Arizona Daily Wildcat Online
Front Page
· Football
· Basketball
· Columnists
Live Culture
Police Beat
Online Crossword
Photo Spreads
Special Sections
The Wildcat
Letter to the Editor
Wildcat staff
Job Openings
Advertising Info
Student Media
Arizona Student Media info
UATV - student TV
KAMP - student radio
Daily Wildcat staff alumni

Food: A different taste of Greek life

RAJA THIRU/Arizona Daily Wildcat
Chef Savvas Andreou prepares a salad at Athens Greek Restaurant yesterday evening.
By Orli Ben-Dor
Arizona Daily Wildcat
Thursday, December 4, 2003
Print this

The UA student body may think it knows greek life, but if anyone in this town knows Greek life, it's Andreas Delfakis, executive chef and owner of Athens on Fourth Avenue.

The menu offers authentic dishes with recipes from different Greek regions and generations of Delfakis' family and friends. The main dining room offers a warm, elegant ambience. Simple white tablecloths drape each of the 10 or so candle-lit tables, effectively contrasting with the colorful photographs of Greece hanging on the walls and the eclectic vases and carafes accenting high shelves.

While Athens hopes to emulate both the fare and festive nature of the bustling cafŽs of its namesake, dinner Tuesday was quiet and pleasant nevertheless.

The knowledgeable server walked me through the wines, specials and general menu, speaking clearly and enthusiastically and never wiping the genuine smile off her face.


500 N. Fourth Ave.
(520) 624-6886

Upon her recommendation, I started with the roasted red peppers ($7.95) as an appetizer. The peppers came stuffed with feta cheese and herbs, and were served with grilled pita bread. The feta filling tasted rich, and its consistency was creamy. If you try this, be sure to take a piece of the stuffed pepper and place it on a piece of the pita while it's still hot for a delightful prelude to the rest of the meal.

I should note that most of the titles of the food require a closer look at the ingredient explanation, unless, that is, you know your moussaka from your dolmathes, or your mezethakia from your pastitsio! Athens calls the traditional dish I tried "grilled eggplant" ($10.95). A few long, hearty pieces of eggplant sat on a tomato herb sauce, topped with a melted kefalotiri cheese. The generous and delicious dish did, admittedly, remind me of something I might find in an Italian restaurant. Athens' own rice pilaf seasoned with a tomato sauce and cheese came on the side as well.

The night's special stole the show. Braised lamb shoulder ($14.95) has been simmering all day in the chef's special sauce. When it arrived alongside a healthy portion of pasta and the day's vegetable, my mouth rightfully watered. The tender meat fell off the bone like it never belonged there in the first place. Though the chef also serves the lamb with a tomato-based sauce and cheese, this flavor didn't say anything Italian, just "Kali Oreksee" (good appetite).

Against the better judgment of my waistline, I tried the baklava ($4.75) for dessert. The traditional Greek dessert, a rich, sweet pastry made with nuts and a honey-soaked phyllo dough, held its own against the many other baklavas I've tried. This is a time when saving room for dessert is a must.

If it's a bustling loud "Big Fat Greek Wedding"-style dining experience you're looking for, you may want to consider another venue or a visit to Athens on a weekend night when reservations arerecommended - or else try Dirtbag's on a Wednesday night. But if you're looking for friendly, timely service and a kitchen that adds that TLC missing from restaurant giants, stop by Athens at 500 N. Fourth Ave.

And, just for the record, it's pronounced YEE-RO, not JY-RO.

Write a Letter to the Editor
Old school fun
Are you game?
Game it up around Tucson
Events Calendar
Campus: Chorus sends seasons greetings
Hip hop hits union ballroom
Campus: Students Īcoalesce'
Food: A different taste of Greek life
Film: Journalism movie is good ÷ no lie
Film: Sylvia doesn't satisfy
Music Reviews
Restaurant and Bar guide
Search for:
advanced search Archives

Webmaster -
© Copyright 2003 - The Arizona Daily Wildcat - Arizona Student Media