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Olympia Restaurant brings Greek food at its highest

Conor Bellone, Staff Writer

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The Olympia Restaurant is an institution of Greek food known by any Greek person, or friend of one, this side of the state. Going back to the 50’s, it has brought the flavors of Lowell’s Greek immigrants to the main stage, not to mention the famous Zorba Music Hall next door showing musical acts (and the occasional belly dancer) for members over 18 since the 70’s.

The Ghostwriter got to visit this little Mediterranean treat over the vacation, and was delighted with what we received. Stepping into the The Olympia you instantly see what country this is from. Everything, from the chairs to the mirrors are in the colors of the Greek Flag: blue and white. You’re seated within sight of ancient styled columns and figures of Greek Goddesses.

After sitting you are welcomed by a basket of complimentary bread that any Italian or Greek family knows well. Its soft white bread inside of a browned crusted outside goes great before having your choice of lemon or lentil soup.

The lemon soup is a yellowish creamy dish that is made with egg cooked in hot water, lemon, chicken stock (making it taste like a chicken soup) and rice. The taste is fine, but I relied on it more as a warm dish to heat me up then anything else.

Ordering an entrée in a Greek restaurant can be a roll of the dice for those who don’t exactly know what they’re looking at. As a tip, nearly all vegetable dishes are served in a tomato based sauce. Everything from rice to potatoes have a reddish hue to them for this reason. The rice had a nice mellow flavor to it with small hints of pepper, while the baked potato was not bad with its small amount of onion added to it.

The traditional gyro (Greek wrap sandwich) can also be turned into a salad which is alright with its tomato, cucumber and lettuce but be sure to cut up the pieces of Feta cheese into small bites or risk getting a shock to the taste buds. The lamb slices it comes with could be better if the pieces were large and seasoned more. The pieces of pita bread it comes with are soft and flavorful. But, when the traditional Greek Tzatziki, a cucumber flavored yogurt sauce, accompanies the pita it seems to taste like a whole different food. This is fine, but I prefer the pita on its own.

For the more Americanized appetites, there are the delicious Zorba fries with ketchup. This crispy fry is given a Greek twist with added oregano and salt.

The highlight of the meal is the chicken kebab. The perfectly marinated chicken bits, with small amounts of sweet gristle are amazing. The small pieces of grilled onion and tomato are excellent with the meat. I recommend cutting these vegetables into smaller pieces before eating them with the chicken for a better taste.

The Olympia Restaurant is an excellent place for the Greek and non-Greek alike, expanding the traditional foods of the eater and giving them a more international view on food. The eaters’ exposure to a new and foreign cuisine is surprising, spiced and delicious.

The Olympia is located at 453 Market Street in Lowell, MA.

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Olympia Restaurant brings Greek food at its highest