Or so proclaims the menu at Papadakis Taverna in San Pedro – which, you have to admit, is a pretty strong hook.
If you’re from San Pedro, you know Papadakis. You also know the family that owns the famed local establishment – a large, beloved Greek family who helped write our local town history and bring being a Trojan fan to a whole new level. If you’ve gone to Pedro High or USC, you probably had a Papadakis in your classes and if you’ve been to a USC Football game, you’ve probably cheered one on as well. But this post is about their restaurant located in Downtown San Pedro, steps from the waterfront and miles from ordinary.
My mom had been after me to try this place since . . . birth and now I know why. From the moment you step through the door, you become one of the family and the service, food, and floorshow made it a meal to remember. Owner John Papadakis greeted us with open arms and quick peck on the cheek. We were quickly ushered to our table and settled in just before the nightly floorshow – a bellydancing exhibition that went right along with the cultural experience (yet was a bit Vegas as well – lovely girl, little clothing, dollars in the pants, etc). Loud Greek music, plate smashing, the whole 9 – as the menu says, there’s no chance you’ll leave this restaurant frowning.
For indecisive diners, new to Greek cuisine or just unable to play favorites, Papadakis offers a combination dinner feast featuring house “classics.” Order it a la carte or with the delicious starter Avgolemono (egg-lemon soup) and Greek salad, and you’ll find a mountain of delicious treats: mousaka, pastistio, roast lamb and dolma.
On my next visit, I’ll likely order either the pastistio – pasta and ground lamb baked with creme bechamel and gently seasoned with traditional spices, including slightly-sweet, very interesting nutmeg, or the roast lamb which was tender, flavorful, and absolutely perfect. But it’s hard to play favorites – the whole plate, including the roast potato, was fantastic.
We were too stuffed for dessert – but they brew a great cup of coffee, so make sure you savor the ambiance in this vibrant, homegrown gem of a restaurant. No matter where you live, it’s worth the drive.
Papadakis Taverna, 301 West 6th Street, San Pedro, California 90731, (310) 548-1186, daily for dinner at 5:00 PM, “Closed all major holidays including Superbowl Sunday,” most dinners between $9.95 and $24.95, a la carte or with soup and salad, private rooms available for parties, parking available in lot across the street – self on weeknights, valet on weekends.