Denver's top five Greek restaurants
Most of the Greek joints in Denver, as I note in this week's review, are mediocre places where people yell "Opa!" -- an expression of joy -- despite the fact that the fare they're serving is rather joyless. Given how vibrant Greek culture is, that just makes me sad.
Mark Manger Opa! Saganaki at the Athenian, one of this town's best Greek restaurants.
There are a few spots in town, however, that offer a welcome taste of the island nation in the Mediterranean. Here are the five best.
Axios Estiatorio (3901 Tennyson Street)
Mark Manger Good olives and good feta at Axios.
When Brasserie Felix closed the doors on its prime piece of real estate on Tennyson, the location was quickly snatched up by Telly Topakas, a veteran restaurateur who also owns a Greek spot in Colorado Springs. Topakas wanted a more upscale restaurant in Denver, and he hired Royce Oliveira, a novice to Greek cuisine, to man the burners. Oliveira's menu captures the joy of Greek culture without strictly adhering to tradition -- and the food, like the place, is fresh, interesting and incredibly tasty. Opa!
Yanni's Greek Restaurant (5425 Landmark Place, Englewood)
Yanni's Greek Taverna Straight from the grill at Yanni's.
Ever since Yanni Stavropoulos opened his original namesake restaurant in southeast Denver more three decades ago, people have been clamoring. Now located in the Landmark development, his restaurant still serves a massive menu that spans most of the traditional Greek canon. Highlights include souvlakis, saganaki and char-broiled octopus, but the best time to hit this spot is on Sunday, when the lamb rotisserie is smoking outside, perfuming the airt with the mouth-watering scent of roasted meat.