Athens Cafe

Athens Cafe 1030 W. Rt. 70 Cherry Hill 08003 856-429-7309

Before we dined at Athens Cafe, my mother and I were not well versed in Greek food. In fact, our combined experience with the cuisine consisted of Greek salad and maybe a gyro or two. So needless to say, when we walked into the cozy restaurant, we weren`t quite sure what to expect.

We were immediately impressed with the beautiful decor. Athens Cafe is filled with chandeliers, miniature white lights, lots of greenery and authentic Greek artwork. We could also tell that Owner Michael Stamatiades and his staff work hard to treat customers like family.

To make the most of our visit, we wanted to sample as much as we could. In order to do that, we started with a Hot Combination Platter ($9.25). When it arrived, we could hardly believe our eyes it was brimming with enormous portions of Pastitsio (layers of pasta and ground beef topped with a creamy Bechamel sauce); Dolmades (grape leaves stuffed with a lightly spiced ground beef and rice mixture and topped with a creamy sauce); Spanakopita (thin layers of filo dough filled with fresh spinach, scallions, dill, feta cheese, eggs and herbs); and Soutzoukakia (spicy, baked Greek meatballs simmered in a tomato and wine sauce). Everything was wonderful and truly exceeded our expectations. It should be noted that Michael creates all the dishes himself from scratch.

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Next came a traditional Greek salad and toasted pita bread. Both are served with all entrees. We also opted to try some hoummos ($4.75) with our bread.

For my entree, I chose Chicken Santorini ($14.95), a boneless, sauteed chicken breast topped with green peppers, parsley, tomatoes, garlic, orzo and feta cheese, and served over rice. I thought the dish was absolutely delicious.

My mom decided on Moussaka ($9.75), baked layers of fresh eggplant and seasoned ground beef sauce, blended with Romano cheese and topped with Bechamel sauce. Her dish was served with baked mixed vegetables. She was extremely pleased with her selection, and said her leftovers were even better the next day!

When we heard that all the desserts were also homemade, we knew it was our duty to try at least one. We decided to split a piece of Baklava ($2.95), flaky layers of filo, nuts, spices and butter topped with a rich honey syrup. I can say that we weren`t disappointed it was quite tasty!

Athens Cafe, a BYOB restaurant, also offers takeout. Just remember, go hungry and keep an open mind. All of our dishes were huge and worth every bite.

Hours Sunday: 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Monday: Closed Tuesday - Thursday: 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Friday & Saturday: 11 a.m. to 11 p.m.

Author: Colleen Benowitz


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