Greek cuisine is by far one of my favorites. I have always been drawn to Mediterranean flavors; olives, oregano, feta cheese, lemons... These are a few of my favorite things. I adore pita, and the combination of cucumbers and tomatoes. Greek yogurt is versatile and the base of one of my favorite sauces. I am constantly on the hunt for new Greek restaurants.
Last week I was in the mood for a Gyro, and I also wanted to try a new place. I have some great apps on my iPhone that help me find restaurants in the area, complete with pictures, recommended dishes, and directions. Using this technology I was able to find Athena Cafe, located in Altamonte Springs, FL. There were some very good reviews posted online, so off I went.
I was warmly greeted, and I thought the service was fast, and friendly. My waitress, Crystal, was on top of things, and gave me ample time to peruse the menu but what was ready to take my order as soon as I decided. I ended up choosing one of their dinner combos, which in my case was a traditional gyro with a Greek side salad.
My salad came out first. It had fresh romaine, white onion, tomatoes, bell peppers, pepperoncinis, olives, feta cheese, and the best thing ever about Greek salads, potato salad. It may sound odd to have potato salad with a green salad but there is something about the combination that is absolutely magical. The only ingredients missing that would have completed this for me would have been beets and chickpeas, which are in my favorite Greek salad ever at Mr. Souvlaki in Tarpon Springs, FL. The great thing about the salad here at Athena Cafe was that every table had a bottle of the dressing. To me this is great, because you can put as much or as little as you like.
My gyro came out next. I am picky when it comes to my gyros, traditionally they come on a fresh warm pita with meat, sauce, onions, and tomatoes, and some places also add lettuce. I prefer my gyro with only the meat and sauce, sometimes with onion as well. On this visit I did opt for onions to be added to my meat and sauce. By the way, the meat on gyros is traditionally a lamb and beef mixture, cooked on a spit and then the meat is shaved off. Yum! My gyro was good, but not great. I would leave off the onion next time, because it was in big chunks which is not my favorite thing. Also, the meat seemed to be one of those prepackaged gyro meats as opposed to the fresh, just shaved off the spit meat I adore at Mr, Souvlaki. But the pita on the sandwich was delicious, and I did enjoy the tzatziki (the traditional cucumber yogurt sauce).
Overall, my experience at Athena Cafe was a decent one. The food was good (although next time I'm hoping for something a little better, I'll probably try a new dish), the service was excellent, the prices were reasonable, and I thought the restaurant was clean and bright.