I have been searching for some quality and authentic Greek food and I found a gem in the process. Taverna Cretekou is located in Old Town Alexandria on King St. When you walk into Taverna Cretekou you instantly get the feeling you stepped in a different country and in a way you have. This place oozes Greece and provides you even here OPA every once and while. They have done an incredible job of creating the perfect atmosphere in this beautiful restaurant. We decide to take the 10 minute wait to get outside seating and we were not disappointed. The garden was one of the most beautiful outdoor seating areas I have seen in a while. There are hanging gardens which provide greenery for the brick patio. It is almost fully surrounded by other buildings which shields the street noise, but lets in a nice airy breeze.
Taverna Cretekou is a family owned business and was actually bought by its former Maitre d’.
“After working for 25 years as Maître d’, owner Christos Papaloizou bought Taverna Cretekou in 2005. His wife, Denise has recently joined him.”
The food at Taverna Cretekou is fantastic! They have every well known Greek dish on their menu. As I looked at the menu I found it hard to make a decision on what to eat. For our appetizers we got, taramosalata, calamari, spanakotiropita, and dolmades. All three were excellent. The teramosalata tasted like most, but much fresher the fish taste was at just the right level. The calamari tasted light and fresh as well. When you drizzled the lemon over them the calamari pieces were completely perfect. The domaldes were flavorful and tasty as well. The spanakotiropita was some of the best I have ever had. It had it the perfect amount of cheese and spinach that mixed just right with the filo dough. Overall all of the appetizers including the complimentary bread was fantastic!!!
For the main course I had the whole fresh fish of the day the Red Snapper. My family got the pastitsio, arni kapama, and gardes cretekou. The pastitsio baked ground sirloin and ziti pasta, topped with parmesan cheese and bechamel sauce. The pastitsio was great I only got to try a little piece, but what I tried was moist and flavorful. My favorite dish that I tried was my mothers the gardes cretekou which included prawns sautéed with fresh tomato, garlic, feta and white wine. It was served in a casserole dish which just enhanced the intense flavors from prawns and the amazing sauce. My girlfriend got the arni kapama which included braised shank of lamb with fresh string beans in a light tomato sauce. This was cooked just right and fell right off the bone and it was pretty good as well. On to my dish the fish of the day a whole red snapper which was baked with lemon, basil, and sea salt. The fish was beautiful as you can see from the picture on the left. Fortunately for me it tasted even better than it looked the fish fell right off the bone and had a wonderful light flavor. You could taste all of the ingredients and the meat just melted in my mouth. The entrees were wonderful and left us unable to refuse dessert!
As for our desserts we all ended up trying one, and surprise surprise they were great as well. We ended up getting baklava, galaktoboureko, verikoka aphrodite, and the creme caramel. The baklava was fantastic you could taste honey, nuts, and filo dough, all in one bite. The galaktoboureko is a light semolina custard pastry topped with filo and cinnamon. It tasted similar to baklava with a cinnamon creme filling. The creme caramel is a homemade custard with a caramelized crust on top. This was good and tasted similar to creme bulee. I actually go the Verikoka Aphrodite which is an ancient Greek dessert consisting of yogurt, peaches, nuts, and honey. It tasted really good although it was not as sweet as normal desserts.
Overall everything about Taverna Cretekou works. The service, the food, the atmosphere, and everything else just made one of the best dining experiences I have had in a long time. If you want to experience the best authentic Greek restaurant in the DC area Taverna Cretekou should be your number one choice!
818 King St
Alexandria, VA 22314