Bordering an alley in the middle of Antique row is Effie’s, Philadelphia’s only authentic Greek restaurant in Center City. Effie’s narrow dining rooms are simple and crowded easily seating is limited and reservations are generally a good idea, especially on the weekend.
The atmosphere resembles that of a “Taverna” on a Grecian Island, blue like the Aegean Sea and beige like the sand from the beautiful beaches. You really feel like you are at home when you step into the main dining area. Across the courtyard, the highlight of summer and spring dining, there’s a brick-and-stucco hideaway heated by a cherry wood stove. Effie recently converted the second floor to a cozy dining environment for big parties and private events.
Effie’s combines authentic Greek homemade cuisine in a casual intimate Greek setting for dinner that displays warmth, hospitality, and friendliness.
You could order nothing but a horiatiki salad, a hulking mound of romaine lettuce, fresh feta, kalamata olives, hard-boiled egg and cucumber, and leave fully satisfied. But then you would miss the chance to taste the crunchy calamari, the tender, and sweet grilled octopus or the perfectly grilled tilapia (marinated in Greek imported olive oil and basil) or the moist, nicely charred swordfish kabobs; Santorini a flavorful shrimp and feta stew over rice; and exquisitely battered, pan-fried flounder, worthy of higher-price digs.
For those who prefer meat, there is the earthy souvlaki that comes on lightly grilled pita bread or stuck alongside peppers and onions on skewers and there is always some special lamp dish prepared based on a traditional family recipe. Order a side of minty rice-stuffed grape leaves or flaky and tangy spanakopita–and don’t miss Effie’s homestyle fries. Effie’s mother Lula still makes superb Macedonian bean soup, pastitsio ( with imported Greek Pasta) and Mousaka casseroles.