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Greek Restaurants


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Aside from the place on Connecticut, where else would you go for good Greek food? I know, there's Zaytinya, but I'm looking for something that's entirely Greek, not referential.

And, is there a specific occasion that warrants plate throwing, or is it just for fun?

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I know an older Greek gentleman who swears by Ikaros in Baltimore's Greektown, also Zorba's Bar and Grill. I've never been to either, so I can't say for sure (from what I've heard him say, his taste in food outside of the Greek realm is suspect, but he was the one who first recommended Mykonos in Rockville to me, and I like that place well enough).

And I've always wished Greek Taverna in McLean got a bit more attention. Although I haven't been there in a couple of years now, I've enjoyed it in the past many times. If they have the lamb-shoulder special with lemon sauce and fried potatoes, get it (they also occasionally offer a Yiouvetsi which is less vibrant).

Cheers,

Rocks.

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Closer to home, my grandfather swears by the Mykonos Grill in Rockville. I've only eaten there once. And although you don't get much bang for your buck, the atmosphere is sufficiently classic and the food more than decent.

Michael

Pretty accurate summary of Mykonos, I think. Quite good food, traditional Greek restaurant atmosphere. Not expensive, but not cheap either.

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You can get pretty decent Greek, down home food, at Ambrosia Grill on Rockville Pike and at Chef Theo's in White Oak shopping center. Neither are as good as going to Greektown in Baltimore, but they serve pretty good Greek food and are relatively inexpensive.

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You can get pretty decent Greek, down home food, at Ambrosia Grill on Rockville Pike and at Chef Theo's in White Oak shopping center. Neither are as good as going to Greektown in Baltimore, but they serve pretty good Greek food and are relatively inexpensive.

I will give Mykonos props here, though. Ambrosia Grill may be cheaper, but Mykonos is far, far better. There's a Chef Theo's in Rockville/Potomac as well, in the Rockshire Village Center near Wooton HS. At dinner time, I didn't find it all that much cheaper than Mykonos, and again, not nearly as good.

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I'll be a stick-in-the-mud and say that I've rarely encountered a Greek restaurant around DC that was actually good. Maybe it's because I'm spoiled - most of the Greek meals I've had have been at someone's house, often with ya ya deftly working away in the kitchen - but the restaurant versions seem to be plagued by overcooking and a casual indifference to texture, not to mention mysterious autodoner meat. Ambrosia was a common stop in high school only because they were open late...one of those places you "end up", rather than "go to". At Greek late-night-diners like Amphora and Broadway Diner, I usually have better luck with the regular diner fare than the Greek specialties, although it's hard to pass up a tray of pastitsio if it's fresh.

There have been occasional exceptions, of course. I'll always love the flaky and unconventional tyropita and spanakopita from College Park's Marathon Deli. For a little while in the late 80s, Athenian Plaka in Bethesda was pretty good. And I haven't met a piece of galaktoboureko that I didn't like. But I thought Mykonos was overrated and unremarkable. Greek festivals are about the only places where I can count on the food, at least in DC.

A family friend, Dr. Zapas, once told me his theory that good Greek restaurants were hard to come by here because once they get good, most Greek chefs switch to cooking red-sauce Italian as soon as they realize it's far more popular and profitable. So far, I'm inclined to agree...and apparently I need to get myself up to Baltimore.

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Case in point: the parents of Komi Chef Johnny Monis own a red sauce Italian spot.

A family friend, Dr. Zapas, once told me his theory that good Greek restaurants were hard to come by here because once they get good, most Greek chefs switch to cooking red-sauce Italian as soon as they realize it's far more popular and profitable. So far, I'm inclined to agree...and apparently I need to get myself up to Baltimore.
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There's a Chef Theo's in Rockville/Potomac as well, in the Rockshire Village Center near Wooton HS. At dinner time, I didn't find it all that much cheaper than Mykonos, and again, not nearly as good.

Any more recent reconnaisance on Chef Theo's? I think there is a good chance (sigh) that I'll be going there for lunch in the next couple of weeks...

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Ok, so it's not gourmet, but I really like Kosta's Greek Deli Express downtown. I'm surprised there isn't a thread on it here since he's been around so long. Has the quality gone down from what it once was?

The two times I went, I tried both of the soups and had some pretty good spanikopita and pastisio that I thought was better than Zorbas and Yanni's Taverna, anyway. And Kosta will set aside meals if you call before noon (he closes at 3). The portions are gi-normous. Since I'm feeling under the weather, I'm craving his lemon chicken soup and a piece of bread, but will have to wait. I wrote about it here.

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Greek Deli is where I head when I want to have a hearty meal for lunch (with enough left over for the next day!). The setup there is very much like what you see in many traditional "worker's lunch" places in Greece, with the day's available items set up behind a glass. You can go take a look at what looks good and order from there. That said, I think that Kostas is a bit heavy-handed with the oil which is not so bad on his veggie items (giant beans and green beans), but can be a bit greasy with meat-based items (the pastitsio, mousaka, and roast chicken or lamb). His food is soulful and homey, though, so I don't mind too much.

I have also had decent meals at Athena Palace on 22nd St. in Crystal City. Their dolmades are made in-house and the meat on the braised lamb shank in tomato sauce falls right off the bone. Just from looking around at what people were eating, it seemed as though sticking to the more traditional greek items was the best bet. The cooking at Acropolis in Baltimore (those whole fried calamari!) is superior, but when the hankering for greek strikes and the hour-long drive seems too much...

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And, is there a specific occasion that warrants plate throwing, or is it just for fun?

Quite honestly, no. In my 26 years on this earth and having celebrated all of the traditional Greek holidays and festivities both here and in Greece, I have never come across the plate throwing except in the movies.

As for Greek food in the area, your best bet is to find a Greek friend whose parents like to cook! Or the church festivals where the parishoners (specifically, oi yiayiades :P ) cook the food themselves. A good example of this is actually the St. Mark's Russian Orthodox Church in Bethesda where the parishoners cook the food every year for their festival. Such delicious, homemade pieroghies. Not Greek, but same concept...

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A data at Cava? Only if the person is pretty but vapid. You won't be able to hear a word they say.

It can be pretty loud inside, but the patio is enjoyable, even with traffic going by. I haven't walked past recently, so I don't know if the patio is open for the season yet or not. The weather's been pleasant enough for it, though.

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I searched the forums, but most greek restaurant references were related to location etc, not necessarily 'the best.' Hi-end is okay, but please include middle-road options, if they are worth it.  So where in DC did you eat your best greek food? Prefer downtown DC areas, but if there is to-die-for in the burbs to, feel free to include.  If there is a Greek forum in DC I missed, feel free to move to that thread. Thanks!

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