Have you ever become particularly attached to a cuisine, becoming more and more picky with every meal, working hard to perfect the best dishes and learn everything you can about the different profiles and then you visit the restaurants that feature that cuisine only to be disappointed in what they have to offer and so, except for the occasional time that you try to find another good restaurant, you stick to your tried and true?
That’s me. And that’s especially me with italian and greek cuisines. I’m pretty particular about those Mediterranean flavors and while I’ll go to Carrabba’s any day of the week, I know a true italian restaurant when I see it. I also tend to frequent the same greek restaurants and now it’s time to add Little Greek to my list.
Little Greek is a very unassuming greek restaurant that, upon first glance, you may or may not expect to get really quality food from. I mean, Little Greek doesn’t have waiters or special lighting or fancy table settings. Upon your arrival, you approach the very friendly employees behind the counter, order your food, grab plastic utensils, fill your drink at the fountain and sit down, waiting for your food to be delivered to your table. Little Greek just…is, they don’t make any crazy airs about the food that they produce. Honestly, they don’t need to, the food speaks for itself and it speaks volumes.
On the visit (and I say that because there will be many more to come) the first item I had to try was their Avgolemono, a homemade chicken-lemon rice soup. I’m very much into having lemon in a soup (my lemon chicken noodle soup is my go-to meal and one of my favorites). Combine the creaminess of the soup with the tangy and bright lemon flavor and my heart soured to Athens. I was that person, sitting in the booth, scraping the styrofoam bowl and catching every last droplet.
To me, the word greek is synonymous with the word hummus. Ever since I discovered that hummus was actually tasty despite its appearance, I started ordering hummus wherever it appeared on the menu. Little Greek was no exception and I loved their hummus, but they change it up a little bit by offering either grilled pita bread, or the more unique, fried pita bread.
Anything fried is a win in my book so given this choice, I obviously went with the fried option. The hummus was flavorful and homemade and the portion was great, but those fried pita chips took the cake. They were crunchy with a light seasoning and I just really appreciated having a little something to make a typical hummus side dish into something special.
While I would have liked to try everything on the menu, I felt like it was only appropriate to have the Chicken Pita and Greek Salad, two staples on any greek menu. If you look closely, you’ll notice the sauce, glistening among the lettuce. With one tip of the pita, the sauce would have dripped all over my plate. And that folks, is what makes my mouth water. If I have a sandwich, wrap, pita, what have you, with a thinner sauce, I relish the juiciness of it and the taste of the bread soaking up all of the delicious flavors. This Chicken Pita has lettuce, tomatoes, onions and tzatziki, but the sauce was more than just the tzatziki. The tzatziki sauce blended with the juice from the tomatoes and the drippings from the grilled chicken to make the sauce that I was more than happy to dip my warm pita bread in after. I had a small pool of tasty, sitting right there on the paper wrapping, and I took full advantage.
The Greek Salad was clearly a greek salad in its components, but with a flavor all its own, separate from the local greek food I’ve tried before, it impressed. I opted for potato salad on the bottom, which just further absorbed and enhanced all the great greek dressing.
Little Greek won Creative Loafing’s Best of the Bay 2012, has 8 Florida locations (Carrollwood, Clearwater, New Port Richey, Palm Harbor, South Tampa, St. Petersburg, Fowler/USF, Westchase and Westshore Mall), and prides themselves on only serving quality food that is freshly-sourced and local.
Try Little Greek and see what makes this place so wonderful!