Papou’s Greek Cuisine

23 Apr 2012
A Bit Costly ($15-$25)
3 out of 5

Papou's Greek Cuisine

Melanie’s Take

I first dined at Papou’s when a sweet friend took me there for lunch and to give me a wedding present. After we ate lunch, she presented me with bride, groom, and chapel ornaments that still hang on our tree during Christmas. As Shane and I thought about returning, I had nothing but good memories about Papou’s. We walked into this downtown spot on a Saturday night, but we didn’t have reservations. Luckily, an opening was within the hour, so we decided to take it. When you enter Papou’s, there are two impressions that you are sure to have. 1) It is the same audacious blue color of practically every Greek restaurant, complete with murals and columns and 2) the Golden Girls would feel comfortable dining here.

Inside Papou's Greek Cuisine

Unfortunately, the salmon dish I ordered was no more impressive than the decor. It was baked and topped with a rosemary lemon butter sauce. The sauce was delicious, but the salmon reminded me of what one might expect out of cafeteria-style dining. It lacked flakiness and proper seasoning. The sides of potatoes and salad were standard but not memorable.

Our service was good, and I would really like to see this Huntsville spot thrive in the future. The owner seemed genuinely hospitable, and I am a fan of any restaurant that gives it a go on the square. For Papou’s to thrive as fine dining, a little updating to both the decor and the menu would serve it well. Kitschy decor might work at a gyro joint, but it doesn’t cut it here. If you want to give Papou’s a try without much financial commitment, try it for lunch. Lunch specials can be had for $7-$10.


Shane’s Take

Melanie’s assessment of the atmosphere at Papou’s is dead-on. Unfortunately, from the giant mural to the plastic flowers to the Love Boat-era (at least in style) bar, the store is outdated and uninviting. The host was friendly, as was our waiter, but the atmosphere detracts from their efforts.

Moussaka and Spanikopita

My main dish was a Papou-dhio, which was composed of my selection of two entrees. Wanting to get Papou’s takes on the classics, I chose the moussaka and spanakopita. I enjoyed the moussaka, but between the eggplant, nutmeg-flavored ground beef, and baked egg topping, it was strange. I never expected to eat beef seasoned with nutmeg, and, well, I don’t expect to eat it again for a long time. That’s not to say the dish was poorly prepared—it was just unusual. On the other hand, I didn’t enjoy the spanakopita, which came out looking more like a Greek egg roll than the pastry-laden casserole I expected. Plus, it was dry and needed more filling. Unlike the moussaka that was strange but tasty, the spanakopita was strange and not tasty.

For dessert, we threw in a piece of baklava. It was standard baklava, the kind of thing I could eat any day. Cut in a diamond shape and topped with a clove bud (a nice touch I’d not seen before), it looked pleasing. It also tasted good, but it had one problem: it was tiny, as in “Is this a joke?” tiny. I didn’t expect an Olive Garden-sized portion, but what we got was too little.


I’m with Melanie in wishing that Papou’s can make it for a long time—and, for a restaurant on the square, it already has—but it needs some help. The stale environment needs life, and the unimpressive food needs improvement. Without some changes, I doubt I’ll return.

A few takeaways:

  • The M&M blue interior is killer. It would work well at an aquarium or Lego World, but it’s no good in a restaurant. (apologies to many Greek spots with the same decor)
  • Papou’s squeezed-in downtown location is interesting, reminding me of the nestled locations of beloved restaurants in big cities.
  • I believe Papou’s is trying to be a fine dining joint on Saturday nights, but it didn’t work for me. Like Gibson’s staying open late to serve steak and wine (thank goodness they don’t), it doesn’t make sense.


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