A year or so ago, following a broken hip, my “roommate” at a rehabilitation facility mentioned a restaurant he and his family frequently visited and always enjoyed, Stefano’s Greek –Italian Restaurant in Temple Terrace. For many reasons, we never got around to trying this establishment. One evening last week, I was asked suggest a place where a group of former co-workers could meet for our bi-monthly reunions. I recalled Charlie’s suggestion and we decided to visit Stefano’s. And we were all pleased at the choice.
The Restaurant is in what was obviously a former Pizza Hut franchise, on the main roadway in Temple Terrace, Florida. The first thing one notices in entering the restaurant is its brightness and cleanliness. My wife and I arrived a few minutes before the rest of our party and were seated in an area separated from the main dining area. The waitress asked if we wanted something to drink and I ordered black coffee, while Joan just requested water and lemon. One of the major tests of a good restaurant, in my opinion, is the coffee; and this was some of the best brew I have had in casual restaurants. As a matter of fact, I immediately resolved to return for breakfast in the near future because of the complimentary reviews for that menu.
The menu has a variety of salads, sub sandwiches, Panini’s, burgers and such. The entrees are split into Greek and Italian dishes. By the time we had read the extensive choices, the rest of our party had arrived and we ordered.
As an appetizer, I opted for black bean soup with chopped onions while Joan picked a small salad with the house Greek dressing. The soup was served piping hot, very rich and almost as smooth as velvet, absolutely great. Joan’s small salad was nothing out of the ordinary but she praised the dressing.
I chose the seafood pescatore, which had shrimp, scallops, Mahi-Mahi and mussels, all in great abundance, served over thin spaghetti. Normally, I ask for spicy red sauce of almost everything related to pasta, but this time, I went with the waitress’s suggestion and had a light garlic and herb sauce. The taste was delicate and flavorful and complemented the seafood and pasta. I have to mention at this point that the portion was huge, so much so that over half was taken home for dinner the next night and at under $16 was a bargain.
For her main course, Joan ordered the mousaka a Greek dish made up of layers of eggplant, meat and potatoes, topped with a red meat sauce and cheese and baked. It is, for those not that familiar with Greek cuisine, very similar to the Italian lasagna. This dish, which Joan enjoyed, was again too large to eat at one time! At less than $10, it was her dinner at home the following day.
One of our group, Susan, ordered a Greek salad which, in the local tradition, is made with a scoop of very smooth potato salad at its base. In addition to the usual salad ingredients, there are slices of feta cheese, ham, olives and peppercine. The dressing was that which Joan had enjoyed on her small salad. Again, the portion was large enough to take about half home for another meal. Another diner, Roberta, chose the chef’s salad. The dish was piled high with ham, salami, two kinds of cheese, peppercine and tomatoes on top of a large bed of lettuce. Each salad was pronounced excellent and at under $7 was a bargain.
All in all, I highly recommend this establishment and am certain to return. I have my sights on the Hillbilly skillet which looks like it contains everything that one could wish: sausage, ham, steak, cheeses, tomatoes and assorted veggies! On the other hand, the dinner menu features a plethora of favorites. A most delightful quandary.
Several months ago I reported in this space my delight in visiting Stefano’s in Temple Terrace, Florida. During the period following, my wife and I have returned several times. Every month a group of present, but mostly retired, employees of the Florida Department of Revenue get together for breakfast. Because of the favorable comments here and elsewhere, we have chosen Stefano’s for our gatherings.
I had previously mentioned that this restaurant has an exhaustive breakfast menu, everything from the usual bacon, ham or other meats with eggs to pancakes and waffles, in varying combinations. They are all good; but in my opinion, the best treat is one of the skillet breakfasts.
The Hillbilly Skillet ($7.95) is humongous! It has layer upon layer of bacon, smoked sausage, steak, ham, onions, peppers, all topped with home fries and a couple of eggs. It was far too much to eat at one meal and the very ample leftovers were a delight the next day. On another occasion, I enjoyed the corned beef hash and two poached eggs.
This restaurant is a definite winner.