Welcome to The Short List. Each week we'll pick a topic and share our favorite – or, in some cases, maybe our least favorite – things about the Bay area.
With the weather warming, our thoughts turn to cool salads. And with the Tampa area rich in Greek culture, rooted in Tarpon Springs, Greek salad is the way to go if you have a hankering for the greens. Mix in olives, feta and red onions, potato salad (up for debate, of course) and maybe some anchovies, and it's a whole meal – tart with a crunch.
Here are our favorites.
Stefano Greek Italian Restaurant, 8904 N. 56th St., Temple Terrace – Savory potato salad spread across the bottom and some spicy pickled peppers distinguish the Greek salad at Stefano, a former Pizza Hut you'll like for the food and friendly service if not the atmosphere. The salad is nicely light on the dressing and boasts one unusual touch: Cubes of sliced ham.
Nicko's Fine Foods, 4603 N. Florida Ave., Tampa – The Greek salad is one of many attractions at Nicko's, a step back in time to the heyday of the Greek-owned diner. You're family here, and the prices are reasonable. The salad is topped with big slabs of feta, thick-sliced cucumber and screaming-purple beets. Anchovies on request. Plus, there's a yummy cream dressing and toasted Mediterranean bread.
Little Greek, 15225 N. Dale Mabry Hwy., Tampa – With eight Tampa area locations, Little Greek is doing for the genre what Chipotle did for Mexican food. So far so good, at the Carrollwood spot anyway: Basic Greek salad ingredients are all fresh and tasty and they even feature Romaine rather than iceberg lettuce. Potato salad is on the side. And there are extras with each salad: soft pita wedges and a tub of aoli.
Louis Pappas Market Café, various locations – You may have to wait a while for your salad but that's only because they make each one from scratch here. We prefer the Greek salad chopped (the lettuce is shredded) but it's also made the traditional way. The salad is big enough for a meal but you can also add grilled chicken or gyro. Be sure to order a side of hummus – it's one of the best anywhere.
Mr. Souvlaki, 802 N Pinellas Ave., Tarpon Springs – Of course, we can't talk about Greek salads without mentioning Tarpon Springs. Located near the famed sponge docks, Mr. Souvlaki is a must-visit for authentic Greek food. Make sure to leave room for the chow mein.