If you’re craving authentic Greek cuisine while in the city of Philadelphia, you’re in luck! There’s an array of great Greek restaurant options scattered throughout several centrally-located neighborhoods. Ranging from super-casual to upscale establishments, the city’s Greek eateries serve up delectable homemade classics such as moussaka, souvlaki, and grilled meats—as well as new, creative and contemporary specialties.
A vibrant, modern Greek restaurant, Opa is owned and operated by brother and sister team George and Vasiliki Tsiouris. Located in the Midtown Village section of the city, Opa’s recently-launched new menu features a variety of specialties from the old country, as well as a contemporary twist on some classics. A few standouts include watermelon salad, grilled whole fish (dorade or bronzino); lamb chops; grilled octopus, and a selection of housemade desserts. “Philadelphia provides a great Greek restaurant scene—and all of us have something a little different to offer. Our heritage is so inviting, and our cuisine has deep roots," Vasiliki says. "At Opa, my brother and I are so proud to share our culture through our authentic food and beverage offerings.” (Tip: check out their lively and fun weekday happy hour).
A fine dining establishment with an elegant and sprawling dining room, Estia is situated in the center of the city and close to several of the theaters and entertainment venues, including the renowned Academy of Music, located across the street. Open throughout the day, Estia offers something for everyone: lunch, prix fixe lunch, dinner, and a pre-theater menu. Several favorite dishes include horiatiki salata (country salad), fresh Mediterranean sardines, swordfish souvlaki, roasted chicken, and many whole fish options. Desserts are also made in-house. Estia also has a full bar, with an extensive wine list with over 300 choices, including several Greek wines, of course. (Note that if you don’t have a reservation, the best time to walk in is after the shows have started.)
With two locations in the city, Dmitri's eateries are small, casual BYOBs that serve up generously-sized grilled specialties (lamb, seafood and more) as well as other favorites including fresh Greek salad, feta and olives, pita bread, spinach pie, steamed seafood combos, and fried calamari. Locals keep coming back for the delightful house specials, including the shrimp pil pil and plum pasta and grilled octopus. Considered a budget-friendly spot that’s known for its large portions, Dmitri's does not accept reservations at either location, so be prepared to wait in line during busy times. It's also cash-only.
South Street Souvlaki
This legendary Greek establishment has been a fan favorite in Philadelphia for over forty years. At South Street Souvlaki, owner Tom Vasiliades and his team whip up high-quality, tasty dishes for guests eating in the restaurant (or taking out). The robust menu showcases a wide array of mouth-watering traditional specialties, including dolmades (grape leaves stuffed with ground meat and rice); pastitsio (a Greek version of lasagna) and of course, souvlaki, a fresh pita filled with char-broiled meat, along with lettuce, tomato, and tzatziki sauce. This restaurant offers a wide selection of seafood specialties—as well as vegan and vegetarian options as well. Desserts here are classic, too. Be sure to save room for a taste of traditional galaktoboureko (fresh filo dough filled with farina custard) and Tom’s famous rice pudding.
For over 20 years, Zorba’s Tavern has been replicating genuine Greek specialties that attract a loyal following in the Fairmount section of the city—often with live traditional music. Owned and operated by the Kravvaritis family, Zorba’s is known for its authenticity and home-style Greek favorites. Although the dining room is large, during the warmer months, those in the know try to score an outdoor table. A few of their best sellers include classic Greek salad, spicy feta cheese spread, roasted eggplant dip, charcoaled pork salad, shrimp Santorini, lamb shank braised in artichokes, and the fisherman’s feast (a seafood combination). If you want to satisfy your sweet tooth, order the fresh baklava or another house-made dessert. Zorba’s is also a BYOB establishment.