If you long for the good ol’ days where people dressed up to eat out, Dio Deka is calling your name.
The last restaurant (we think) in Silicon Valley that still requires formal dress, Dio Deka in Los Gatos looks intimidating with a business-like atmosphere. The staff dresses impeccably, with men sporting wearing suits, ties, and golden rings, and women in elegant black dresses.
Dio Deka’s owners don’t want the formal dress code to throw you off: the 2011–2012 Michelin-starred restaurant inside Hotel Los Gatos aims for a cozy familiarity. The restaurant’s five Greek owners all do shifts serving in the dining room. Dim lighting, open kitchen viewing, and padded chairs and booths completes the effect.
“We have this word in Greek — filoxenia, which means to make a stranger your friend,” says Vagelis Papazisis, one of the partners who started Dio Deka (with financial backing from former Verisign CEO Stratton Sclavos). “It comes from our main partner, who wanted to make this place feel like an extension of his living room. So we tell our servers to be personable, human first, and the rest falls into place.”
Locating inside a hotel initially worked against Dio Deka, but over time the restaurant built a loyal following through word of mouth.
Executive chef William Roberts did stints with Michael Mina in San Francisco before taking over the kitchen at Mayfield Bakery and Cafe in Palo Alto, and as executive sous chef at the Village Pub in Woodside. True to those menus, Dio Deka focuses on Chicago-sourced prime steaks and lamb chops, grilled over mesquite charcoal (from $56 up to $80 for the bone-in ribeye).
Meticulousness in the kitchen is part of the experience.
“Greek cuisine is not a simple cuisine,” says Nikos Kalouris, another partner of Dio Deka. “It takes time and passion, and that’s why the ingredients are so important. To make beans, we cook them overnight, and cod can take up to 48 hours. Everything is much more involved.”
Meat may be the centerpiece but the overall menu is unmistakably Mediterranean.
“Even though we get food from all over, we like to still remain Greek. We want to instill that personality here,” Papazisis says.
Non-steak favorites include moussaka and a grilled/stewed octopus appetizer. The ample wine list includes plenty of bottles $60 and under, including Greek labels of course.