We went over to Taverna Skara for dinner tonight. It was really empty for a Saturday night and you could almost feel the disappointment in the staff as they continually looked out the windows to see if any customers were heading toward the door. We’ve been here a couple of times before and every time, they bring something different to the table. Today it was bread and an olive spread.
The bread was thick and dense. Loren liked the olive spread. I’m not a fan of olives and even the smell was too strong for me. For so few customers in the restaurant, it seemed to take a really long time for our entrees to come out of the kitchen. Loren ordered the salmon salad.
He said the salmon was cooked well, but needed seasoning and his salad wasn’t dressed properly. It lacked flavor. I ordered the chicken lemonati.
With a name like “lemonati”, I expected an amazing burst of lemon flavor and to be honest, I almost didn’t order the dish, thinking the lemon may be overwhelming. Boy, was I wrong. There wasn’t even an inkling of lemon flavor in the chicken or mushroom sauce. The only thing that had any lemon flavor were the potatoes. I liked the mushrooms, but the chicken could have been a bit more tender. My salad was heavily dressed with vinegar. Loren ended up mixing some of it into his salad to try to get an even balance of dressing. Service was also a bit on the hit or miss side. Our waitress would disappear and someone else ended up clearing plates, getting our check and doing a lot of the customer service. We keep trying to give this place the benefit of the doubt, but they tend to underwhelm each time we visit. The loud thumping background music was also a bit on the annoying side and did not fit the atmosphere either. Overall, it was just a very mediocre meal for $31.
2454 McMullen Booth Rd
We went over to the Little Greek on Linebaugh for lunch today. It’s almost identical to the one over at Boot Ranch. We both got Greek salads and Loren also got some dolmades.
I always forget that the mini-Greek is plenty of food. Loren had ordered the mini with chicken and I got the regular with gyro meat. I think the main difference is that there’s two scoops of potato salad and some more lettuce in the regular one. The gyro meat was very fresh and tasty today. Total bill with a drink was $24.
12117 W Linebaugh Ave
We were over in Clearwater tonight and ended up at Greektown Grille for dinner. It’s been a while since we’ve been here, but luckily we got here early and it wasn’t too crowded. They started us off with very yummy bread.
This was one of those addictive breads. We had to move the basket away or we weren’t going to eat any of our dinner. Soft and thick and just yummy. We ordered the crab and spinach dip appetizer.
Though neither of us could actually identify any crab in the dip, it was still very good. There weren’t really enough pita chips to finish the dip, but I don’t think there was any way we were going to finish it anyway. Loren ordered the seafood platter.
It came with calamari, flounder and shrimp along with some rice and horta. We had no idea what horta was and it turns out it was boiled greens similar to spinach. The rice was a little on the spicy side and the fish was covered in a lobster cream sauce. I ordered the seafood pasta which had the same lobster cream sauce on it.
My dinner also came with a small Greek salad. The seafood pasta had both shrimp and scallops, but there really weren’t a lot of scallops in it. Some little pieces and maybe one full sized scallop. There was something about the lobster cream sauce that I didn’t really like. I can’t put my finger on what the flavor was, but it just wasn’t vibrant enough. I know that’s a vague description, but there are sauces that sing to me and this one was just flat. Total bill with a drink was $50.
1230 Cleveland St
We went for a quick lunch at Athen’s in downtown Safety Harbor today. Luckily, we got there before the crowd because it was standing room only by the time we left. Loren got a Greek Salad with chicken and I got a gyro.
He said the chicken was flavorful and tender. My gyro was good, but I think I would have liked a little lettuce on it. It needed a little crunch since I get it without the onions. Total bill with a drink was $17.
226 Main St
Safety Harbor, FL
We were late heading out the door for dinner tonight, so wanted to find some place that wasn’t loud and didn’t have a wait. We ended up at Taverna Skara in Safety Harbor. We skipped the appetizers tonight and went straight for the entrees. Loren got the Yemista, which was a stuffed pepper and stuffed tomato.
He really enjoyed this dish. They were both very flavorful, filled with rice, ground beef and herbs. The pepper wasn’t spicy at all, in fact, he said it was almost sweet. He cleared his entire plate. I went for the gyro platter.
