The extensive menu is replete with Greek classics. My favorite is the Mediterranean Pizza. Do you like Gyros? Well, this is like a “diva fierce tranny Gyro.” The 14-inch is enormous for only $16.75, but they also have a $19.95 20-inch which will easily feed four people.
This is so much better than chain delivery. Athens starts with a slightly sweet scratch-made dough that’s then topped with plenty of melted mozzarella and feta cheese, savory gyro meat and luxurious salty kalamata olives. But heed my warning. Do not get it with regular tomatoes because it can get soggy. Instead substitute sundried tomatoes. Melted feta, kalamata olives and Gyro meat — I was in heaven.
We started with a zippy Greek salad and my guilty pleasure of fried mozzarella, which had a hand-breaded crispy crust and a gooey cheesy interior. All the richness was juxtaposed with the tangy, garlic-tasting marinara. We had a friendly server, we didn’t spend a lot of money and had a fantastic meal that put us all in a good mood.
Would Athens Pizza get four stars from elitist food critics? No, but this is a place that people who aren’t paid to eat out or don’t make six figures can go find happiness and forget the troubles of the daily grind. It’s essential to the neighborhood.
Speaking of Mediterranean, Café Agora on East Paces Ferry Road is always a good flavorful bargain. I’m a Gyro fanatic, but as an homage to my vegan friends, I love their sizable Falafel for only $7. Falafel is like a Middle Eastern version of our southern hushpuppy, but made with chickpeas and savory spices served in a warm pita with fresh veggies and thaini sauce.
I’m also a fan of their flame-roasted eggplant dip with olive oil and garlic and lemon called Baba Ganoush. I know it’s old school but Café Agora also has really good Spanakopita with garlicky spinach in crispy light filo dough. We had a memorable non-chain tasting explosion for under $20 and the savory flavors blossom in your mouth like a desert cactus flower.
Top photo: Try the Baba Ganoush at Café Agora for a flavorful Mediterranean bargain. (courtesy Café Agora)