Kalo Pascha! Top Restaurants for Greek Orthodox Easter Dining

Did you miss the recent sequel to My Big Fat Greek Wedding in theaters? No worries —you can still celebrate some of the best Greek family traditions on May 1 during Orthodox Easter. Featuring not only healthy Mediterranean cuisine that’s vegetarian-friendly, but earthy, unctuous lamb rubbed with herbs and garlic, roasted, spit-fired or added to soups, there’s something for everyone. Whether you’re Greek or not, make a new tradition with a taste of the Old Country at one of these delicious restaurants for Greek Orthodox Easter dining.

Ouzo Bay, Baltimore, Maryland
The weeks leading up to Easter are a great time for Ouzo Bay to showcase their year-round signature dish of fresh whole fish during this period when most Greeks abstain from eating meat. But after the late-night mass the evening before Easter, the tables become boisterous with the spirit of community and celebration not only of the holiest of days but of the feast: whole roasted lamb, platters of lamb chops and shanks, family-style sides of fasolakia (braised green beans), gigantes (giant lima beans), spanakorizo (Spanish rice), horta (sautéed greens), and other roasted vegetables. Ouzo Bay offers its full dinner menu on Greek Easter Sunday with many of the same dishes and several traditional desserts to satisfy anyone whose sweet tooth wasn’t fulfilled by their Easter basket, including baklava, galaktoboureko (vanilla custard), and sokolatopita (chocolate cake). Make a reservation at Ouzo Bay.

Restaurants for Greek Orthodox Easter Dining

Loi Estiatorio, New York, New York
Holidays are always about family in Greece, says Maria Loi, but none makes her smile more than Easter. “It was a special time for me because my father would let me help him roast the lamb and work with the meat, like one of the boys,” she said. “I want everyone to experience the same happiness and joy I do!” She brings smiles to the masses with the spit-roasted whole lamb she grew up making in Roumeli in central Greece. “The lamb from Roumeli is always better, as is the tsoureki (a traditional sweet Greek Easter bread) because of the flora in the region – everything tastes brighter, cleaner, and fresher, so much so that often people will seek to spend their Easter holiday with family in Roumeli. I was very lucky to have grown up there!” Some of her seasonal specialties include kokoretsi (lamb intestines wrapped around seasoned offal) and magheritsa (lamb offal soup), though Loi Estiatorio regulars can also enjoy her crowd-pleaser, the feta mac n’ cheese. “When I was growing up, we ate a very similar dish, and my siblings and I loved it,” Loi said. “When I came to the States, I saw how popular the American version was but also how rich and fattening it was. I thought to myself that I could make it better and healthier, with Greek olive oil and feta cheese … and I was right!” Wrap up your meal with her take on sokolatopitaMake a reservation at Loi Estiatorio.

Restaurants for Greek Orthodox Easter Dining

Kipos Greek Taverna, Chapel Hill, North Carolina
Most chefs wouldn’t embrace fasting, but for chef Giorgios Bakatsias it’s an important ritual and a tribute to his childhood growing up in Karpenisi, Greece, with his parents, brother Terry, and sister Olga, who now cook with him at Kipos. “Fasting cleanses the soul and your palate,” he says. “It’s not just a religious act but … [it] makes me able to distinguish and identify different flavors” afterward. Eggs play an important role not just for eating, but for play: each year eggs hand-dyed by Olga are used by diners to try and crack each others’ on Sunday. It is believed that the diner with the last egg will enjoy a year of good fortune. Terry’s rolo kima, a Greek Easter meatloaf, is stuffed with egg, as is the sweet braided tsoureki bread. And, the star of the show is savory roasted lamb with garlic, oregano, thyme, and olive oil. Make a reservation at Kipos Greek Taverna.

Restaurants for Greek Orthodox Easter Dining

Pelekasis at Wink & Nod, Boston, Massachusetts
One of chef Brendan Pelley’s earliest food memories is the smell of slow-roasted lamb with garlic, so this season’s specialty of leg of lamb with horta (lemon-braised greens), lamb-fat-roasted potatoes, rosemary, garlic and herb puree is no surprise. Feeding four to eight people, Pelley’s $150 feast (prepared with 24 hours’ advance notice) is an homage to what his family ate on Greek Easter and his papou (grandfather), who helmed weekly Sunday lamb roasts. Pelekasis — Pelley’s original family name—is an exclusive pop-up inside Wink & Nod that is so popular its run has been extended through June. Make a reservation at Wink & Nod.