The platter came with fries, side salad, pita and tzatziki sauce. The gyro meat was good. It wasn’t greasy at all. I would have preferred the pita pieces to have been sliced larger. I like to roll up the gyro in the pita and it was just difficult with the smaller sliced pieces. I was most disappointed in the salad. It wasn’t dressed at all. There was oil & vinegar on the table, but I guess I just assume that if I’m in a Greek restaurant, that there’s going to be Greek dressing on the salad. Last time we were here, they started us off with pita and olives, but that didn’t happen this time. Total bill with a drink was $31.
2454 McMullen Booth Rd
When we were at Sabai Thai last night we noticed that a new Greek restaurant just opened up next door called Taverna Skara. It’s a light and airy looking restaurant and they weren’t busy at all when we got there. They brought pita and olives to the table while we looked at the menus.
Loren said the olives were really good and I enjoyed the pita, though I would have liked something to dip it in. We decided to try the fried calamari for an appetizer.
This was a mixed bag of tender and chewy pieces of calamari. It seemed as though the pieces that kept their coating were fairly tender, but other pieces ended up being overcooked. The dish definitely needed salt and I didn’t like the way it was served in the cone. It made it very hard to get pieces out and dripped oil and crumbs all over the table.
For his entrée, Loren got the pork souvlaki platter.
It had pork, rice, pita, Greek salad and tzatziki sauce. He enjoyed it and ended up with way more pita and rice than he could eat. The tzatziki sauce had an interesting flavor to it. I can’t quite put my finger on what was different about it, but there was something. I tried the pastitsio.
This was a very good version of the dish. The flavors were all there, the pasta was tender and the béchamel sauce was creamy and had good flavor. My only criticism was that they melted some cheese on top that formed a hard crust. I just didn’t care for that. I also would have liked if it had been served with a small Greek salad. Most of the other entrees on the menu were served with a side or salad, so it seemed odd that the items on the Traditional Greek Entree list were not.
Service was very attentive, almost too attentive, but I’m guessing it’s because they’re new and there weren’t too many customers in the restaurant. Overall, the food was good and we’ll probably be back again to try some other dishes. Total bill with a drink was $43.
2454 McMullen Booth Rd
We ate dinner at the Hungry Greek over on Race Track Road tonight. I swear, all these little Greek places have the exact same look and the food tastes pretty much the same. Loren got the dolmades and I went for a gyro.
He said the dolmades were ok. I liked the gyro, but I found it rather difficult to eat. They really packed on the meat (which is ok) but the one slice of tomato on top didn’t exactly make it easy to bite into without getting the whole thing in one bite. Total bill with a drink was $21.
The Hungry Greek
12950 Race Track Road
We went over to Little Greek to get some salads for lunch. Loren got a mini Greek with chicken and I got a regular sized Greek with gyro.
I really should have gotten a mini salad as well. Luckily Loren helped eat some of it. The gyro meat was really flavorful and tasty today. We both like the salads here. I just have to make one comment about the floors here though. They are so slippery. I don’t know what they use to clean them, but whatever it is, it’s leaving a slick residue. You can pretty much slide your way to your seat. Total bill with a drink was $21.
320 East Lake Road
Palm Harbor, FL
We decided to give Bella Kouzina another try, but unfortunately, this visit wasn’t any better than the last. It started with the fried calamari.
We order calamari almost every place that has it on the menu, so I think I’m a pretty good judge of how it should taste. This was just beyond chewy and had no flavor whatsoever. When the waitress stopped by and asked how it was, I told her it was chewy. She looked at me and said, “But, it’s calamari.” I’m guessing she’s just never had calamari cooked the right way before. She took it back to the kitchen and we heard someone say “drop another order of calamari”. Since nothing else was said as to cooking it differently, we ended up sending the second batch back as well & they took it off our check. The waitress said they must have just gotten a bad shipment. Personally, we both thought they just didn’t have the oil at the right temperature, so it was getting overcooked. But, on to the soups.
Loren got the clam chowder and I got the pasta fagioli. His had a decent flavor, but it wasn’t thick and creamy. My first bite tasted like baked beans and each subsequent bite had sort of a metallic taste when it hit my tongue. Loren said he could taste what I was tasting as well. The bread, however, was the highlight of the meal for me.
Loren ordered the salmon Cleopatra which had artichokes, celery and mushrooms in a white wine lemon sauce.
He said it was ok. At first, he didn’t like the sauce on it. I tasted it and thought it just tasted like olive oil with a little bit of lemon in it. His dish also came with pasta. He said it was overcooked and the sauce wasn’t great. I decided to try the pastitsio.
