The Restaurants at My End of the Universe

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Yummy Greek

We drove into Tarpon Springs tonight and ended up at Chloe’s Family Restaurant for dinner.  There were quite a few people in the restaurant and we quickly found out why… the food was really good.

I started off with a Greek salad which came with my entree.

It had a nice, tangy dressing on it.  Then they brought out fresh bread.

This just oozed awesomeness.  Fresh and hot out of the oven covered in a buttery garlic sauce.  It was so soft and delicious.  I’d go back just for the bread.  Loren got the Greek Keftedakia which came with a salad and fries.

The salad didn’t have any lettuce and when we asked about it, our waitress said it was called a village salad.  Who knew?  But, she was nice enough to bring out a side dish of lettuce for us non-Greeks.  The meatballs were flavorful and there was enough for leftovers.  I ordered the Greek combo plate since I like to try out lots of things when we go to a new restaurant.

It came with pastitsio, moussaka, gyro, chicken and spinach pie.  I really liked the pastitsio.  Normally, that’s what I would have ordered and I’d have been happy with a big ol’ plate of it.  It was moist with just the right Greek flavors.  The moussaka was also really flavorful & tasty.  The spinach pie was also pretty good.  Flaky with a nice filling.   I tried both the gyro & chicken and ended up taking most of it home for leftovers.   The gyro was good, but the chicken was dry.

And then as a nice surprise at the end of the meal, the waitress brought out complimentary bowls of ice cream.

A perfect finish to an awesome dinner.  Everything was fresh and homemade.  Service was really good and everyone was very friendly.  Definitely putting on our list to try again.  We’ve been having some really good luck with restaurants in Tarpon Springs lately.   Total bill with a drink was $32.

Chloe’s Family Restaurant
1722 S. Pinellas Ave
Tarpon Springs, FL

Chloe's Family Restaurant on Urbanspoon


We ate lunch at Nana’s Restaurant in Tarpon Springs today and it was one of the best lunches we’ve had in a while.  They serve breakfast & lunch throughout the week & dinner on Friday nights.  We decided to split a burger, plus some soup & salad.

First up, the Louisiana Butter Shrimp soup.

There are people who know how to make soup and the folks here at Nana’s definitely do.  This was really flavorful and creamy with lots of shrimp and homemade goodness.  Next up was the salad & burger.

It’s a good thing we decided to share the burger.  It was way more than I was going to be able to eat.  We got the mushroom burger, but I opted for American cheese instead of Swiss.  It was cooked a perfect medium and was juicy and flavorful.  The home fries were delicious.  Again, perfectly cooked and seasoned.  I really enjoyed the dipping sauce that came with them too.  It was sort of a honey mustard BBQ sauce.  Very, very tasty.  And here’s the best part, the whole thing with a drink was only $17.   This is definitely a restaurant we’ll be back to often.

Nana’s Restaurant
857 E Klosterman Rd
Tarpon Springs, FL

Nana's on Urbanspoon


We headed into Tarpon Springs tonight for my birthday dinner.  I wanted to go back to the Zante Cafe.  We’ve just never been disappointed by the food here.

The fresh rolls are so buttery and garlicy and just melt in your mouth.

Next up is the gumbo which also has amazing flavors.

At this point, our taste buds are very happy, but my water glass is lacking ice and the restaurant is a bit warm.  I don’t know if it was just our seat by the window or what, but it was uncomfortably warm in there tonight.  The owner’s children wait the tables and tonight they just weren’t on the ball.  I had to ask for ice several times before it showed up and my water glass got empty a few times as well.  They would say they were going to bring things out, but then quickly forgot.

Our crab cake appetizer came next.

You gotta love crab cakes that are mostly crab.  These are so flavorful and delicious and the sauce isn’t very spicy, which I like.  For our entrees, Loren ordered the crawfish etouffee and I got one of the specials.

He ordered the etouffee with a spice level of 2.5 out of 5 and he was sniffling a bit by the end.  Deep, rich flavors in this dish make it a winner.  The special I ordered was called mo-fun-go or something like that.  It was lamb shank pulled off the bone with pasta, eggplant, onions, mushrooms, carrots, tomato and a sprinkling of feta cheese.

