By Gary Nager
I have always been a big fan of Acropolis Greek Taverna since the New Tampa location in the Oak Ramble Plaza on Bruce B. Downs (BBD) Blvd. (just south of Tampa Palms and just a few miles south of Wesley Chapel) replaced the Tampa Brickyard in the same space four years ago.
Even though he couldn’t call Acropolis a “Greek Taverna” when he first opened because the Louis Pappas Market Café was located at the opposite end of the same plaza at that time, owner Sam Waez served the same outstanding Mediterranean cuisine he did for several years in Ybor City in a casual setting that still allowed New Tampa diners to enjoy a fine dining experience.
There have been a lot of changes at Acropolis since then, but the old saying that the more things change, the more they stay the same rings true in the case of one of our area’s favorite restaurants, both among USF students and New Tampa residents.
“The most important thing is that the quality of our food and our service have stayed consistent,” Sam says of his four locations. “And we know no one beats our prices for this type of quality.”
Acropolis has consistently made menu additions, although many long-time customers still order the same Mediterranean and Middle eastern starters they have from the beginning, from delicious hummus, grilled octopus, spanakopita and baba ghanouj to a traditional Greek salad (but with a tasty, but non-traditional creamy Greek dressing), tender calamari and the always-wonderful spinach and artichoke dip.
Utilizing the same menu (and prices) for lunch and dinner, but always offering wonderful lunch specials starting as low as $6 and dinner specials starting at $9, Acropolis continues to add new dishes to my list of favorites. I love the charbroiled whole snapper and have been told the new seafood pasta, which includes shrimp, mussels and scallops over penne pasta in a creamy red sauce topped with shaved parmesan) is wonderful, too, although I’m sadly allergic to the shrimp.
I’m partial to the gyro and souvlaki wrap sandwiches and even the tasty America burger at Acropolis, and my favorite dinner entrées are the chicken, pork tenderloin and filet mignon shish kabobs, awesome grilled lamb chops, the savory filet mignon topped with sautéed onions and mushrooms, the chicken Santorini (in creamy lemon white wine sauce), the mahi plaki (topped with a tomato basil sauce) and my absolute favorite, the Athenian fish, which is pan fried and topped with a dollop of (although I always ask for extra) a zesty, homemade pesto sauce.
“We receive shipments of fresh fish five or six days every week,” Sam says. “I know people love our seafood.”
You also can’t beat the decadent dessert tray at Acropolis, which features American and Greek specialties, from baklava and rice pudding to a decadent chocolate peanut butter cake.
Changes For The Better!
Sam and his New Tampa managers Tarek and Z are rightfully proud of all of the recent changes at Acropolis, which include a newly remodeled bar area, which is now much more open and spacious, a totally revamped and expanded covered patio area, which is both heated and cooled and is perfect for enjoying hookah (and hand-rolled cigar) smoking, and coming soon, a new wine cellar featuring about 30 great Greek wines.
And, with live music seven days a week, belly dancing and plate-breaking all weekend and dancing servers every dinner hour, Acropolis is always entertaining, too.
Acropolis Greek Taverna is open late (including the kitchen) seven nights a week, at 14947 BBD. For more information, call 971-1787 or visit AcropolisTaverna.com. And, if you mention this story when you visit, you can get a $100 Acropolis holiday gift card for only $80!