Greek food isn’t exactly a great cuisine, and as you infer, most Greek places are the fast/casual low–end type. In the EBay those budget places abound, such as Troy Greek, Rojbas, Athenian Deli. Even Ikaros/Oakland, one of the better Greek places, is variable; it’s best when the owner is there but even so, every time we go the avgolemono is slightly different – keeps life interesting, I guess.
If you are willing to broaden the category to Greek/Turkish/generic Mediterranean, there are four we’d recommend:
Tannourine/San Mateo. The only real competitor to Kokkari (the latter we feel is vastly overrated now, having gone in May with a large party and been rather disappointed. It was a lot better when it first opened, or even 7–8 yrs ago, than now). Tannourine is one of the prettiest DRs, and the food is good.
Ba–Bite/Oakland. If you’re talking hummus, salads, and the true Mediterranean diet, you can’t do better than this place. Note it is geared to mostly take–out. Dining is bare-bones altho it’s adequate, but it has the ambiance of a brightly painted closet. Forget the early reviews lauding “brightly colored chairs”; now it’s all bench seating around oddly narrow tables. But it’s all about the food, and Ba–Bite makes possibly the best falafel you’ve ever had. My DH doesn’t even like the stuff, but we fought over the last one! “Made from scratch” actually has real meaning here.
The last two are Turkish, which has many similarities to Greek cuisine (as even my Turkish friends will reluctantly admit):
Tarla Grill/Napa. Excellent food in downtown Napa. One of the very few Turkish restaurants my friend and her family willingly return to eat at.
Lokanta/Pleasanton. New branch in WCreek just opened, have not tried that location. The talus is excellent, and don’t miss the yogurt/honey dessert. One of the best versions in the Bay Area.
There is one Greek/Italian restaurant that is pretty run-of-the-mill, except for 2 Greek dishes that are outstanding. Everything else is okay (pasta is old–fashioned mushy, for example) but for some reason, these two dishes rock at Gold Coast/Alameda:
– Lamb shank. It’s small so you can actually finish it, falling off the bone tender, in a tasty tomato-based sauce.
– Galaktoboureko, the custard-filled phyllo dessert. We try this everywhere but it’s always disappointing…except for Gold Coast. It’s made fresh, served warm, and is simply amazing.