There’s a new party in town: Spiro’s Taverna has come south into Jupiter and brought a little bit of the Greek Isles to the Shoppes of Jupiter. This is the third restaurant for Spiro’s; the others are in Jensen Beach and Palm City.
The interior of the Jupiter restaurant feels a bit like an underwater cavern, low lighting, with oversize pillars, ocean-blue walls and painted scenes of ancient Greece. There is a small bar at the back of the house, the lighted pastry case at center stage, and seating all around.
Word got around early that the menu and portions here are big. That is an understatement. You need to come here hungry, and if you leave hungry, you only have yourself to blame. The exhaustive lunch and dinner menu features soups, meze (appetizers), salates (salads), sandwiches, traditional Greek dishes, grilled fish, pasta and sauteed entrees. You can dine American-style here, choosing burgers, meal-size salads or fish. But with choices such as avgolemono (lemon rice soup), pastitsio (noodles, ground beef, and bechamel sauce, arranged in layers and baked with a tomato sauce topping), gyros (lamb, beef, chicken and vegetarian), dolmades (stuffed grape leaves), and spanakopita (phyllo and spinach pie), why would you come here for a burger?
Courses arrived promptly, but with adequate time in between each one. The phyllo used in the spinach pie was light, flaky, layered and crisp, and not a spot of grease on the plate; the spinach filling generous and fresh. The bechamel in the pastitsio had a mousse-like texture, rather than creamy or runny, and that helps the brick-size portion hold together until the last lovely bite. Chicken Greek Alfredo (Parmesan and feta cheeses) was salty, but not so much that you would grab frantically for your glass (the beverage list includes several Greek beers).
The atmosphere can be boisterous, between the twangy Greek music, the patrons’ clapping for the belly dancer (Friday and Saturday nights starting at 8 p.m.) and the regular shouts of “Opa!” as the waiters flame saganaki (which is the name of the pan used, not the cheese; cheese varieties can include feta, kesseri, halloumi and others). The flash-in-the-pan presentation is a novelty that gets attention no matter where it takes place.
Prices are reasonable when you consider that you can share, or will probably take home some portion of your meal. Appetizers and salads are $6-$9, sandwiches and burgers $7-9, and tradtional specialties and entrees $11-$16. If you still have an appetite for dessert ($5-$6), visit the pastry case and choose from baklava, custard pie, diples (deep-fried Greek doughnuts), katafi (nuts wrapped in shredded pastry and dipped in honey) and kourabethes (almond butter cookies covered in powdered sugar).
Service is courteous and quick, without making patrons feel rushed to leave, even on a packed Saturday night. Servers will helpfully explain the best way to reheat leftovers as they pack them up for you.
Spiro’s Taverna is not the place for a quiet, contemplative dinner. But it is Jupiter’s new place for a rollicking good Greek time.
Spiro’s Taverna, 201 N. U.S. 1, Jupiter, FL. Phone 561-744-7697. No reservations accepted. Catering available. Hours: Sunday through Thursday 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Friday and Saturday 11 a.m. “until the party ends.”
Olympic Taverna: 4200 NW Federal Highway, Jensen Beach. Phone 772-232-3202.
Olympic Diner, 2770 SW Martn Downs Blvd., Palm City, FL Phone 772-781-8461
*Ya mas – To our health