It was very tasty.  It had a good “mouth-feel” to it.  There was way more on the plate than I could eat, plus I was just uncomfortably warm and my water glass was empty, but it’ll make good leftovers.  Total bill after the $25 coupon was $32.  As much as I love the food in this restaurant, I just wish they were able to get an actual waitstaff.

Zante Cafe Neo
13 N Safford Ave
Tarpon Springs, FL

Zante Cafe Neo on Urbanspoon



To Go Greek

I was driving through Tarpon Springs around lunchtime and stopped at Mama Maria’s Greek Cuisine for some take out.  I was craving my favorite Greek dish, pastitsio.

The dish is served with a choice of soup or salad, so I chose the avgolemono soup.  It was pretty good.  The lemon wasn’t overwhelmingly tart, which is a good thing.  I’ve had the soup at other places and it just makes your mouth pucker.   It also came with a side and I chose the Greek potatoes.  They were tender, but didn’t have a lot of flavor at all. 

Unfortunately, the pastitsio fell into the same category as the potatoes.  It tasted ok, but really didn’t have any strong flavors.  I expect a hint of nutmeg and didn’t taste any and the bechamel sauce was a little rubbery.  I guess I just wanted a burst of fresh flavors when I took that first bite.  That unique flavor combination that says, “this is Greek food”.    The staff seemed friendly and the restaurant was pretty full, so maybe I just didn’t choose the best item on the menu.  Total bill was $12.

Mama Maria’s Greek Cuisine
503 N Pinellas Ave
Tarpon Springs, FL
(727) 934-5678

Mama Maria's Greek Cusine on Urbanspoon


We headed out to Tarpon tonight to go back to the Zante Cafe.  We needed some awesome food and they didn’t disappoint.  The owner seemed a bit frazzled as the restaurant filled up, but they still managed to bring out one delicious course after the next.  Their kids tend to the dining room and the youngest was more interested in playing than helping out.  But, our drinks stayed filled and they were pretty good at clearing away plates.  It’s a very laid back place, so expect to spend about 2 hours here for dinner.  Everything is made fresh and well worth the wait.

First out were their homemade rolls.

Crispy on the outside, soft on the inside with a slight hint of garlic, served fresh out of the oven.  It’s a good thing they just serve these one at a time, otherwise, I’d fill up on bread without thinking twice about it.   Next up was the gumbo.

The flavors are delicate in this gumbo, but you can taste the freshness of all the ingredients.  Chicken and sausage in a light, flavorful broth.  Again, I could eat so much more of this and be incredibly happy. 

We ordered the Crawfish Vol Au Vent for an appetizer.

Crawfish, mushrooms, and onions in a creamy sauce served over heart shaped puffed pastry.  I’m guessing the heart shape was because it’s Valentine’s weekend, but regardless it was yummy.  There were lots of crawfish and mushrooms and the sauce was lightly spiced.    

Loren ordered the seafood fra diablo with a spice level of 2 out of 5.

Crawfish, shrimp, mussels, scallops and veggies in a creamy, spicy sauce over spaghetti.  It had a lot of flavor and it all blended well together.  Loren would have preferred rice to spaghetti and he’s not a fan of cauliflower, but he still enjoyed the dish. 

I ordered the Paneed Tilapia w/ Crawfish and Tasso in Brandy Cream.

The tilapia filet was thick and cooked perfectly.  It was flaky and tender with a crisp breading.  The crawfish and mushroom brandy cream sauce really complemented the fish well. 

At this point, we really were quite full, but I wanted to try the bananas foster.

The owner/chef comes out and flambes it right at the table.  It was delicious served over vanilla ice cream and whipped cream.  It had a nice carmelization and was a perfect ending to a wonderful meal. 

And even better, we had a $25 coupon, so the bill before tip ended up being $42.  Absolutely the best $42 we’ve spent on food so far this year. 

Zante Cafe Neo
13 N Safford Ave
Tarpon Springs, FL

Zante Cafe Neo on Urbanspoon