A quiet but long lasting presence in Old Town Alexandria is Taverna Cretekou, on 818 King, open in Old Town since 1973.
Think rockfish with fresh oregano, lemon and olive oil. Add feta. Add ouzo and a basket of fresh bread at an intimate table, white table cloth, in a crowded dining room, and you have the basics of Taverna Cretekou, an Old Town institution.
The restaurant is always popular, and unique as there are few truly Greek restaurants in the northern Virginia or DC area. The owner, Christos Papaploizou, was the maitre’d for twenty five years until 2005 when he bought the restaurant.
This reviewer ate at Taverna Cretekou many times during the 1980s and also in the 1990s when the restaurant had lost some of its emphasis. But with the current leadership, in place for 6 years now, Taverna Cretekou has regained its basic focus on high quality regional Greek cuisine, in a setting mindful of Greece, with intimate tables and whitewashed walls.
Of special interest on the dinner menu are dishes under “Thalassina” with a heavy emphasis on seafood—key to Greek cuisine. The prawns, with feta, garlic and white wine, are simply prepared and delicious—a standard at Taverna Cretekou. Cost for the entrée—about par—is $21.95.
On Thursday nights expect Greek music. Reservations are recommended. www.tavernacretekou.com