Zorba’s Kitchen

Written By Scott Joseph On January 18, 2024

Zorba’s Kitchen exterior

Has any name come to represent all things Greek, at least in the U.S., more than Zorba? “Zorba the Greek,” a 1964 movie based on a 1946 novel of the same name, and “Zorba,” a 1968 Broadway musical version, made Zorba and Greek synonymous. And slightly trite.

But now comes Zorba’s Kitchen, bringing Greek cuisine to East Orlando by way of…France?

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Krazy Greek Kitchen

Written By Scott Joseph On January 11, 2022

Krazy Greek ext

I’m not at all sure what makes Krazy Greek Kitchen krazy. It all seemed rather normal to me. Or maybe spelling it with a K is similar to calling the sushi ingredent surimi krab. Maybe it’s just a imitation crazy.

Whatever. Krazy Greek Kitchen sits across from Central Park in what is the de facto downtown Lake Mary. It has a wraparound terrace for outdoor dining and on the night I visited there was live music in the park, which itself was still aglow with colorful holiday lights.

The menu features most of your classic Greek dishes, or maybe that should be klassic.

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Greek To Go

Written By Scott Joseph On January 12, 2021

Greektogo exterior

A restaurant with a name like Greek To Go should be uniquely suited to serving during these times of takeout and delivery. That’s what initially attracted me to the little Maitland eatery recently.

And I was drawn in by the menu of Mediterranean specialties like moussaka, falafel and of course Philly cheesesteak. Hmmm, OK.

I was also delighted that the restaurant had a user-friendly ordering portal in its website. (The link is only on the front page so if you go right to the menu link you’ll miss the online ordering link.)

And it also allows ine to order in advance, add a tip and pay for the whole shebang right there. (Shebang is a Greek word, right?) I’ll often order for a pickup time later, but since was driving from downtown Orlando, I accepted the quoted time of 20 minutes for an immediate fetch and pulled into the small parking lot just 30 minutes after the order went through. Twenty minutes after that I left with my food. Oh well.

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Takeout Review: Taverna Opa and Tapa Toro

Written By Scott Joseph On April 23, 2020

Tapa takeout pickup

Two of my favorite International Drive restaurants, Taverna Opa and Tapa Toro have reopened after being closed a month and are offering curbside pickup from the menus of both restaurants out of the Tapa Toro space.

That’s good news to anyone who can’t decide between Greek and Spanish – now you can have both.

I placed a phone order as soon as I heard the restaurants were back open. I requested an appetizer of Spanish Tortilla from the Tapa menu and entrees of Kleftiko and Pastitsio from Taverna’s menu.

Tapa Toro is located at Icon Park, under the Ferris wheel. A table and tent has been set up near the driveway in the center of the complex, within view of the restaurant but far enough away as to discourage anyone from going inside. So customers just need to pull up to the tent, call inside and let them know you’re there for your order. When it’s ready, someone will bring it out to you. And if you do as I did and authorize payment with gratuity on your credit card in advance, the server can just place the order in the trunk and you’re good to go, contact free.

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Mykonos

Written By Scott Joseph On May 17, 2019

Mykonos exterior

I finally made it up to the new Mykonos. Well, it was new 10 months ago when it started serving its popular Greek food again. Technically, it’s not new at all.

I first reviewed Mykonos back in 2000 when it first opened in the Springs Plaza in Longwood. Then it was called Mayerion Mykonos and it instantly served some of the best Greek food in town. Granted, there were only a few Greek restaurants in town back then. I remember that I liked the food, and I especially liked the lima beans. I think I even published the recipe.

But in 2016, the restaurant’s landlord informed the owner, Tina Karoutsos, that the lease would not be renewed. A medical clinic next door was expanding and needed the space. Instead of trying to find an existing restaurant that she could take over, Karoutsos signed for a new spot in the same plaza, directly behind where the original restaurant stood.

But the storefront had never been a restaurant, so it had to be retrofitted with all the equipment that goes into a new professional kitchen. You think your kitchen remodel took a long time? Mykonos was closed for over 18 months.

