The last of the 29 restaurants to open at the KRATE Container Park at The Grove in Wesley Chapel is Cafe Zorba, which serves delicious Greek and Mediterranean cuisine from the former owners of Acropolis Greek Taverna in New Tampa.
Cafe Zorba owners Stacy Esposito and her husband Eddie Nasr are proud to bring you authentic recipes with unique flavor touches that Eddie says are mainly his recipes from his childhood in the Republic of Cyprus, which is an independent nation on the third largest island in the Mediterranean Sea between Greece, Turkey and Syria. Although his parents were Lebanese, Eddie says his Cypriot recipes have been strongly influenced by the cuisine of Greece.
Delicious Starters & Entrées!
On these pages, you’ll find some of our favorite dishes at Cafe Zorba, a name inspired by the novel Zorba the Greek by Nikos Kazantzakis that earned Anthony Quinn an Oscar nomination for the 1964 movie of the same name.
The top left photo, of course, is the delicious Greek-style calamari, which is delicately crispy and served with a side of marinara sauce and kalamata olives.
“If you visit Greece and you don’t have the calamari,” Eddie says, “it’s like you never visited Greece. There is tons of calamari in the Mediterranean.”
Other starters at Cafe Zorba include tzatziki (Greek yogurt with freshly grated cucumbers, garlic and herbs with olive oil, served with pita), hummus (fresh chickpea spread with garlic and tahini, topped with virgin olive oil and tomatoes), dolmades (grapevine leaves stuffed with rice, lemon juice, olive oil and herbs, topped with crumbled feta) and the crispy and delicious Greek fries with aioli, feta and a side of tzatziki.
The photo to the left is the traditional Cypriot fried halloumi cheese, which is made from a semi-soft brined cheese with a high melting point, so it’s perfect for deep-frying. The halloumi rectangles are served with pita bread, fresh tomatoes and cucumbers.
The bottom photo on this page is, of course, the crispy spanakopita, or light and flaky phyllo pastry dough, stuffed with spinach and feta, served with a side Greek salad. Speaking of Cafe Zorba’s Greek salad, it is served with a similarly zesty, creamy Greek dressing to what you might remember from Acropolis.
My favorite entrees at Cafe Zorba are the lamb gyro wrap (also available with chicken — and the daily lunch special from 11 a.m.-2 p.m. gives you a gyro, fries and drink for only $15) and the chicken, pork or beef souvlaki platters, which are served with what may be the best, most savory orzo rice I’ve had in this area (or those crispy fries), as well as a Greek salad. The photo above is the chicken souvlaki platter.
Other entrées include the Zeus burger (topped with sautéed mushrooms, onions and feta); the tasty fish sliders (lightly breaded, pan-fried fish filet, topped with vegetable slaw, garlic aioli, onion and tomato on slider buns), the fried kibbeh platter (kibbeh are cracked wheat dough shells stuffed with seasoned beef, sautéed onions and pine nuts, served with fries, hummus and pita), and shrimp skewers. The shrimp are sauteed in lemon, garlic and butter sauce and served with pita.
All of the entrées are just $12-$18 and Stacy says, “We’re proud to be the only dining KRATE with all five-star reviews on Google. The reviews say our food is delicious and our portions are huge!”
Dessert, Beverages & More
Save room for dessert, as the options include regular baklava, baklava cheesecake, chocolate-covered baklava, tiramisu, Eddie’s homemade rice pudding and my favorite — the Zorba chocolate bombe filled with creamy milk and white chocolate mousse.
Cafe Zorba also sells a variety of beers, including Mythos from Greece, Almaza from Lebanon and many other imported and domestic options, as well as Greek and other delicious wines, plus coffee, soft drinks and Frazil shaved ice beverages.
And, the fun doesn’t end when you walk outside of Cafe Zorba, as there are nearly 50 flavors to enjoy with hookah pipes. Gypsi (photo, right), an exotic belly dancer, performs on Friday evenings, beginning at 7 p.m.
Even though it was only open for a couple of weeks when the voting ended, our readers named Cafe Zorba their fourth favorite Greek or Mediterranean Restaurant in New Tampa and Wesley Chapel and I placed it in my top-5 Favorite KRATEs.
Cafe Zorba is located at 5804 Grand Oro Lane, at the southern end of the KRATE container park. It is open Mon.-Thur., 11 a.m.-9 p.m.; 11 a.m.-11 p.m. on Fri. and Sat.; and 11 a.m.-7 p.m. on Sun. For more info, call (813) 388-5987 or visit Cafe-Zorba.com.
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