Again, this is a dish I order at most Greek restaurants, so I expect certain flavors. This one didn’t deliver. Instead of being cooked as one large dish and portioned out, it looks like an individual serving was made. The pasta wasn’t drained properly, so there was water in the bottom of the bowl. The meat filling had no flavor and the pasta sauce was tart. It hadn’t cooked anywhere near long enough to develop any decent flavors. This was a pretty disappointing meal for $29.
3101 SR 580
Safety Harbor, FL
We’ve lived in Florida long enough that hunger wins out over rain any day. We had just gotten out of a movie and even though it was pouring out, we braved the weather and ended up at the Marathon Grille for lunch. Loren tried the chicken keftedes (at least I think that’s what it was) which came with a Greek salad and potatoes.
They were little chicken patties of tastiness. Lots of Mediterranean type spices in a flavorful little package. He really liked them along with the salad. I got a gyro with Greek salad.
It was very good. There were cucumbers & tomatoes on it (I had them hold the onions) and the tzatziki sauce was tasty. Most of the places that I get gyros from have lettuce on them, but I kinda liked the cucumbers. My only complaint was having the Greek salad served on the same plate. The dressing just went everywhere and I had to save my gyro was getting soggy. Since the rain decided to whip up to a frenzy about the time we were finished, we decided to try some dessert.
It was a tasty chocolate cake which we ate slowly to savour every bite and avoid getting drenched by Tropical Storm Debby. Total bill with a drink was $26.
33675 US Highway 19N
Palm Harbor, FL
We were actually heading to Nauti-Nancy’s for lunch, but they still weren’t open at 12:30pm, so we headed into Clearwater and ended up at Angie’s Restaurant. It’s a little diner and had a pretty good lunch crowd today.
I was going to get their lasagne special, but they were already out of it. Must not have been a very big batch to be out of it by 12:30pm. Instead I went for a gyro platter.
My first thought was that there was very little gyro meat on the plate, but with the Greek salad, fries & pita, there was more than enough food on the plate. The gyro was tasty and I enjoyed the dressing on the salad as well as the tzatziki sauce. Loren went for a chicken pita with a regular salad.
He also had plenty of food on his plate and it was amusing watching him try to pick this up to eat it. He said the chicken was tender. Total bill with a drink was $18.
725 Cleveland St
We were looking for a quick dinner tonight, so we went down to Greek City Cafe over by the mall. Ok, so maybe it was because I had a chocolate craving and wanted one of the Chocolate Bomb desserts they sell, but we’ll get to that later.
I went for a gyro with Greek potatoes and a Greek salad.
The gyro was good. The meat was flavorful and the tzatziki was tasty without being overwhelming. The overwhelming part were the potatoes. I found them to be rather inedible. They were so sour as though they had been drenched in vinegar. Loren actually liked them and said they tasted more German than Greek. They just made my mouth pucker.
Loren decided to try one of their specials, the portobello flatbread with a Greek salad.
The flatbread had a nice crunch and really good flavors. It’s something I’d order again. You’ll notice a slight difference between our two Greek salads. I remembered how much stuff they put on them and they dice up everything, so I had them build mine without the onions and peppers.
And then there’s the thing that keeps me coming back to this restaurant.
This is just one delicious dessert. It’s got layers of mousse inside and it’s so creamy and decadent. They brought over two forks and I tried to hide Loren’s, but he still managed to grab a few bites. Yum! Total bill was $24 with a drink. Speaking of that drink, it’s not something that I mention often, but most places do such a horrible job with their soda fountain mixture that it’s such a wonderful treat to actually go to a place that does it right. I’ve never had a bad soft drink here. Whoever sets up their machine actually knows what they’re doing.
Greek City Cafe
2518 SR 580, Ste C
Our plan tonight was to eat at Marley’s Monster Grill, only to discover they’re closed on Sundays. Luckily, we had driven by Marathon Grille the other night & noticed they were open, so that’s where we ended up. For some reason, I always thought they were a breakfast & lunch only place.
They started us off with some bread.
The bread was buried under a bunch of crackers & butter, but once we got down to it, we were happy campers. I prefer my bread to be warmed, but even though this wasn’t, it was really tasty. I actually think Loren ate more of it than I did. A little plate of oil to dip it in would have been a nice touch rather than the butter.
We started off with some stuffed mushrooms.
The crab stuffing was very flavorful and we could have easily eaten a few more of these. They were yummy. My entree came with a Greek salad that I ate half of before I remembered to take a photo. You’d think by now, I wouldn’t forget.
