When we visit Florida, we usually have two things in mind when it comes to dining —
Seafood and Cuban food
You can’t blame me. Being land-locked here in Illinois, truly, fresh seafood is a treat. And, although we have a very diverse selection of ethnic dining options in the greater Chicago area, I can honestly say I have not see a Cuban venue. You can’t drive more than a block or two without stumbling across an Italian joint and/or a Mexican restaurant (which I’m thankful for both), but a Cuban restaurant — not so much. I’m sure they’re out there, but they definitely aren’t common.
Despite my love for ropa vieja, this trip I was drawn to a little place in St. Petersburg —
Acropolis Greek Taverna
Nestled in the hipster downtown of St. Petersburg, I found this delightfully surprising Greek gem!
The converted two-story warehouse-esque space, with a small cluster of outside tables, didn’t immediately scream “Come enjoy baklava!” The space could easily be used for just one more trendy art gallery. However, after our food started to arrive, I didn’t care about the modern decor.
Their menu is expansive. I don’t think there was a Greek dish not available! Of course it was easy for us to decide what to start with…
It was our server’s first time flambeing – so that was pretty amusing. She did a great job though! Even if it did startle her a bit.
Let’s talk a moment about pitas. Now, pitas aren’t rocket science. However, like pizza crust or a bagel, they really can be screwed up by the inexperienced. A good pita is toothy. The glutens have been built up to make them chewy, but not tough. It’s a fine line and Acropolis Greek Taverna nailed it!! So good!!!
I wanted more! I considered simply ordering another order of saganaki and just eating cheese and bread for dinner. Indulgent, right?! I’m so glad I didn’t though, because my souvlaki platter was HEAVENLY!
Three generous skewers of juicy and well-seasoned pork that made me think, “All meat should come sticks, if it meant it would be this good!” A nice triangle of feta – creamy tzatziki – and Greek fries (fries seasoned with a little oregano and topped with feta – because everything is better with feta!)… I was a happy, happy girl!
Plus, look at the salad! That’s not just one of those here’s a handful of pre-bagged lettuce and carrot shreds you often get now a days. Tomatoes, cucumbers, red onions, red peppers, peppercinis, and, oh yes, olives!! This was one of the best side salads I’ve had in a very long time!
The food was just delicious! The service was impeccable. Our primary server, Grant, and the gal he was training – the one lighting the sagnaki (I’m sorry, I’ve forgotten your name!) – were sincerely friendly. They made us feel welcome and had that perfect balance of being sure we were well-taken care of, without annoying hovering.
And then it got better!
Traditional Greek dancing!!
I felt like I was back in Rhodes! It was the perfect ending to a perfect meal! I will definitely be back!
Efharistoomay, Acropolis Greek Taverna!!