We can credit the cradle of Western civilization with the inventions of modern mathematics, streets, and plumbing, not to mention many of our philosophies and artistic traditions. For those with food obsessions, there’s even more to love. The healthy Mediterranean diet is alive and well at the Greek restaurants listed here, but don’t think that that means you can’t indulge — don’t forget the Greeks also invented bread.
Named for co-owner Katerina Tsouloalia, this family-run restaurant uses Greek olive oil in its recipes. It’s especially useful when it comes to marinating meats. Deeply flavored lamb chops, ribeye, and skirt steak all benefit from EVOO and Greek herbs. For customers who can’t decide on a single sandwich, the Tour of Greece combines three mini pitas, filled with pork, chicken, and lamb-and-beef gyro. 9212 Center St., Manassas
A perennial on our 50 Best Restaurants list, this upscale Tysons spot serves up modern Greek food with traditionally solid service. Order the whole branzino (lavraki) for a taste of both when an experienced member of the waitstaff filets the fish tableside. Think baklava is boring? Not when it’s served in as many permutations as are offered here. 8100 Boone Blvd., Vienna
Dining out as a vegetarian can be a difficult mission. Greek cuisine makes it easier with its many meatless mezzes, but it’s best of all to avoid animal protein at this restaurant that has expanded from its original Great Falls location to include outposts in Mosaic District and Shirlington. All of them serve meat, but our favorite dish is the vegetarian platter, which includes crispy spanakopita, tender gigante beans, flavorful beets, and eggplant-and-tomato stew. Multiple locations
Billing itself as an “Aegean” restaurant, the newest business on this list mixes fresh Greek fare with a few favorites from Turkey. Chef and co-owner Zeynep Gungoren keeps dishes light, but it’s still deceptively easy to leave feeling stuffed. That’s in part thanks to the spread sampler, which features exceptional versions of well-known dips like tzatziki and baba ghanoush alongside less common treats like atom, labneh with sundried chiles and butter. 7588 Telegraph Rd., Alexandria
Ancient Greek? OK, this stalwart isn’t that old, but at 50, it’s unquestionably a lifer. Fortunately, it tastes every bit as fresh as it did in 1973. The menu at this Greek restaurant identifies each plate by the region from which it originated, whether it’s Cretan lamb pie exohikon or wild mushrooms from Kastoria. And there are, in fact, dishes from the olden days. Try the poached apricots, created in Athens in 400 B.C. 818 King St., Alexandria
This 22-seat eatery’s name says it all. Thelo means “I want” in Greece and after their first bite of the gyros, diners will understand. Identified on the menu as “Best Damn Gyros,” there’s obviously no false modesty here. And it’s not necessary when anyone who tries it will realize it’s true. Made with pork belly and sirloin, it’s a taste of utter simplicity in a warm, chewy pita. Onions, tomato, and a drizzle of acidic yogurt sauce complete the package. 10123 Colvin Run Rd., Ste. C, Great Falls
Feature image of food at Our Mom Eugenia by Rey Lopez
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