I liked their Greek dressing. Loren went for a Marathon salad for his entree which came with a side of pita bread.
He said the chicken was very tender and the salad had a nice variety of veggies and greens. He enjoyed it. I ended up taking the pita bread home with my leftovers because I definitely had leftovers.
Pastitsio, that wonderful Greek lasagne that so many restaurants don’t get quite right. This was a very tasty version of it though. It wasn’t dry, the seasoning was just right, and the bechamel layer wasn’t too thick. I’d order it again here. Total bill with a drink was $28. Compared to the $28 we spent for lunch today, this was the much better deal.
33675 US Highway 19N
Palm Harbor, FL
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
We were headed to a matinee show at Ruth Eckerd Hall and figured we could get a quick to bite to eat at Athens Restaurant in Safety Harbor before the show. Loren went for a Greek salad and I opted for breakfast.
He said his salad was ok (especially after adding my bacon) and I liked the French toast. I asked for cheese in my eggs and would have liked for it to have been mixed in instead of just on top, but otherwise they were ok. For $15, it was a quick, decent meal.
226 Main St
Safety Harbor, FL
Stopped at Famous Green Salads on McMullen Booth for a gyro today.
The pita was very soft, but overall the gyro was tasty. I liked their tzatziki sauce. I could have done with a lot less oregano sprinkled over the potato salad, but otherwise it was good. The staff there was very friendly. Total bill was $7.44.
Famous Greek Salads
2508 A McMullen Booth
Loren wanted a salad for dinner, so we stopped at Kostas Family Restaurant in Dillsboro. They were pretty busy for a Monday evening. Guess there are a lot of other tourists like us in town to see the fall colors.
Loren ordered a small Greek salad and one came with my meal.
It’s funny, I’m so used to Greek food around the Tarpon Springs, Florida area that it was odd not to see potato salad in the Greek salad. The dressing was tasty though. The yeast rolls were soft and yummy.
We ordered the spinach artichoke dip for an appetizer and Loren also got some hummus.
The spinach artichoke dip was really good. The pita bread served with it was warm and soft. This is one of those dishes you can’t stop eating. Loren liked the hummus as well. As usual, I had to try the pastitsio.
This one had all the right flavors. The bechemel sauce was very creamy and yummy. The only issue I had with it was that the edges & bottom were a bit overcooked. Crunchy is not a texture I want in a pasta dish. I don’t like green beans, but Loren tasted them and said they were good. I think he said something to the effect of, “Mmmm… cooked in bacon”. We also got some desserts to take back to the B&B for later.
I got the French Silk Pie, which tasted exactly like the ones you get at Village Inn and Loren got the baklava. He said it was tasty. Total bill with a drink was $35.
Kosta Family Restaurant
489 Haywood Rd
Always wanting to try new restaurants, we headed over to Dunedin tonight to eat at Bistro Atlantis. It’s in the space where Walt’s Seasonal Cuisine used to be. The menu is mostly Greek with a flair all their own. Our waiter dropped off some bread and convinced us to try the Shrimp Atlantis appetizer.
The bread was good, slightly warmed and the oil had a hint of herbs and garlic. The appetizer was a great recommendation, their signature dish as it were. The shrimp was placed on toast points with a creamy, garlicy white wine sauce. We would have been happy just to have a bowl of the sauce to dip bread in. It was yummy. I could do without the shrimp tails as it made it difficult to eat, but overall, a win in the appetizer category.
My first visit to any Greek restaurant, it’s a gimme that I’m ordering the pastitsio.
It came with sauteed veggies, rice, and a potato wedge. It didn’t wow me, so I’d probably order something different next time, but it was ok. It was a fairly big piece and I ended up with leftovers.
Loren tried the chicken Atlantis.
The very tender chicken was in a creamy, garlicy sauce, similar to the appetizer, but with artichokes, capers, sun dried tomatoes, basil and served over angel hair pasta. He really liked it and ended up with some leftovers too.
Service was really good at the beginning, but sort of waned by the end of the meal. The space could really use something to dampen the noise level. It’s not a big room, has tile floors, and when there’s a couple of big groups, it gets difficult to have a conversation. Overall, though, this is one of those restaurants that, as Loren would say, “gets it”. The food was fresh, had delicious flavors, was well seasoned, and they served some unique dishes you don’t see everywhere else. Definitely a restaurant we’ll go back to. Total bill with a drink was $49.
