Last Saturday my husband and I visited with some friends nearby and went out for lunch in Tarpon Springs, FL. Mind you, we have lived in Florida from Pennsylvania for almost 33 years and have never visited Tarpon Springs or its infamous sponge docks.
We had lunch at a small eclectic, antiquated cafe named Zante Cafeano on one of the streets off the beaten path of the main part of town. The atmosphere was delectable with real smells coming from the just-like-at-home kitchen and dining tables snuggled against antique sideboards, etc., loaded with collectibles. One such sideboard held every kind of camera imaginable and it was hard to look with our eyes instead of our hands.
It's a family owned and operated restaurant so, of course, we were met by the young son, I would guess between 9-11 years old, who seated us in one of the comfortable dining tables, gave us menus and brought our drink order. The dining table had fresh linens: a tablecloth, placemats and napkins matching the print on the cushions on the seat of each chair. (Similar to some tea houses I visited.)
We had been warned that it takes a while to receive your meal once the order is placed because each item is made to order at the time it was taken. We ordered appetizers of Bruscetta to warm us up while we waited for our meals to be prepared. We were first served a warm, buttery, garlic fresh-from-the oven dinner roll and thought this was the Bruscetta, just prepared a little differently. In another fifteen minutes we were served a hoagie roll, sliced down the middle, spread with oil and garlic, fresh mozzarella, sliced tomatoes and oregano, fresh from the oven. Our Bruscetta had been served.
It was delicious. While we were waiting for our main course we wondered through the cafe looking at the various collections, some modern but most of them were older. Some were still in there original boxes, others had been hardily played with.
Our main course soon arrived and we all oohed and awed over the delicious scents surrounding us. We were amazed by the complimentary tastes. And even when we began to feel full it was hard to stop eating. It was so good. We asked for boxes to take home the remainder of our meals.
The weather was beautiful, a little breezy but perfect for a stroll down the middle of main street. Antiques shops of all kinds were located on both sides of the street and we soon found one that contained crystals and gemstones. We were all fascinated with what can be done from 100's of years old stones dug from mountain sides and from all around the world. We had to buy a couple of memorable pieces from this day.
Since two-three days have passed gone by, I am still thinking about our marvelous day and now anxious I am to stroll the main streets again and see what other treasures are buried here. I think we may have stumbled upon a real gem in the rough.