After reading the Takis reviews, almost every one bashes Stephos in comparison. Being diehard Stephos fans for many years we ventured out last night to Takis and got a table for two by the window. The restaurant was full and had the occasional brief line-up. We started with the mussels. At $9.50, the serving size was about 2/3 of Stephos but the preparation was basically the same (garlic, butter, tomato, onion & mussel broth). Although, if you like the bite that hot chili peppers provides, Stephos is the way to go. Also, the mussels themselves were small and dry, not the big plump variety one occasionally gets at some restaurants; however, Stephos is also guilty of serving mussels of the small variety... not sure if it's a seasonal thing or supplier issue.
At $13.50 the specialty half-chicken wasn't so special... reminiscent of the Safeway lemon-herbed whole cooked chickens you get for $7.99. The greek salad was passable, although the tomatoes were not as fresh as they could have been... at Stephos it is rare not to find firm ripe tomatoes in their salads. The rice was not nearly as flavorful and didn't have the seasoning and nice perfectly cooked texture that Stephos rice has. Roasted potatoes were okay, although a tad mushy and without the distinctive mustard zing of the Stephos version. The (small) lamb souvlaki came with the same sides and at $9.95 (about $1-$2 more than Stephos) was 3/4 the serving size. Also, pita bread does not accompany the main dishes but can be ordered for a few bucks more.
The service was quite good considering that the restaurant was full the entire time we were there and there appeared to be only two servers and one busser. Our water glasses were constantly full; only 15 minutes from ordering to receiving food and we were asked if things were okay a few times.
Overall, not disappointed for $40, but would wait 45 minutes for a table at Stephos and a $30 bill before venturing to Takis Taverna as an alternative.