Hubby decided he was in the mood for Greek food (which is an unusual thing for him), so I took the opportunity to visit a new place. When I have posted about Greek food in the past, several people have recommended Greek Islands, so we were happy to try something new.
The bright blue building on South Meridian is cute, and the inside, while I am pretty sure hasn’t changed since the restaurant opened in 1987, was welcoming—the staff was all very friendly as well. I was impressed to see the place pretty full even at a fairly early hour.
Hubby has a think for saganaki ($7.50)(“who doesn’t like flaming fried cheese?”) so we agreed on that as one of our starters. We also ordered the spanakotiropita ($7.95). They brought the saganaki out quickly—and if you haven’t had it, it is a soft cheese that is fried with crispy edges and then set on fire tableside. After the fire is put out, they squeeze some lemon on it and serve it. It is melty and hot, with nice crispy edges, and I like the lemon to give it a little zing. They served it with pita, which was just ok—it wasn’t warm or particularly noteworthy.
The spanakotiropita, or spinach pies, were very good. They were quite large and there were four of them—I liked the way they were made as individual pies. I have a serious thing for phyllo dough so I almost always get these in a Greek place. These had a lot of feta, and not as much of the cooked spinach mix—we both wished for just a little bit more spinach, but we thoroughly enjoyed them. The only thing I would change was that I would love some pickled onions or olives to go with them, just to give it a little acid (Canal Bistro got me on this kick because they serve theirs this way).
We had decided to split an entrée because we had read that the portions were quite large, and judging from the appetizers, we were agreeing with that sentiment. The dinner came with a house Greek salad and we went ahead and ordered another one so we could both have one. The salad was very good. The lettuce was just iceberg, and there were cucumbers, tomatoes, feta and a kalamata olive. Right away I asked for a few extra olives because I am also an olive addict. Our server happily brought me a generous little bowl. The Greek vinaigrette on the salad was really good—very tangy. Oh yeah, and they brought sliced warm bread with butter with the salad and I liked this a lot better than the pita. It was just sliced soft baguette, but it was tasty.
We had a hard time agreeing on a dinner to share, and then we noticed the Kreatopita ($14.95), which neither of us had had before, and was wrapped in phyllo, so I was sold. It was basically their version of a meat pie—it was mainly spiced ground meat that was wrapped in the crispy thin phyllo crust and then topped with a layer of tomato sauce and cheese. There was supposed to be feta on the inside as well but I didn’t really get much feta flavor (or see any). The tomato sauce wasn’t overdone and there was cheese flavor from the grated cheese on top. We actually really enjoyed this dish (and as it turned out, it wasn’t one of the bigger ones, but it was still plenty for us). I had read a lot of people talking about the potatoes served as a side here, so I was anxious to try them. They are wedges that taste like they have been cooked in chicken stock and then heavily seasoned on the outside with herbs. They must be roasted because certain parts had a delicious crisp texture. That was my favorite part—hubby’s potato wasn’t as crispy and wasn’t as good. The green beans cooked in tomato sauce and the rice pilaf I could take a pass on. Honestly, have you ever met a rice pilaf that was really good?
All in all, we enjoyed our meal and ourselves. The food was being made in house and it tasted like it. There are bursts of flames going off everywhere throughout the meal, which adds to the drama. There was a belly dancer that started toward the end of the meal—honestly I don’t really get into this sort of thing and we sort of slipped out quietly when she started dancing, but I did notice others getting into it. But for a reasonably priced (and large) meal, this is a good spot downtown.
906 S. Meridian Street