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May 31, 2014 03:23 PM

Review - The 39th Annual Greek Festival - Richmond Va.

The 39th Annual Greek Festival is this weekend (May 29-June 1)

In addition to the Lebanese Food Festival, this is another well run, well organized event, with plenty of authentic cuisine, wines and dancing.

The crowds are large and the lines are long, but in most cases well worth waiting within for delicious, fresh made, Greek food and drink. And if your desire is to just pass through, seeking only food, there is a fast moving drive-through, where you're handed an order form (also available online to print out), you fill the form, hand it to an order taker, pay with credit card, cash or check, then receive your food. Very quick and efficient, without ever leaving your vehicle.

Tip: Due to the long waits in line, within the boundaries of the festival, I suggest you order through the drive-through, park, and return with your food to one of the many tables found beneath large shaded tents, thus avoiding the long waits, standing in line for the same cuisine.

What I ordered along with my opinion:

Entrees -

Chicken Souvlaki (skewered/grilled chicken breast) - Looked delicious, but sadly it was dry & flavorless; a squeeze of lemon and a bit of salt made it palatable.

Moussaka (layered eggplant, ground beef & bechamel) - Tender, well prepared and well layered, but a hint too much cinnamon and not enough salt.

Pastichio (layered pasta, ground beef & bechamel) - Flavor profiles were the same as the moussaka, with predominant cinnamon flavor, but still well prepared, tender and enjoyable.

Gyro - Lacked meat, had too much lettuce and the Tzatziki was a flavorless mixture of yogurt and herbs, with no cucumber detected and little garlic flavor.

Side Dishes -

Yahni (Grecian green beans stewed in tomatoes)
This is akin to Lebanese Loubia - The tender fresh green beans and acidic/sweet tomatoes balanced well together

Pilaf (herbed rice) - Perfectly cooked & seasoned

Tiropita (cheese pie) - Flaky Phyllo wrapped flavorless cheese filling

Spanakopita (spinach/cheese pie) - Phyllo was golden, flaky and wrapped around flavorless spinach and cheese filling.

Dolmades (seasoned rice wrapped with grape leaves) - moist & flavorful with just the right amount of acidity and seasoning

Pastries - All were well prepared, fresh, sweet, crunchy and delicious...high marks on the pastry!

Pastries aside, everything except the Chicken Souvlaki and Gyro was enjoyable, but not excellent, and everything lacked seasoning. The atmosphere, although tightly packed, was calm, festive, professionally presented & planned, and illuminated in the warmth of this beautiful Saturday in Richmond. Not a bad day.

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  1. I haven't been to the Greek festival in many years and it is no longer about the food, IMO. For the food, I'd rather go to one of RVA's Greek restaurants and have a meal that has not been in the freezer for months and get to sit and enjoy it rather than battling, parking, crowds, etc.

    5 Replies
    1. re: Janet from Richmond

      I agree Janet. To me the Lebanese Food Festival is everything the Greek food festival used to be. Here's hoping it stays that way.

      Please give any suggestions you might have for the best Greek restaurants in Richmond.

        1. re: Janet from Richmond

          I stay away from anything Giavos owned, so Greek 4U it is. Will post a review post visit.

          1. re: RichmondTaster

            Do you mind if I ask why this is? I mean, I know that the kid is a horse's ass, but those are some of my favorite Richmond restaurants.

            1. re: kim shook

              No I don't mind.

              A negative personal interaction with one of the owners has soured me from patronizing any of their establishments.

              I will not visit any establishment where the owner has Napoleon and God complexes and has not learned the golden rule of any business- be friendly to everyone entering your business unless they are unfriendly, disruptive, drunk or abusive. You never know who you might be dealing with in a dismissive arrogant manner when they've come to compliment you.

              It doesn't matter if it's shoes or sandwiches, I will not spend my money at such a business no matter how bad or good their product may be.

              As for recommending or not recommending any of their restaurants, I'll just remain silent and let people choose whether they like them or not, and many people do like them.

    2. We had almost everything that you had and I agree with you. The pastries were wonderful - the best things we tasted. I was seriously disappointed at the gyro. The tzatziki was tasteless and the meat was that frozen, sliced stuff that companies like Sysco sell already prepped for service. I think if you are purporting to be a GREEK food festival, you need to make your own gyro meat.

      1 Reply
      1. re: kim shook

        Thanks for your feedback and hopefully more flavor will be present at the next festival (: