Tarpon Springs Greek?
So I went to Tarpon Springs for the first time and saw "a million" Greek restaurants - too many to choose from. I need advice - which ones are worth going to; which ones should I avoid? Thanks.
There wil be more current opinions than mine since haven't been for a couple of years, but back when I did go Mikinos seems to be consistently good.
If you do a search on this forum you will turn up many suggestions. Best of good fortune...
Long time, no see. I've been working in Tallahassee and am now back in the Tampa area. Mykonos has the best charcoal grilled squid I've ever had and everything I have had there has been good to excellent.
I also love Costas, although the last time I mentioned it on these boards, I raved about the smelt. They were small, crispy, and excellent. This time, they were larger, not as crispy, and not nearly as good. Everything else I've had there has also been good to excellent.
The third of my triumvirate is Hellas--obviously terrific pastries, having their own bakery, but I love the food, too, and have not had the bad experience of Florida Hound. But at least on weekends, they're excessively busy and the waiters seem a bit frazzled. Trying to pump out too much food too fast may be the explanation for Florida Hound's bad experience.
Moved to Tarpon Springs from just outside NYC this past fall and was surprised at how good the food was down here. Echo Rusty Bellies for great seafood, especially grouper which is freshly caught in the Gulf by the family-owned restaurant's own boat. Gulf shrimp is also amazing. Going to lunch at Hellas tomorrow - tried the Hellas bakery next door and it's amazing. Only bad thing down here is, surprisingly, the bread. But then again, I'm a spoiled New Yorker in that regard.
If you want decent bread try the bakery on Athens Street. The only caveat being that they don't use any preservatives, so buy it that day, eat it that day,
451 Athens Street Tarpon Springs, FL 34689
I'm another Nyer that lives down here most of the year. Being Greek, all I could say is that in general, the native cuisine in TS leaves a lot to be desired with the biggest problem being inconsistent quality and a tendency to use lower end ingredients; Tzatziki is made with yougurt, not mayo and sour cream, the ubiquitos use of domestic feta, which has no semblance of tasting like feta, avgolemono that the main ingredients are chicken base and bottled lemon juice, greek salad with tomatoes that are one step above green, etc., etc..
Hellas is reliable because of the volume that they do which keeps the food fresh, especially fish and seafood.
Dimitris is ok, they're sides are good like boiled greens and fresh cut french fries (just remind them to make sure the fries come out hot).
698 Dodecanese Boulevard Tarpon Springs, FL 34689
As far as non-greek:
If you're into fried fish Rusty Bellys is the way to go, with next door Pelican Point Market being my go to place for fish.
As far as shrimp nobody has better shrimp than Northside Market (fresh dayboat headon).
1236 North Pinellas Avenue Tarpon Springs, FL 34689
Downtown,Tarpon Tavern is definitely a step up from your local pub fare with thirty craft beers on tap.
21 N. Safford Avenue
Tarpon Springs, FL 34689
re: trail 6
We had an excellent meal at Mykonos two days ago. Fabulous food, great prices. We ordered a calamari dish that came with soup and Greek salad - only $11.50 and it was more than we could finish. Also a chef's special (eggplant stuffed with ground beef, topped with bechemel sauce) -- tasty! Very busy, and consequently service was a bit slow, but the staff couldn't have been nicer. The place could do with a bit of cleaning, but with such great food and inexpensive prices, we're not complaining. We passed Hellas, but avoided due to comments here. Hellas is much larger and was also packed. Strangely, none of the other places seemed to have much business. This was our first visit to Tarpon Springs. My only disappointment was being so full from dinner, we had no room to try any of the gorgeous Greek pastries.
I started a thread in 2009, re: "Miserable Experience: Hellas, Tarpon Springs." I re-read the thread tonight and it brought back bad memories of a terrible restaurant that had somehow gotten some good comments at other times from a few ChowHounds. Avoid-avoid-avoid. But one person who replied did recommend Costas, which is also recommended by a poster on this thread. We have not tried Costas yet, though.
re: Florida Hound
For YEARS we've gone to Costa's almost exclusively, and we recently tried Mykono's again after having a bad meal there the first time ---- basically weird slimy octopus.... We gave them another shot after shunning them for 5 years and we've had 4-5 great, almost exceptional, meals there since... I obviously caught them at a bad moment the first time...
Still, when we drive to Tarpon we usually go to Costa's... But last time we went to Hella's--- for the 2nd time, and had a great meal with a great server--- like a Greek grandma... She brought us bread till all the juice was gone from our plates! Everything was delicious....
So we made a pledge to try the various little places out there... Plaka has taken good care of me on a few occasions! Massive Gyros! They take pride telling customers that they're the only place in the area that makes their own Gyro meat... It's good! A slightly coarser texture but not a negative in any way... Very warm reception by the owner and friendly service... They have 'Lamb Ribs' in the appetizer section that I loved!
Next time, Mama's... We love grilled octopus and believe it or not we've never been in there...
We always eat at Mama's and order the grilled octopus each time.
Better to do dessert somewhere else and I agree on Hellas. Behind Mama's, there is a street that curves upward and has a really nice dry goods market (along with lots of cheeses and olives). Hope that it's still open, it was last time I visited a couple of years ago.
I agree about Costas! Our Greek friends took us there the first few times we went. And Rusty Bellies is good for non Greek (although I had spotty service last time I was there. I will still return. Everybody deserves a second chance.)
Which Greek restaurant in Tarpon Springs serves the best version of avgolemono soup, spanakopita, fried calamari and grilled octopus these days?
Do any restaurants or bakeries serve loukamades? I didn't notice them on the online menus I read, and they don't seem to be available at Hellas Bakery. http://www.hellasbakery.com/company-i...
Thanks for any recs.
Most Greek restaurants in Toronto's Greektown are also mediocre and inconsistent. Similar to what you mentioned in your earlier reply, Toronto Greek restaurants also use sour cream in their tzatziki, instead of yogurt. Many of the restaurants use chicken soup base instead of housemade stock in their avgolemono soup, but one or 2 still use housemade stock. Some restaurants are more likely to serve better fried calamari or better spanakopita than the others, most of the time.
I'm not looking for amazing Greek food when I visit, just one decent Greek lunch while I'm in Tarpon Springs. Would you still consider Hellas to be fairly reliable, compared to the others, if you were going to order fried calamari and/or grilled octopus in TS?
I did a quick tally of the number of Chowhound recs for each Greek restaurant mentioned in this thread, and it appears Mykonos is in the lead, followed by Costa's, then Hellas and Mama's.