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Healthy, Fresh Greek Eats

Digest Foodie Fare

December 24, 2011

Story By: Dining Out Team |

With its vibrant decor and authentic cuisine, The Fat Greek Waikiki is like being whisked away for a quick getaway to Greece. The Fat Greek restaurants, which include two other locations and another on the way, is quickly becoming a local favorite for Mediterranean eats.

  • Cheese Saganaki ($8)
  • House Special Shrimp ($12)
  • Ahi Salad ($12.95)
  • Saganagi Opa ($15.95)
  • Stuffed Sweet Peppers ($7)
  • Cheese Saganaki ($8)
  • The Fat Greek general manager George Stephanos with appetizing Greek specialties.
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The Fat Greek Waikiki opened about a year ago, and this location offers both sit-down service and takeout.

Manager George Stephanos says that the sit-down style of the venue has allowed them to introduce a few new menu items, such as Cheese Saganaki ($8), which combines a tangy cheese with a gourmet mountain cheese. “We fry it up, crust it on both sides, and lace it with a little brandy,” Stephanos explains. “And then when it comes out, we light it so it comes flaming to the table.”

Another new offering is Stuffed Sweet Peppers ($7), which includes sweet red and yellow mini peppers that are stuffed with feta cheese and shal-lots. The peppers are served with pita bread, and the two complement each other perfectly. This little treat joins other appetizers like Kalamari ($8) and Mussels ($8).

Popular dishes include Greek classics like Gyros ($9.95) and Falafel ($10). There’s also the House Special Shrimp ($12), which features garlic shrimp. The restaurant also offers daily specials, including Couscous ($19.95) Monday, Lamb Shank ($19.95) Thursday and Moussaka ($15.95), which combines lamb, eggplant and vegetables accented with spices and Bechamel sauce, Friday.

The Fat Greek features healthy, fresh food. For Stephanos, featuring healthy ingredients is important for both taste and nutrition.

“I think it’s important just for quality of life, and I think people look for that,” he says. “And you can tell … when you bite into something fresh, there’s a big difference in the taste.” He says that the restaurant receives fish and produce from local fishermen and farmers, adding that people are always asking for local ingredients.

“The kind of food that we put out is very important,” Stephanos says. “It’s not only the food, I mean obviously the taste is very important. But the presentation also makes a big difference here. When something comes out looking good, it tastes even better.”

The chefs at The Fat Greek frequently try out new dishes. The daily specials, which are offered from 5 to 10 p.m., also include a week-by-week Chef’s Choice dish each Saturday. Another recent menu addition is the Shrimp or Ahi Salad ($12.95). Stephanos says that the staff is currently working on other new dishes, which will include more lamb and stuffed pepper items.

Another big change is coming for The Fat Greek: On Feb. 1, the restaurant will open a new location in Kailua. The new menu items will be unveiled with the opening of the Kailua venue.

On the Side

After being involved in the tourism industry for much of his life, The Fat Greek Waikiki manager George Stephanos is an expert at knowing what customers want. He also brings a passion for and knowledge of Greek food to the restaurant. A resident of Hawaii for the last 35 years, Stephanos is originally from a town in New Hampshire that had a tight-knit Greek community.

“When I was growing up in those neighborhoods, on Saturdays or Sundays, all your friends and your family would come over,” Stephanos recalls. “And there was always food and laughter, and a lot of talking.”

Stephanos says that The Fat Greek Waikiki aims to extend that kind of friendly, welcoming environment to its guests.

“We wanted to create that philosophy here,” he explains. “When you come in, you are treated like you are a family member.

“It’s a good quality of life — you enjoy your friends, you enjoy your food,” he says. “And we just want to share that with people, you know?”

With this kind of atmosphere, The Fat Greek Waikiki is an ideal place to kick off the weekend or celebrate the holidays. The restaurant provides validated parking at the Waikiki Marina. On Fridays, you can take advantage of three-hour validated parking so that you can enjoy the Hilton’s weekly fireworks show.

The restaurant offers Happy Hour from 4 to 6 p.m. daily, featuring discounts on selected menu items and $1 off beers and wines, including a number of Greek wines.

The Fat Greek Waikiki is open tonight for dinner, New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day for dinner.

“On behalf of The Fat Greek restaurants, we want to wish our old and new friends happy holidays,” Stephanos says.

The Fat Greek

  • Where
    • Kaimuki
    • 3040 Waialae Avenue #A3
    • Honolulu, HI 96816
    •  
    • Waikiki
    • 1831 Ala Moana Boulevard, Suite 201
    • Honolulu, HI 96815
  • Call
    • (808) 734-0404 (Kaimuki)
    • (808) 941-3444 (Waikiki)
  • Hours
    • Open daily
    • 11 a.m. – 10 p.m.
    • Specials from 4 p.m.