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Review: A taste of Greece at Taverna Cretekou in Alexandria

Taverna Cretekou is a Greek restaurant in Alexandria, Virginia. It has been around for over 51 years.

Taverna Cretekou
Taverna Cretekou. Photo Credit: Markos Papadatos
Taverna Cretekou. Photo Credit: Markos Papadatos

Taverna Cretekou is a Greek restaurant in Alexandria, Virginia. It has been around for over 51 years.

On March 24, this journalist had the opportunity to dine for lunch at this Greek eatery during his visit to our nation’s capital, Washington, DC. It is family-owned by the couple Christos and Denise Papaloizou, both of which hail from Cyprus.

Taverna Cretekou
Taverna Cretekou. Photo Credit: Markos Papadatos

Greek salad

Their “Horiatiki” Salad (Village Greek Salad) was comprised of tomatoes, onions, cucumbers, green peppers, capers, Kalamata black olives and feta cheese. It was seasoned with olive oil and herbs.

On the side, it was served with their own concoction of (olive oil mixed with garlic and parsley), which was an added treat.

Greek Salad at Taverna Cretekou
Greek Salad at Taverna Cretekou. Photo Credit: Markos Papadatos

Appetizers

Their “Kalamarakia Tiganita” or “Fried Calamari” was quite crispy and served with lemon wedges.

Kalamarakia Tiganita at Taverna Cretekou
Kalamarakia Tiganita at Taverna Cretekou. Photo Credit: Markos Papadatos

Other noteworthy appetizer choices include their “Tzatziki” dip (which features yogurt, garlic, cucumber, and dill), and their oven roasted lemon potatoes.

Oven roasted potatoes at Taverna Cretekou
Oven roasted potatoes at Taverna Cretekou. Photo Credit: Markos Papadatos

Main course

As a main course (and for people that enjoy meat), one should try their array of pita gyros (pronounced yeeros in Greek).

Their “Kotopoulo” or Chicken Sandwich came with tomatoes and chopped onions with a side of Tzatziki sauce, and mixed greens. The presentation was elegant.

Kotopoulo or Chicken Sandwich
Kotopoulo or Chicken Sandwich. Photo Credit: Markos Papadatos

Equally impressive was their “Arni” or Lamb Gyro, which came with ground roasted lamb, tomatoes, onions, greens, tzatziki and feta. The lamb meat was tender.

Arni or Lamb Gyro
Arni or Lamb Gyro. Photo Credit: Markos Papadatos

Desserts

Fans of Greek pastries ought to try some of their traditional desserts. These included their “Milopita,” “Creme Caramele” and “Galaktobureko.”

“Milopita” in Greek translates to Apple pie, and their Apple fritters were served hot in filo dough that was stuffed with apple slices.

Milopita Fritters
Milopita Fritters. Photo Credit: Markos Papadatos

“Galaktoboureko” is a semolina custard pastry in Greek culture and it is topped with filo and cinnamon. This restaurant’s Galaktobureko was savory and top-notch.

Galaktoboureko at Taverna Cretekou
Galaktoboureko at Taverna Cretekou. Photo Credit: Markos Papadatos.

Their “Creme Caramele” (reminiscent of Flan) was also fresh and creamy.

Creme Caramele
Creme Caramele. Photo Credit: Markos Papadatos

While they did not have any French fries (which translates into “Patates Tiganites” in Greek) or Halloumi cheese (the traditional Cypriot cheese) on their menu, their oven potatoes, “Tzatziki” sauce, and feta cheese made up for it.

“Taverna Cretekou offers more than a meal,” patron Benjamin Bryant said. “It provides an immersive cultural experience, a tour of authentic Greek tastes and traditions on a plate. How lucky we are to have it here, in Alexandria, so close to the nation’s capital.”

The Verdict

Overall, Taverna Cretekou is a pleasant Greek restaurant in the heart of Alexandria. It has a warm and soothing ambiance to it while traditional Greek island music is playing in the background. There is an authenticity and essence to it like no other.

Taverna Cretekou is able to take patrons on a journey of the different flavors of Greece through its cuisine, coupled by the owner’s hospitality.

Even after 51 years in operation, this eatery manages to keep its dishes fresh and creative. Taverna Cretekou is worth more than just a passing glance, and it garners an A rating.

To learn more about Taverna Cretekou, check out its official homepage, and Facebook page.

Markos Papadatos
Written By

Markos Papadatos is Digital Journal's Editor-at-Large for Music News. Papadatos is a Greek-American journalist and educator that has authored over 21,000 original articles over the past 18 years. He has interviewed some of the biggest names in music, entertainment, lifestyle, magic, and sports. He is a 16-time "Best of Long Island" winner, where for three consecutive years (2020, 2021, and 2022), he was honored as the "Best Long Island Personality" in Arts & Entertainment, an honor that has gone to Billy Joel six times.

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