image credit: Amphora

The bright, vivid flavors of the authentic Greek cuisine have the ability to transport us to the beautiful island destination of Santorini or the ancient historical gem of Athens.

Greek-American restaurants serving up obligatory plates of Greek salad and baklava are common throughout the region, but genuine Greek eateries offering a full range of classics are much less prolific.

Despite its compact size and unpresuming location inside a Derry strip mall, Amphora has garnered a local following for its flavorful Greek eats, welcoming ambience and support of the local community. Owner Peter Tsoupelis opened Amphora nine years ago with the intention of sharing his Greek heritage with the town. Setting up shop in Derry allowed him to cut back on his time spent commuting and more time with his five-year old son.

The name “Amphora” is derived from the two-handled vase of the same name that made many appearances in classical Greek art.

Classic Greek dishes permeate the menu, although Tsoupelis also enjoys approaching Greek cuisine through a modern lens by incorporating other flavors and techniques.

“I like to say ‘Greek with a modern twist.’ Most of the recipes come from my father – himself a successful restaurateur and my inspiration – and my mother – the best cook I ever knew,” said Tsoupelis.

Appetizers include a selection of homemade spreads such as Tzatziki, a Greek yogurt-based dip with cucumber, garlic and olive oil, and Kopanisti, a creamy feta dip mixed with peppers and olive oil. Other popular choices include fried calamari dusted with house seasoning and served with chipotle aioli and warm cubes of freshly fried feta cheese.

For a budget-friendly but ultra-flavorful meal, opt for a souvlaki sandwich filled with lamb, beef, pork or chicken, fresh vegetables and yogurt sauce. Amphora also offers authentic Greek village salads, known as “Horiatiki.” This is a salad that forgoes the greenery and instead consists of chunks of cucumber, tomato, roasted red peppers, artichokes, solonika peppers and cubes of feta, all tossed in a zesty homemade dressing that’s available to purchase. The bottles can also be brought back and re-filled.

Heartier dishes include fork-tender braised lamb shank with lemon-oregano potatoes and Moussaka, a traditional Greek casserole featuring layers of ground beef and eggplant blanketed in bechamel cream sauce. For something completely original, try the Psari-sto-filo, an original dish created by Tsoupelis’ mother consisting of fresh cod wrapped in filo pastry with a creamy white wine and mushroom sauce.

Desserts are no afterthought here. The popular baklava cheesecake is an over-the-top synchronization of two popular desserts, blending walnuts, honey and cheesecake onto a filo crust. For something as delicious as it is hard to pronounce, the galaktoboureko is a traditional Greek delicacy featuring vanilla custard that’s enrobed in filo and doused in honey.

The small, cheery dining room is decked out in Greek artifacts and artwork, making it an excellent spot for a casual night out.

“I didn’t want a Greek restaurant. I wanted a restaurant that you could find in Greece,” said Tsoupelis.

Amphora also does a strong takeout business and online ordering was recently adapted, making the process even quicker.

The team at Amphora values making a positive impact on the community. Over the years, they have worked with numerous organizations such as Community Caregivers of Greater Derry and the American Cancer Society. Giving back is a significant piece of the mission at Amphora.

Greek food blends bold flavors, healthy ingredients and regionality in a way that cannot be imitated. Come taste the real deal at Amphora. Find them in the Hood Commons Shopping Plaza in Derry, NH.

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