Japan's First and Oldest Greek Restaurant
Sparta, located in Yoshidamachi, Yokohama, is Japan's first and oldest Greek restaurant - and quite arguably one of the country's best. Founded by Elias Skantos in 1953, it's now run by his disciple, chef Akutsu Yasuyuki, and his wife Yoko. Together, the two travel to Greece yearly to update their knowledge of the cuisine. Sparta may seem casual, but the range of food, the quality, the wine and the price make it quite a winning restaurant.
There are three dinner course options that hungry patrons will want to consider: the Olympia (3400 yen), Athens (4000 yen), and Sparta (6000). They all include hors d'oeuvres, salad, bread, and soup, spanakotiropitakia (spinach and cheese pie), moussaka (eggplant lasagna), a main dish and Greek coffee. The more expensive ones come with more platters. There is also a simpler "dinner combo" for a reasonable 1500 yen, which includes salad, soup, bread, dip and a main dish. If you prefer to explore the menu, you'll have to make some tough choices. Appetizers, like rice wrapped in vine leaves, or marinated items - like octopus - are definitely in order. "Meat" options include dishes that simply use meat as an ingredient, as well as items like lamb chops or "grilled village sausages". Greek cuisine naturally includes a lot of fish; half of the selections include lightly friend items like squid, prawn, codfish or sardines.
Drink selections are primarily Greek, though the menu does have a few world beer and wines to choose from. If you want the full Greek experience, try a shot of Ouzo, which is Greek sake with herbal aromas. Vergina, a Greek beer, is only 700 yen. In terms of pairing drinks with your dinner, perhaps nothing will beat a good Greek wine. Glasses start from under 1000 yen and bottles are around 4000 yen. I strongly urge you to ask Yoko, who is a wine sommelier, for recommendations.
Sparta also serves a fantastic lunch set, and once a month they host wine dinner parties - just ask for details.
Link to address and map
Official website (in English)
Former Deep Japan Writer