but they were out. I don't remember what I ordered it's been a couple of years. But what I did have was not mexi/america food . I am so sick of it. I will go back to Vasili's .Thanks for reminding me..

    1 Reply
    1. re: emglow101

      That would be The Greek Authentic Cuisine Restaurant?

      Not sure I understand your reference to "mexi/america" food.

      Greek Authentic Cuisine
      435 Front St, Santa Cruz, CA 95060

    2. I've been to Greece a couple of times; I really enjoy Greek food; it's very convenient to where I live - and I haven't been there in years. I believe that Vasili now cooks at Greek Authentic Cuisine on Front St. I think it's somewhat better than the original Vasili's at the moment but still not quite good enough to make me want to go back.

      Slightly off-topic, but I will admit to maybe having high standards. The often well-regarded Dio Deka in Los Gatos didn't really get me all that excited either (a much higher price point with proportionally higher expectations). I thought the food was well-executed but the flavors were dumbed down - but that's based only on one visit.

      Dio Deka
      210 E. Main Street, Los Gatos, CA 95030

      Greek Authentic Cuisine
      435 Front St, Santa Cruz, CA 95060

      1. IMO I'd wait for September to roll around and partake at the annual Greek festival. Vasili's does sell souvlaki there but I just pass their booth right on by making a beeline for the church run booths. Make sure to save room for the loukoumades.

        I've dined at Dio Dekka twice and have enjoyed the grilled octopus appetizer, whole roasted branzino, and the pan-seared John Dory. The mill-fay was excellent as well. Thea's in SJ's Santana Row has a reverse Happy Hour from 10PM to midnight. The cocktails are well-made, the wine list extensive, and the appetizer sampler makes for delicious noshing.