I’m planning my first trip to Greece next year (actually I’ve planned a trip before but weather or time limits kept me from actually going) and since one of my visiting friends speaks some Greek and lived in Greece for several years, we decided to go to Ulysses Voyage in the Grove/Farmer’s Market for a taste of Greece.

My friend greeted the hostess in Greek and she answered in Greek; it is always a good sign when the people who work in an ethnic restaurant actually have some knowledge of the culture or language. We sat outside on a beautiful warm day, ordered appetizers to share, and since we were havng a Greek experience in Los Angeles, we ordered Ouzo and Retsina to drink. A bread basket of Kalamata olive and rosemary rolls arrived with our drinks and they proved to be a wonderful prelude of things to come.

We started with the Taramolasata, a whipped caviar dip similar to hummus that was creamy, savory, and addictive with the warm soft pita bread served on the side.

The Smelt Marides, fried whole smelt with lemon and salt. For anyone who has never tried smelt, they are like tasty fish fries (if you have a problem with eating the fish head, just hold the head and eat it down to your fingers).

And the Spanakopita, the famous Greek spinach and feta filled filo pastry, which was made in this case with onions and sprinkled with sesame seeds. It was one of the best versions of this classic appetizer I have ever tasted.

Finally we all shared a Greek salad (we ate it so fast it was impossible to take a pic before it was gone) with red and yellow peppers, thinly sliced red onions, (pitted) Kalamata olives, diced cucumbers. and chunks of fresh firm feta. It was a festival of colors and freshness; a perfect finish to a perfect afternoon snack.

I can’t wait to have Greek food in Greece, but until I take my trip, I will come back to Ulyssses for a taste of Greece in Los Angeles.