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“Solid Greek Food”
Review of Athena Restaurant

Athena Restaurant
Ranked #130 of 610 Restaurants in St. Augustine
Certificate of Excellence
Cuisines: Greek
More restaurant details
Restaurant details
Good for: Families with children
Dining options: Lunch, Dinner, Breakfast, Reservations
Reviewed June 23, 2014

A newly redecorated restaurant with a superlative wait staff served us an excellent Greek salad. Following that we enjoyed a baked moussaka and a very good chicken gyro. The Greek coffee that followed was strong and tasty as we shared a strawberry cheese cake.

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Thank islanderuu
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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323 - 327 of 562 reviews

Reviewed June 7, 2014

Has the owner ever been to Greece and had a Greek salad?,2 small tomatoes,2 olives,no onion,lots of lettuce,not like any salad I've ever had in Greece.My wife had moussaka which was good. Service average,never enquired if we were enjoying our food. Room for improvement

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1  Thank malcno
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed June 6, 2014

We ate at this location by way of recommendation from someone who lived in St. Augustine. The restaurant was clean, the staff was very attentive, friendly and helpful as we were trying to figure out what main meal we wanted. Considering the location, the prices were reasonable. The appetizer, saganaki (flaming goat cheese), was quite an experience and very tasty...which I was very surprised that I enjoyed it as I have never been a fan of goat cheese! The meal I had was the moussaka, which was very filling and flavorful. For dessert, I tried the baklava cheesecake which was good. Next time I am in the area and in the mood for Greek food, I would definitely return!

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Thank C B
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed June 5, 2014 via mobile

Couldn't wait to try the fresh hummus and home made pita's. It was all amazing. My husband had a club wrap. Delicious and fresh.

Thank Miagrace24
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed May 31, 2014

So in no particular order:

ATHENA
I am happy to see improvements at Athena, both in the physical restaurant, and the professional wait staff. I hadn’t put Aetna on my repeated-dining list, as the air conditioning, rest rooms, and ‘lightness’ in the main dining room needed improvement. Athena is now back on my list.

The owner has been really working on the restaurant, and the new tiled bathrooms are the newest, and probably cleanest in Saint Augustine.

I enjoy the grape leaves (see photo), and Greek chicken (also see photo). The grape leaves, made in Greek kitchens elsewhere, and covered in and subtle but exotic mustard/sweet/pepper and imported Frixa brands olive oil, have a flavor that leaps off the plate. Combined with the imported Greek olives, a real positive to your meal.

The Greek chicken is lightly baked in Athena’s main kitchen, and the chicken (breast in particular) is moist top to bottom. Ask for the dish to be ‘browned’, and you have a fine Greek dinner.

Hint: Ask Olivia for a cup of her best Greek coffee; rich, dark, even a bit muddy. Only real ‘Greek’ coffee in town. Delicious.

Suggestions and Recommendation:
Further improve the wait staff with more mature and experienced staff, which is already quite improved.

Turn down the sometimes over-bearing Greek music. No customer wants it that loud (I asked several), and when properly set, adds to the experience, not detracts.

Finish the ceiling repairs. The interior is much lighter and fresher than before, and the all new ceiling will certainly increase the lightness.

Recommended.

GEORGIE’S
As my previous reviews note, Georgie’s is my favorite breakfast restaurant in town.

I am on a restricted diet, and have increased the frequency of my favorite breakfast dishes, which I note other diners also enjoy. Ask for the bacon. It is especially cut and brought down from Jacksonville just for Georgie’s. It is thick, and my goodness, actually tastes like pork. I’ve seen as many as six separate orders served as sides; it is the best in Saint Augustine. I also enjoy their ‘everything’ bagels, also brought down from Jacksonville as I requested.

Georgie’s shares Chef Billy’s special Greek cooking between all three restaurants. I frequent enjoy his charcoal-grilled steak (photo attached), and on Wednesdays, his Greek barbequed ribs (photo also attached). Baked and still moist, then grilled to make the natural sugars and fats in the pork caramelize, then covered with hand-made Greek sauce far lighter and far less-sweet than the standard American sickly-sweet bottled Bar-B-Q sauce.

I must note that Georgie, after long urging, covered his outdoor patio with a new canvas top (see attached photo). It has immediately become a locals’ favorite, but you must be prepared to hear the Greek language spoken most mornings. Fun, outdoors, surrounded by actual real plants and spices used in the kitchen (yes, they actually use spices from their own plants), and a new favorite for pet owners too.

Suggestions and Recommendation:
No changes to the wait staff at all. Ask for Melissa, Rachel #1 (there are three!), and Stephanie. Their service is way above the standard offered by other Saint Augustine restaurants. Great looking (it matters), responsive, and more than glad to make reasonable changes to each order. Their answers are always “Yes”.

I hope they add some fans or exhausts to the newly covered patio. It is a truly special space, but is going to be warm in the summer.

Recommended.


ALCAZAR CAFÉ
Did I save the best for last? Perhaps.

Located in the bottom of a swimming pool in the historic Lightner Museum, Alcazar Café offers –in this reviewer’s humble opinion- the highest level of dining in Saint Augustine. White tablecloths live piano music, and an unmatched sense of history.

In the bottom of a pool? Yes, but it is not off-putting at all. The area is immense, and you cannot but hear the laughs (and perhaps proposals!) of the very wealthy who enjoyed the hotel more than a century ago. (I hear them perhaps a bit more clearly than many; my great grandfather, Captain Thomas M. Rickards, was Henry Flagler’s ‘land engineer’ some of the time Flagler built up and down Florida’s coast. Was my great grandfather standing where you will dine –at that exact same spot- a century ago? Who knows? But a romantic thought nonetheless about how we share time and space.)

Their new head chef, Kevin (under the careful tutelage of main head chef Billy Hantos) is becoming one of downtown’s rising stars.

Because of my careful diet, I asked for their recent roast beef sandwich special, but served without bread. I received thick slices of roast beef instead (everyone around me was hungrily eying my serving) surrounded by lightly braised vegetables.

Ask for their steak. It is not always available, but if they can hand-cut one for you (photo attached), be prepared for a cut and flavor way out of line with pricing found at local chain restaurants.

Desert? If you don’t eat sweets, ask for their cheese plate. Delicious assortment, fresh fruit, and artfully presented in a manner seen only in very high-end restaurants (photo attached).

Ready for coffee? Ask for the café latte’. Each large cup is hand brewed, rich and creamy. I often a bit guiltily order a second!

About the pricing: yes, a bit higher than some downtown restaurants. But for the dollar, the value is beyond compare in Saint Augustine. Great food, orders made especially for you, and you’re surrounded by real history, not gawky tourist signs and junk.

About the service: I’ve stated before that the service, ably headed by Sean their head waiter, can be as good as seen in New York (where I’ve dined dozens and dozens of times), without any condescension or tourist pandering. Smooth, quiet, informed, willing to listen. Ask for Sean, Sarah, and Mike. Again, the best in town.

Real quality, real service, real history.

Suggestions and Recommendation:
No changes at all, other than I am urging the owner to open some evenings.

White tablecloths, live piano, Champagne by candle-light? My goodness; romance brought to life!

Highly recommended.

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Thank energy98
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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