Downey's Greek Food Festival is a delicious way to spend time with your family and friends and enjoy all kinds of Greek food.
The Downey Greek Food Festival is held every year for the past 31 (!!!) years, ever June. It's a celebration of Greek food and culture. There is something for everyone; food, a beer garden, carnival games and rides, dancing, and an outdoor market. It is host by and held at the St. George Greek Orthodox Church located on Downey Ave. My family, while not Greek, have been attending for years. We come for the delicious food; fresh roasted lamb and chicken, pastitsio, ouzo, olives, feta and baklava.
I really wasn't kidding when I said fresh! That's about as fresh as it gets. The lambs roast all day to keep up with the demand. They are butchered right away, which you can see in the background. Chickens also roast and smell delicious. This is definitely one way to make you super hungry. Souvlaki, meat skewers, are also being made fresh by a team of people over open grills. Gyro meat cooking ready to be sliced and put in a pita with tomatoes, onions and tzatziki sauce. If you love protein, visit this food festival! You will be in a meaty heaven.
We got a chicken plate and a lamb plate to share. It comes with a roll of bread, slices of feta cheese, greek salad with kalamata olives and the most delicious rice. The chicken was perfectly cooked and just fell apart. The lamb was so flavorful and dripping with juices and fat. It literally was melting off the bones. The portions were generous and were more than enough for 2 people. The rice was mixed with feta cheese and was so creamy and delicious, I wish I could've just bought a bucketful of it.
Now, I know what you're thinking. French fries at a Greek food festival?! But let me tell you, these fries were amazing. They were perfectly seasoned with garlic and salt. My brother got a gyro and fries, but he inhaled it in no time. I'm sure it was super good too, judging by the speed of his eating.
The festival is a very family friendly affair with games and rides for children. What festival isn't complete without a few? There's even live bands and a dj with a dance floor. Everyone dances, from teenagers to the grandparents.
When you start feeling yourself slip into a food coma, head over the coffee and desserts area, where they make fresh Greek coffee. Roasted, finely ground coffee is boiled in a small copper pot and served in a cup. It takes a little while, but is very interesting to watch and the aroma of coffee filling the air is well worth the wait.
There is a huge choice of desserts, from the familiar baklava to the unfamiliar, karydopita, a walnut-honey soaked cake. The mini donuts, loukoumades were extremely popular. They are fried pastries soaked in honey and sprinkled with cinnamon and sesame seeds.
There is also a small vendor market selling Greek groceries, jewelry featuring talismans against the evil eye, olive oils, and honey. This honey was really excellent. They had unusual combinations including lemon and even raspberry honeys. You can find their products at Holy Honey.
The Downey Greek Food Festival is held at the St. George Greek Orthodox Church . Keep up to date on their Facebook for all the news and dates for next year!
St. George Greek Orthodox Church
10830 Downey Avenue