Philoxenia Welcomes You
This charming eatery features fine Greek cuisine in a very warm and welcoming environment. The name itself combines two Greek words: "philos" meaning "love" and "xenia" meaning "stranger". Together these roots make a word which means "hospitality". You'll feel the hospitality as owners Nancy Gavopoulou, Dionysia Germani, Antony Manolas and Vasilis Gialouris greet and chat with all their patrons and insure a pleasant visit. The rustic stone fountain and well at the entrance are surrounded by a few rustic tables near the bar. More tables rest outside on the sidewalk for perfect summer evening meals. The main dining room behind the bar has a lovely, rustic décor that was inspired by Nancy's grandmother's house in the Greek countryside. Whitewashed ceilings and dark wood beams are offset by brick walls, wood floors and a cozy fireplace. Corner banquettes are upholstered in white canvas and tables are softly lit by glowing lamps. Each table is covered by a hand-embroidered table linen from Greece, making the overall effect homey and inviting.
Also from "home" are the recipes and the philosophy about their food. Everything is made from scratch using the freshest ingredients. The wait staff is professional and efficient and swiftly arrived with warm pita bread and the simple menus, bound in wood. The wine list is purely Greek, with red, white and rosé varieties, offered at reasonable prices. It is traditional to share "meze" or appetizers with dining companions and at Philoxenia, there are plenty of meze to share, all served in generous portions. House made crab cakes come four to a serving and are full of sweet crab meat with delicate spices. The spanakopita or spinach pie is made from scratch with a flaky crust that's filled with tender spinach and creamy feta cheese. A whole, tender calamari is stuffed with feta cheese and red peppers, then grilled to golden brown, and sliced and served at your table for a surprisingly delicious dish. Fresh mussels get a kick from its sauce made with ouzo (Greek liqueur), feta cheese and tomato. Even dolmades get a new twist here by using tender lettuce leaves instead of grape leaves to roll up savory ground beef, rice and herbs ($12.50). Keftedes are handmade Greek meatballs with special herbs and seasonings, perfect sharing. In fact, the appetizer portions are so generous at Philoxenia, two to three people could share them. Next time, I'll make a whole meal of these savory meze. Start light with a cool salad of fresh beets, bursting with sweetness and flavorful, juxtaposed with a serving of skordalia, creamy potato garlic dip ($7). Two versions of Greek salad are featured, with or without tomatoes.
Fish reigns supreme at Philoxenia, and people come from far and wide to enjoy freshly caught, whole fish, grilled on the charcoal fire and drizzled with a sublime lemon and olive oil sauce. Choose among red snapper, Mediterranean dorado or bronzini, or other fish of the day. These flaky fish can be filleted and deboned at your request. After plate after plate of delicious appetizers, my dining companion and I shared a fish entrée which was the perfect entrée; light and flavorful. You may choose a side dish of their incredible hand-cut French fries, dandelion greens or rice. A house favorite is the swordfish kebabs, laced with chunks of flaky fish and vegetables. Shrimp stuffed with crabmeat or crispy fried whiting are other popular items.
If you crave meat, Philoxenia has juicy Black Angus rib-eye steak, cooked to order and served sizzling hot ($24). Baby lamb chops are incredibly tender and go well with a squeeze of fresh lemon. Chicken kebabs and jumbo shrimp kebabs are light dishes, drizzled with the same great lemon and olive oil sauce. Saturdays and Sundays feature slow-roasted baby lamb with lemon potatoes.
For dessert, indulge in a decadent slice of house made baklava, rich with walnuts and honey. Walnut cake or galaktoborekia are two other Greek specialties. Keep it light and cool with creamy Greek yogurt served with honey and nuts. The coffee is rich and delicious and we enjoyed two chilled glasses of dessert wine from the island of Samos.
Philoxenia offers its hospitality to all, six days a week for dinner Tuesdays through Fridays from 4pm until 11pm, and lunch and dinner on Saturdays and Sundays from 1pm until 11pm.(Closed Monday). There is valet parking on Fridays and Saturdays and major credit cards are accepted. Private parties of up to 120 people can be arranged. What a wonderful way to welcome guests to your private party with the warmth and hospitality of Philoxenia. Experience Greek hospitality for yourself soon.