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Best Greek

The Olive Tree
7000 E. Tanque Verde Road

READERS' PICK: Talk about a revival of antiquity! Like Petrarch, we believe the Greeks were onto something important; unlike Petrarch, we're talking about the food. It took only one bite of dolmades for us to say, "Humanism, schmumanism!" The Olive Tree serves meals of the gods, specially delivered via Pegasus-powered dinner chariots all the way from Mt. Olympus to one of the lovelier areas of East Tucson. We still haven't figured out how to pronounce Spanokotyropita (yeah, yeah, it's all Greek), but this is our favorite entrée: a phyllo pastry filled with seasoned spinach and imported feta cheese, then baked more golden than a cherished fleece. Don't let the $15- to $20-a-dish prices scare you off: You definitely get your marble block's worth. And by Zeus, don't confuse The Olive Tree with The Olive Garden.

READERS' POLL RUNNER-UP: Tucson has seen plenty of Greek restaurants come and go in the 20-odd years that Marathon Gyros Restaurant, 1134 E. Sixth St., has been serving authentic Athenian cuisine. Marathon has nearly been one of them a time or two, standing as it does in the path of long-threatened, but never-delivered, expansion by that great blob, the University of Arizona. We're glad it's endured, for Marathon is a fine place to grab a quiet meal near campus--and flat out one of the best Greek eateries in town. The daily lunch special, almost always priced at $6.95, is a substantial meal usually involving a meat dish, salad, rice, and soup. (Vegetarians fear not: Marathon offers a range of salads and vegetable dishes.) The dinner specials are even more substantial and leave you feeling like you won't need to eat for days.

Case History

1998 Winner: Tie: Athens on 4th Avenue + Olive Tree Restaurant
1996 Winner: Athens on 4th Avenue
1995 Winner: Athens on 4th Avenue

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