As a member of the Tampa Bay Bloggers, I was afforded an opportunity to sample the menu at Louis Pappas Fresh Greek in exchange for sharing my experience with you. As always my opinions are my own and there is no fluff here.
Despite being a teacher and having the summer off, I have not been able to travel much this summer. Yet a visit to Louis Pappas Fresh Greek took me half way around the world to the Greek Isles in just minutes. Due to my relationship with Tampa Bay Bloggers and the hospitality of the owners at Louis Pappas Fresh Greek, a few bloggers and I were able to enjoy a culinary tour of Greece without leaving the city.
Louis Pappas Fresh Greek is a restaurant that specializes in Modern Greek cuisine. The Pappas Family started opened their first restaurant in Tarpon Springs in 1925 and the family business has grown to now include four restaurants throughout central Florida. This is a family owned establishment whose roots reach back to Greece. The family immigrated to the United States and they brought their family and their culture with them. We had the pleasure of meeting the owners, Louis and Nancy Pappas, during our visit and their passion for providing a 5 star culinary experience to all guests is evident. The love of their heritage and culture comes through in every single bite of food you taste.
Kick your feet up because I am about to take you on a trip to Greece with me. Make sure you have your elastic waist pants on because we are about to eat well. Oh and bring a pillow too because if you are anything like me, you will be ready for a nap on the trip back home.
We started our evening off with a glass of red sangria. The sangria is a made in house and I would love to have this as a standard in my house any day. It was delicious! Like seriously, I do not always like red sangria because it is spiced too much but this was perfect. I wanted to take a pitcher to go but I did not push it.
We enjoyed the Mediterranean Spread which is a trio of dips served with pita chips next. The spreads included were the hummus, tzatziki, and roasted garlic feta. The hummus was smooth and flavored very nicely. It is flavored so it is not bland but is also not overpowering. The tzatziki was prepared with good quality greek yogurt and it was creamy and delicious. The roasted garlic feta was perfect for a cheese lover like me. The garlic added a great flavor to the cheese dip without making you feel like you could ward off vampires. I won’t even try to pick a favorite because they all were so good; this is perfect way to kick off your taste of the Mediterranean.
We enjoyed the Greek and Chopped Salads during our tasting at Louis Pappas. Growing up in Tampa I have been introduced to the potato salad topped Greek salads in my previous visits to Louis Pappas in the past. There are a few other restaurants in town that also serve their Greek Salads in this manner. I did not know however that the Pappas family was the originators of this trend. As we are told by Louis, the potato salad was added to the Greek salad to help fill the bellies of hungry troops during the war. Although I initially thought it was a weird combination, I must admit I would not have it any other way now. The Louis Pappas Famous Greek Salad is a must try if you are near any of the Louis Pappas restaurants.
Dolmades are a traditional Greek dish whereby grape leaves are stuffed with a rice and meet filling. I must admit I have not been a fan of these in the past so I was skeptical to try them. But let’s be honest, I am not the foodie with a booty for no reason so I did. Much to my surprise I liked them.
Spanakopita is one of my favorite Greek dishes. This spanakopita was perfect. The layers of the phyllo were nice and flaky with the right amount of filling on the inside. It was a slightly salty bite of goodness that I will gladly have any time.
The Classic Gyro pronounced (yee-row) was probably the first Greek entrée I was ever introduced to as a child. I loved them and later learned that I was mispronouncing the name. This dish needs no explaination, just know it’s good. I always get mine with extra tzatziki.
We also sampled the Chicken Salad Melt which was a surprise menu item for me. This is an entrée that melds the Greek history with their American roots as several generations of Pappas have been raised to call Florida home. The chicken salad like everything else is made with fresh (not canned) chicken, swiss cheese, cranberries, onion and tomato on toasted bread. We all seriously loved this entrée.
We sampled Louie’s Fish Special which was served with a lemon sauce. The fish was pan seared and lightly coated with the sauce to add a subtle flavor to the delicious fish.
The New Generation Mousaka was my favorite of the night. When I tell you I could add this to my ‘If I Die’ buffet, I am not lying. The mousaka was prepared like rollotini which made it easy to get all of the flavors in one bite. This version is made with spiced ground beef rolled inside of the eggplant with a marinara and béchamel sauce. All I am saying is if you don’t order anything else you must try this!
I am the queen of sweet fiends and they stole my heart with dessert. We had an array of delicacies including Greek Yogurt with honey and cinnamon sugar crisps, Rice Pudding, Bread Pudding with Mango & Baklava. The bread pudding was my favorite but the baklava was the best I have ever had. It was crisp, flaky and sweet.
I told you, you would be stuffed. Go ahead and unbutton that top button, we all understand.
Each of these items were homemade in house and authentic representations of the traditional dishes with a modern touch. The chefs believe in using quality ingredients that match what they would use in their kitchen at home when feeding their own family. In fact during my visit, I felt like I was family dining at the restaurant.
The prices at Louis Pappas Fresh Greek are very reasonable with entrees ranging from $8 – $12. This is a great deal for the quality of food received. However, for my frugal foodies there are a few ways to get even more of a discount when dining at Louis Pappas though because they offer an array of specials all throughout the week.
6 Buck Specials include: Gyros (Monday), Greek-a-dills (Tuesday), Mojo Pork (Wednesday) & Tampa Cuban (Thursday)
Happy Hour is 4-7 on Friday and Saturdays with 2 for 1 drink specials.
Kids eat free on Sundays with each adult entrée purchase.
In addition there are Café Specials each day. You should like their page on Facebook so you can get updates and information directly.
I will definitely be back again soon and you should join me!
What is your favorite Greek dish?