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July Restaurant Weeks: Summer Dining for Less

dineLA 2015 AOC dish blog copyAs we welcome the start of summer, we’re pleased to share the steals on meals you can take advantage of in cities across North America. Find out where July restaurant weeks are happening near you!

* Toronto Summerlicious has what you crave with $18, $23 + $28 lunches and $25, $35 + $45 dinners, July 3-26. Book a table.

Mpls St. Paul Magazine Restaurant Week invites you to make the most of Twin Cities dining with $10-$20 lunches and $15-$30 dinners, July 12-17. Book a table.

* Providence Restaurant Weeks serves up perfection in the way of $14.95 lunches and $29.95 or $34.95 dinners, July 12-25. Book a table.

* Chicago French Restaurant Week is your opportunity to eat, drink, and be French with magnifique meals priced at $17.89, $35.78, and/or $178.90, July 13-19. Réserver une table.

* NYC French Restaurant Week asks you to say oui to dining deals during Bastille Week with revolutionary prices of $17.89, $35.78, and/or $178.90, July 13-19.  Réserver une table.

* Clayton Restaurant Week in Missouri has three-course gourmet dinners for just $25, July 13-19. Book a table.

* dineLA has deals that will leave you starstruck with $15, $20 + $25 lunches and $30, $40 + $50 dinners at more than 250 restaurants, including AOC (which will be offering its torchio pasta with baby broccoli, roasted tomato, chili + breadcrumbs, pictured), July 13-26. Book a table.Continue Reading

Winter Restaurant Weeks 2014: Save in Your City!

CRWThe holidays were fun, but they probably left all our wallets feeling a little bit lighter. Never fear, however, because winter restaurant week season is here. Get ready for three months of discounted dining madness, during which you can enjoy big savings on delicious dishes! As always, we recommend you book your tables early and often as prime reservations fill up early. Happy restaurant weeking, diners!

* Napa Valley Restaurant Month is on! Don’t miss a month of dining deals in Wine Country in the new year.

* Eat Well Week Santa Monica starts Sunday. Reserve today for discounted prix-fixe menus and new healthy menu options, January 5-12.

* Get charmed by Charleston Restaurant Week. Order up $20, $30 + $40 three-course dinners, January 8-19.

* Baltimore County Restaurant Week begins in one week. Book now for $15.14, $25.14, $35.14 lunches and dinners, January 10-26.

* Indian Festive Food Week comes to the Big Apple this weekend. $15 + $25 lunches and $25 + $40 dinners, January 11-19.

* Baltimore’s Howard County Savor It! Restaurant Week kicks off on January 13. Make a reservation for special prix-fixe menus from $10.14 to $40.14 through January 27.

* Restaurant Week Baton Rouge begins soon. Take a bite out of $15 to $35 three-course meals, January 13-18.

* Pittsburgh Restaurant Week is heading your way. Enjoy $20.14 to $35.14 lunches + dinners at Steel Town’s best restaurants, January 13-19.

* Washington, D.C. Restaurant Week arrives in mid-January. Book your tables for $20.14 lunches and $35.14 dinners, January 13-19.

* Get ready to Dine About Town in San Francisco. Make a booking for two- or three-course lunches for $18.95 and $36.95 three-course dinners, January 15-31.

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Taste of the Nation Maryland: A Delicious Night in Support of No Kid Hungry — Exclusive Slideshow

OpenTable is a proud supporter of Share Our Strength’s No Kid Hungry® campaign, and we were thrilled to attend Taste of the Nation Maryland on October 7, 2013. Held at the American Visionary Art Museum in beautiful Baltimore, the fundraiser brought out some of Charm City’s finest chefs and restaurateurs, including Cindy Wolf of Foreman Wolf Restaurant Group (Petit Louis Bistro, and folks from Wit and Wisdom, PABU, Oyster Bay Grille, Mr. Rain’s Fun House, Verde, b. a Bolton Hill Bistro, and Birroteca — and the hungriest foodies.

Share Our Strength’s Taste of the Nation® is the nation’s premier culinary benefit dedicated to making sure no kid grows up hungry. Each spring and summer, the nation’s hottest chefs and mixologists donate their time, talent ,and passion at nearly 40 events across the United States and Canada, with one goal in mind: to raise the critical funds needed to support Share Our Strength’s No Kid Hungry® campaign to end childhood hunger. Taste of the Nation is nationally sponsored by American Express, Sysco, Food Network, and S.Pellegrino Sparkling Natural Mineral Water. Since 1988, Taste of the Nation has raised more than $86 million.