Papa Cristo’s has been an LA fixture as long as I can remember. The green painting along the Pico/Normandie street walls made it quite distinct in the area. It all started with a market opening in 1948. Owner Sam Chrys wanted to bring Greek goods to Los Angeles, importing everything from Greece. Not only until the 1990′s did Papa Cristo’s develop into a restaurant. The business is still family run and is overlooked by the 3rd generations. The same quality and standards are still met today. Papa Cristo’s is the epitome of Greek food in Los Angeles. If you want legitimate Greek food that tastes good, this is the place.
We started off with the spanakopita. The dough was flakey and delicious — the inside spinach and cheese mix was perfectly balanced. It is a rich filled pastry, and after 2 bites, I was sick of it. Definitely, some hot sauce went a long way with this pocket of dough and filling.
Above all items on the menu, the lamb gyro is a must order. Everything in this wrap is perfect. Even the tomatoes tasted delicious. I literally took a bite of the tomato and thought to myself “wow, this tastes like a tomato”. All the other times I ate a tomato, it tasted like nothing. This is when I knew the ingredients used are all so fresh and of the best kind. The pita was warm and fluffy and soft as a pillow. The best part of course was the gyro meat. It had the right amount of spices and saltiness, and the cooking made it the perfect crispy crust on the outside. All together with the vegetables and the tzatziki made for an outstanding gyro.
The spinach pizza in hind sight was a disappointment. The same filling for the spanakotpita was used for this pizza. Pita bread stood in place of the pizza dough, and the spinach mixture was slathered on. Then it was generously topped with feta and then baked. The pita does not make for good pizza dough, and the spinach mixture was just overwhelmingly rich. The feta did not help with this at all. Again, some jalapenos or hot sauce would have worked wonders on this.
The Galactobaklava was such an interesting concept, and just had to try it. At $1.50, it was well worth it. The baklava filled, phylo dough wrapped, custard filled dessert had an array of flavors and textures. The crispy from the phylo dough, and the custard made a nice contrast. The baklava on the inside was just over the top. This was a perfect ending to a perfect meal. A scoop of ice cream on the side would have been better, I suppose.
Papa Cristo’s remains to be my favorite spot for Greek food. The market place is always fun to browse around and see. I always know the olives and feta are the best of the best. And the gyro is world class. I like how even after all of these years, Papa Cristo’s strives to be the best, and stayed the same over the past 60 years. Papa Cristo’s is The Greek Food in Los Angeles