1140 Main St
We ate dinner at Jimmy Ike’s Restaurant & Pizzeria tonight. It’s on SR 580 just past Countryside Mall. We both had things we liked and disliked about this experience and feel that a few tweaks would really make a difference.
Loren’s first complaint was that his iced tea was a little on the bitter side. Not undrinkable, but just not quite where it should have been. We ordered calamari for an appetizer.
The restaurant wasn’t all that busy, so we were surprised at how long it took for it to come out of the kitchen. The calamari was very tender; however, the breading had very little flavor and wasn’t crispy at all. It definitely needed both salt and lemon added to it. Although the dipping tomato sauce that came with it was flavorful, it was very thin so it didn’t adhere to the food and you dripped it on the table all the way to your mouth.
Our entrees came with soup or salad and we got one of each. Loren got the mini Greek salad.
He had to take about half the cheese off the salad. It was buried in feta. The Greek dressing was pretty good. I ordered the mushroom bisque soup which came with a roll.
The soup was the best thing I ate all night. I even joked that I should just stop there because I’ve been disappointed by entrees before. It was very creamy and had a wonderful delicate flavor to it. I really enjoyed it. The roll was a little dense, but it was warm and tasty.
Loren ordered the chicken souvlaki which came with fries and pita bread.
This was a huge plate of food and he ended up with leftovers. The chicken was very tender and he said it was peppery. A little heavy on the feta again too. Though he liked the fries, he said they were cut a bit too long and they weren’t crispy, so you almost had to eat them with a knife and fork. They were too floppy to just pick up with your fingers. He thought the dish would have been better if it had came with some tzatziki sauce as well.
I ordered the pastitsio.
I knew before I even tasted it that it was going to be dry. The splatters of grease on the plate didn’t give me confidence at all that this would be a dish I liked. It did have some good flavors to it, but the overall dish was just too dense and dry to eat. I told the waitress it was dry and asked for a side of tomato sauce. She was very apologetic and brought me the sauce and took the entree off our check. Unfortunately, the sauce didn’t really fix the dish. I don’t know how to describe it, but when I combined the sauce with the dish, I got a spiciness in my mouth that I just didn’t like.
Our waitress was very nice, but at one point she took away my drink to refill it and forgot to bring it back. She also comped us a dessert and we got the Baklava cheesecake to go.
It was really good. Very creamy with pieces of baklava in it. Loren thought it could have used a little drizzle of honey over the top. Total bill after my entree was removed was $24.
I’m not sure why, but even after all the things that weren’t right about this meal, I think we’d go back again. I wouldn’t order the pastitsio, but I’d give this place another try. I don’t know if it’s because they tried to make things right or that with just a few tweaks, the food had real promise.
Jimmy Ikes Restaurant & Pizzeria
2340 State Road 580 (Main Street) Unit H
We ate dinner at the Olympia Greek Restaurant over by Fresh Market on US 19 in Clearwater tonight. There are so many of these little Greek places in the area and they all seem very generic. It’s pretty much Greek fast food.
I’m a sucker for pastitsio, so I had to try that. It came with a Greek salad.
The salad had a little bit of everything in it and the dressing was tangy and tasty. The pastitsio was ok, but both it and the sauce lacked in flavor.
The sauce really tasted like it had just come out of a can. It was tart and definitely needed to simmer a lot longer to give it any depth of flavor. The pastitsio had a decent texture, but just didn’t have enough spices in it. Unfortunately, the rice was a bit overcooked as well.
Loren ordered the gyro platter.
There’s a mound of rice under the gyro meat, but out of everything we had here, the gyro was the best. It had a nice flavor and texture and tasted very fresh. Both meals came with pita bread & tzatziki sauce and I also ordered a side of potato salad, forgetting that there’d be some on the salad.
I like the pita and tzatziki. It was creamy and had a good flavor without being overpowering with garlic. The side of potato salad was way more than we could eat. I was expecting one scoop, not four, so this is definitely a side to share. I also ordered a cannoli to go.
It was disappointing. The shell was too thick and not crunchy at all and the the filling was also too thick. It had the consistency of cookie dough. After the $5 coupon from their website, the total bill with a drink was $23. If I was in the area and wanted a quick gyro, I’d try it again, but otherwise, there wasn’t much that would draw me back in.
Olympia Greek Restaurant
25821 US 19 Hwy N