Top

dining

Stories

 

Tastes of Greece Gives 'Em Hellenic

[Hole In the Wall] This Laguna Niguel eatery might be the smallest restaurant in OC—but its Greek dishes are stunners

Two reviews of Laguna Niguel restaurants in one issue? Hey, the last time I reviewed one of the bland 'burb's eateries was in 2004, so we might as well catch up. And while Edwin thinks Bistro Anju is good-great, I dare say Tastes of Greece is downright spectacular. If restaurants could transform into inanimate objects, this cozy dive would be a pillow—you just want to snuggle with it all afternoon and into the night.

Tastes of Greece is as tiny a brick-and-mortar restaurant in Orange County as you'll ever find: five tables, with the stoves and counters taking up three-quarters of the strip-mall space and the flat-screen television hanging above the front door because that's the only spot available. But the owners have put love into every available nook. Look up and notice the plastic cover for the fluorescent lights, superimposed with single-panel photos of a gorgeous blue sky with cumulus clouds. Squint toward the back and see Greek cookbooks, laid out for customers to read. A deli counter offers Greek wines, beers and chocolates. On one small wall hang pamphlets for various Greek-American clubs in South County; on another, pictures of Hellenic architectural glories. These aren't professional shots—the angles are a bit off, and they could use cropping. But those personal touches reach the soul like their falafels—maybe not the most intricate thing, but absolutely satisfying.

Two, sometimes three people run the kitchen, so the service usually lags. That just means more care is put into each meal—seriously. A typical dish contains an entrée (meat, falafel or veggies) on a bed of long-grain, soft rice; forming a perfect L around it are an expertly tossed Greek salad, olives glistening among chunks of sharp feta; pita bread cut into diamonds; and a mound of canary-yellow rossiki, a Greek take on Russian salad heavy on the mayo and capers. Gyro shavings collapse into themselves under the weight of all the juice each absorbed while slowly twirling on the spit. An order of soutzoukakia come five to an order, meatballs fat and charred on the outside while seeping fragrant juices. Run them through the house-prepared spicy feta—pungent, with a Mexican-esque kick—and you'll find the next great meat condiment.

Location Info

Map

Tastes Of Greece

30012 Crown Valley Pkwy, G
Laguna Niguel, CA 92677

Category: Restaurant > Greek

Region: Laguna Niguel

The pita sandwiches are as thick as burritos; the spanakopita spinach pie as delicately layered as a gold-leaf book. Daily specials get scribbled on the chalkboard, and they even sell tyropita, the legendary breakfast pastry of Hellas, cheesy and gooey and gorgeous. Tastes of Greece is reason enough to visit Laguna Niguel, and may its success spur city entrepreneurs to open more, better restaurants so it can beat that smarmy Laguna Hills in their restaurant wars.

This column appeared in print as "Give ’Em Hellenic."

 
My Voice Nation Help
8 comments
Nototb
Nototb

They always have a few delicious specials too. Just ask. All made with love in every bite. No, really. You have to try it. They are family recipes and they are just delicious. Get take out if you are in a hurry.

christoofar
christoofar

Made it here for dinner last week, loved it!! The lamb was juicy & flavorful, salads, Greek Fries & fiery feta dip all to die for. & OMG, try their take on profiteroles!! The folks running the place are very accommodating & friendly. So cool to have a little place like this close to the house.

Christoofat
Christoofat

dang, did not even know about this place & really close to me. On my list! Thanks!!

Sasha
Sasha

Fabulous place -so authentic and reasonably priced to boot!

tb
tb

Gustavo,

Ok, it wasn't so hard to find on Urban Spoon - (checking our committment to good eats?)

(949) 495-2244 30012 Crown Valley Pky (at Niguel Road)Laguna Niguel, CA 92677www.tastesofgreece.us

I love to see Greek food finally getting popular (Mediterranean diet & all) - plus it just tastes good. We tried Loukes recently (a gourmet garbage truck - www.LoukesToGo.com) - wow - I just can't get enough Greek food now.

Thanks for the reviews.

tb
tb

Gustavo,

You tempt us - then offer no address?

Trying to give them some exposure, but not too much?

david
david

Kinda far for me but sounds like it might be worth the drive. Do you have an addy for this restaurant?

Jdizzy
Jdizzy

Hey Gus, will you be doing another "guess where I ate, win a prize" contests any time soon? Just checking, I know you usually do one around The Big Game...I'm sure you still remember me from last year :)

 
Loading...