Acropolis, a newly opened Greek restaurant in the old Senor Frog’s spot on Main Highway, has a lot going for it. It’s in a great location, is decorated nicely with warm colored walls and soft lighting, has indoor and outdoor seating, and is helmed by anxious-to-please staff.
While dining there recently our party asked to sit inside. “Of course,” said the host, “Our house is your house,” as he ushered us in.
Unfortunately, his house is empty. At least it was on a recent Monday night around six p.m. Over the next couple hours, a few more parties trickled in, and there were some tables filled outside when we departed, but for the most part, it was dead, which is a shame. The lilting Greek music, played by a bouzouki player, is enchanting, while belly dancers shake their stuff on the weekends.
This diner’s party sat at a cozy white booth to discuss a book for a book club meeting. The decorating is contemporary chic, with black and white seats, exposed metal piping and vibrant paintings representing Greek life. It's quite a large restaurant, which made it feel even more empty.
Happy Hour is from four until seven p.m., so a round of white and red sangrias was ordered and they were two for one. The white sangria was light, fruity and refreshing, with sliced red grapes floating around with the ice cubes.
Sliced rustic bread, served with whipped feta, was delivered. It was tasty and the diners at the table sampled slices while looking over the menu.
The menu is pretty large with appetizers, salads, entrees, sandwiches, desserts and specials. The Acropolis platter seems more like Friday's food than Greek fare, with appetizers like stuffed mushrooms, buffalo chicken tenders and fried zucchini for $16.
Instead, the appetizer platter for $14 was ordered. It came with hummus, baba ghanouj, grape leaves, feta cheese and taramosalata. It was a large amount of food- it could have easily been divided among six diners- and each appetizer came in a separate plate or bowl, with a nice garnish. The grape leaves were stuffed with rice (no meat) and had a lemon sauce on them. The platter was accompanied by a basket of warm, grilled pita bread.
The waitress was very helpful, and was the bartender as well; however a better knowledge of the dishes on the menu might be helpful. When faced with an unknown bowl on the appetizer platter, she explained it was red pepper hummus. It was pink, but tasted fishy and, after further investigation was discovered to be taramosalata- salted and cured roe spread. She did refill water and bread promptly.
The table ordered spanakopita, the classic Greek appetizer of filo dough stuffed with spinach and cheese, for $10. Acropolis’s version came out in a big rectangular block and was served with sliced tomatoes, pepperoncini, sliced feta, black olives and tzatziki sauce. Since the table wanted to share this dish, the waitress was asked if it could be split. She took it back into the kitchen and had it cut into fours. It was a rich and filling dish, with the yogurt sauce helping to cut the richness.
Some of the entrees available on the menu at Acropolis are: mousaka ($14), a gyro platter ($13), chicken kabobs ($16) and lamb chops ($24). The prices seem a little high, but this is Coconut Grove and Main Highway. Acropolis is one of a chain, with other restaurants in Tampa and St. Petersburg.
There are quite a few specialty drinks; house wine is $6 and ouzo, that licorice flavored Greek moonshine, is here for $7. Opa!
The special of Greek meatballs with tomato sauce over rice ($14) sounded tempting, so the table ordered it. It was a large portion, with three grilled meat patties sitting atop a bed of rice . It was topped with tomatoes, onions and crumbled feta. It was not exactly what was expected, with the meatballs more like meat patties and the tomato sauce, sauteed tomatoes and onions.
The Greek salad that accompanied the special was this diner's favorite dish. It featured crisp iceberg lettuce and mixed baby greens, with triangles of sliced, seasoned feta, sliced tomatoes, black olives, red onion and pepperoncini. The creamy, tart Greek dressing, served on the side, was delicious. It tasted light, crunchy and fresh.
The young and helpful waitress/bartender brought out a baklava “compliments of the chef”, which was very nice. It looked beautiful, was very sweet and garnished with a cream/chocolate sauce. While most baklava has nuts (pistachios or walnuts), this one didn’t; it could have used the extra crunch for some texture.
There was no problem for the accommodating waitress to split the bill into fourths when the book club meeting concluded. Parking was easy to find, however the first two parking machines weren't operating properly, making it kind of a pain.
Dining and drinking at Acropolis was a very pleasant way to spend a couple hours. Now, if only some more diners would discover this Greek “home”.
Acropolis Greek Taverna
3484 Main Highway
Coconut Grove, FL 33133
Sunday- Thursday 11-12 a.m.
Friday- Saturday 11- 1 a.m.