Home > Travel Retrospectives > I ATE • Tarpon Springs/Tampa (Opa + Olé)

I took Amtrak from West Palm Beach to Tampa for a 1-day/2-night visit with lifelong friends from ‘up north’. I armed myself with a good novel, my ipod and snacks and found the experience totally bearable, if not completely enjoyable. The Silver Bullet got me there in 3.5 hours.

Come along while I show you Tarpon Springs, a heavily-populated Greek sponge fishing village that made me feel like I was back visiting the Islands, but first…

Girls’ reunion dinner in South Tampa restaurant.

A FOODalogue view of Tarpon Springs.

Lunch at Hellas Restaurant + Bakery which radiates the colors of Greece in a very kitsch manner.

If you’ve been to Greece, you no doubt have had Frappé, an iced Nescafe drink that is served in all the cafes. I was excited to see it offered in the bakery side of the restaurant. So, of course, we had to try one and a piece of pastry (saragli).

A few street scenes.

And one cannot stop in Ybor City (the site of the Amtrak station in Tampa) without stopping for a Cuban Sandwich. Though I didn’t check, I’m sure this had to be a lot better than whatever was being sold in the dining car.

20 Comments, RSS

  • Peter G @ Siuvlaki For The Soul

    says on:
    July 22, 2010 at 8:16 pm

    How cool! I can’t believe you had a frappé outside of Greece that looked authentic! Tarpon Springs really does have a Greek feel to it.

  • bellini valli

    says on:
    July 23, 2010 at 12:06 am

    It really does look like a slice of Greece Joan!!!!!

  • Peter

    says on:
    July 23, 2010 at 6:25 am

    I’ve heard so much from friends who have been to Tarpon Springs and how Greek it is, thanks for the post card – OPA!

  • Sommer @ A Spicy Perspective

    says on:
    July 23, 2010 at 9:08 am

    It looks like a really cool place to visit. Is the photo in the middle baklava???

  • norma

    says on:
    July 23, 2010 at 9:33 am

    This is a must trip for me next time around. Funny, I will be doing a greek dinnner on Tuesday for my clients. Thanks for sharing.

  • Robin Sue

    says on:
    July 23, 2010 at 9:48 am

    Hi Joan
    First off, love that tiger print tank top, very pretty! Also I am interested in what novel you read on the train, I am always looking for a good read. That places looks like Little Greece, so glad you had a great time with friends. Also have you heard back from the folks that called you about a TV show- I would love to see you on screen, I think you would be so much fun!!


    • Joan

      says on:
      July 23, 2010 at 2:12 pm

      I’ll send you an email.

  • Buela

    says on:
    July 23, 2010 at 10:26 am

    As you can see Joan makes an adventure out of every trip!
    Tarpon Springs has benefited from her visit and lovely picture essay.

    • Joan

      says on:
      July 23, 2010 at 2:12 pm

      Thank you 🙂

  • bunkycooks

    says on:
    July 23, 2010 at 2:59 pm

    Looks like you had fun! I was just there for a quick visit with family and a doc’s visit in St. Pete and we went to one of the spots in Tarpon Springs for dinner that evening. It is a really neat area and the Greek food is always great!

  • Angela@spinachtiger

    says on:
    July 23, 2010 at 3:11 pm

    I’ve never heard of Tarpon Springs. How nice that just a train ride away you can get there and visit friends and have great food.

    • Joan

      says on:
      July 23, 2010 at 5:11 pm

      It’s steeped in the Greek culture very much like the various ‘Chinatowns’ and ‘Little Italys’ you find in many cities.

  • Terri

    says on:
    July 24, 2010 at 1:35 pm

    I’ve visited Tarpon Springs several times. Love it!

  • sippitysup

    says on:
    July 24, 2010 at 8:58 pm

    Ya know I partly grew up in the Tampa Bay area. Much of my high school time was pent on those lovely gulf beaches. But I still have never made it to Tarpon Springs. I need to change that on the next trip when I visit my family. I was super inspired by this post, and I sooooo miss Cuban sandwiches. GREG

  • Devaki @ weavethousandflavors

    says on:
    July 24, 2010 at 10:18 pm

    What an incredible slice of Greece right here in the US of A!

    Thanks for sharing this delightful corner of the world with us 🙂

    Ciao,Devaki @ weavethousandflavors

  • Damaris

    says on:
    July 25, 2010 at 1:32 am

    friends and food is such a good combo. I need a babysitter.

  • redkathy

    says on:
    July 25, 2010 at 10:45 pm

    Oh Joan you have captured the very essence of Tarpon Springs! Then again, I would expect nothing less from you :)Amazing place. And Ybor… glad it was daytime when you stopped for that yummy Cuban ’cause it’s a whole different place after dark.

  • elly

    says on:
    July 29, 2010 at 8:57 pm

    This really brings back memories. I used to go to Clearwater Beach with my grandparents at least once a year, sometimes twice. We always went to Tarpon Springs of course (and ate at Pappas – not sure if it’s still there?). My grandma’s cousin has a restaurant there, too (Plaka). I haven’t been in ages, though!

  • Lori Lynn

    says on:
    August 1, 2010 at 10:48 am

    What a fun mini-trip. Here in Southern California we have Catalina Island, a trip over there makes you feel like you’ve traveled all the way to Europe and it is only 26 miles away.

    Photo of you and the girls is great! I bet that sandwich cubano was awesome!

  • A Canadian Foodie

    says on:
    August 7, 2010 at 9:13 am

    Never heard of it until now – and who wouldn’t want to go? Great shots and what a beautiful vacation spot. Lucky souls who live there.

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