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Simply Gyros

Written By Scott Joseph On May 8, 2019

 Simply Gyros exterior

Restaurateur Sunny Corda, whose current brands include Rasa, Southern Spice, saffron and Mynt, is stepping out of his Indian milieu and dabbling in a bit of Greek with Simply Gyros.

Located next door to Rasa, on Restaurant Row, SG is a fast-food style outlet for everyone’s favorite Mediterranean sandwich.

As the name suggests, the menu is straightforward and focuses on gyros. However, if your concept of a gyro is lamb and beef sliced from a vertical tower of meat that continually spins on a rotisserie, you should know that here a falafel sandwich is also considered a gyro. So is chicken, though in both cases I would classify them as shawarmas or doners. But far be if from me to be difficult about a place called Simply Gyros.

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Olea Mezze Grill

Written By Scott Joseph On March 12, 2014

Olea sign

Greek is the latest cuisine to be given the assemblage trope.

Olea Mezze Grill is a new fast feeder in Maitland that uses the same conveyor line method as such places as Chipotle, Moe’s and, more recently, Italio. This is the “one from column A, one from column B” sort of process that Chinese restaurants have all but abandoned, but as it’s applied here and at the restaurants named above there are many more choices and decisions to be made, with your decisions carried out by a gaggle of food assemblers behind the sneeze plate glass.

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Taverna Yamas

Written By Scott Joseph On January 7, 2014

Yamas interior

Let’s try to figure out why this restaurant is empty. And I mean empty in a big way. In the main dining room of Taverna Yama, I count more than 30 empty tables (three are occupied). There are darkened rooms around the main room of this massive restaurant that seats up to 500 people. In theory.

I don’t think the reason is its International Drive location. That would only explain the dearth of locals. 

Maybe it has to do with the massive fish tank just inside the front door, the fish tank with water so cloudy that it’s nearly impossible to see that there are indeed living things inside it. Maybe people see that and make an assumption about the cleanliness of the place overall.

Or maybe the loud music that’s more appropriate for a dance club turns people looking for a more sedate meal away. (“Gangnam Style” played shortly after I was seated, to give you an idea of the type of music I mean.)

Or maybe they were greeted the way I was, by a surly young man who walked up to me slowly and asked “Can I help you?” as though meeting a bill collector.

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Taverna Opa

Written By Scott Joseph On July 19, 2012

Taverna saganakiTaverna Opa could do very well without even trying. The Greek restaurant occupies a large space on the second level of Pointe Orlando, ideally situated in the heart of the tourist corridor in proximity to the Convention Center. It could thrive on the continuous influx of vacationers and conventioneers looking for a diversion, something different, perhaps entertaining, while putting some food in their bellies.

Taverna Opa is certainly something different, even from the usual Greek restaurant. It is a constant party atmosphere, a celebration you’ve wandered into and are made a part of. The traditional Greek dance music plays at a conversation-stopping level, waiters and bartenders frequently throw handfuls of white beverage napkins into the air, creating a sort of large-scale confetti deluge. The staff may persuade you to join them in a line dance that snakes through the multi-room restaurant.

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Greek Flame Taverna

Written By Scott Joseph On November 11, 2010

Greek_Flame_logoI had stopped in to the Greek Flame Taverna’s grand opening several weeks ago, but it was so crowded and manic with people having a good time with the buffet service and Greek music that I wasn’t able to get a good feel for the place. (Although having a restaurant so full of fans does say something about the place.)

I returned later to enjoy a more relaxed, less boisterous lunch. And enjoy is the operative word. I had previously sampled some of the meze, or appetizers. I liked the flaky crust of the spanakopita, a turnover-like spinach pie with feta cheese. And the dolmades, stuffed grape leaves with rice and beef. Greek Flame also serves an array of Mediterranean dips, including hummus, tzatziki, taramosalata, melitzanosalata and skorthalia. The latter is a garlic dip, and let’s just say if you’re on a date you’d both better eat it.

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