Best Greek

The Olive Tree

Readers' Pick: We've said it before: We're lucky here; there is better Greek food in Tucson than in many cities with bigger Greek populations. The Olive Tree has had a long run under John Condiss. For years, he kept his business like family, keeping people on the payroll, for instance, when a fire ruined the place and forced closure for a time in the mid-1980s. Though popular with a high-end crowd, the Olive Tree was admittedly spotty in recent years. There was a time when even the soup and tyropita were not worth it. Condiss apparently has righted the ship for voters, who selected it No. 1 on the strength on the Lamb Bandit, the lamb chops and the moussaka.

Readers' Poll Runner-up: The Kotzambasis was moved out of their famous and tiny El Greco spot when the UA gobbled up the corner of Sixth Street and Park Avenue eight years ago. They moved east, to 4635 E. Fort Lowell Road, and transformed a burned-out vestige of Karl Eller into a beautiful and comfortable restaurant that is called El Greco's Grecian Gardens. You'll discover items that you won't find at the others, like Chicken Mavrodaphne. The family is famous for its bread, which goes well with everything. The spanakopita is among the best anywhere. Gyro lovers need to have El Greco's donar kebab. Lunch and dinner, but not Sundays.

Staff Pick: The Weekly's favorite has been Athens on Fourth Avenue, the gem that Andreas Delfakis continues to shine. You can go here, have a nice glass of wine and enjoy the artistic simplicity of Delfakis' woodwork, particularly in the bar room. Now in his eighth year of business, Delfakis also is an artist with traditional Greek dishes of braised lamb, pastitsio, and spanakopita. Soups, either avgolomeno or faikes (lentil), are superb. The calamari remains the best in town, and his knack for the freshest fish, be it salmon, cabrilla or halibut, is outstanding. Simple macaranutha with mizithra is wonderful, and a special treat is his pasta with mussels. His sweetbreads are also popular. This is Greek headquarters and an energy-filled spot for the young Greeks and Cypriots going to the UA or those who have recently graduated. Enjoy the patio. Service is always tops. The address is 500 N. Fourth Ave., but the entrance is off the Sixth Street Sidewalk. The parking lot is also off Sixth Street. Dinner only. And, no surprises, never on Sunday.

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