Greek Street Cafe
Jacksonville, FL 32224 My friend and fellow food blogger who writes the Snack and Jill has been after me for weeks to try this spot. I trust her choices so as soon as there was an opening I made my way over, and a happy event it was. Run by a sister and brother team, long time resident Peter and his sister Eva, have brought their talents to play and in doing so filled the void by bringing authentic Greek cuisine to the area. A bright spot that seats about 60, well appointed with a modern look. I have been fortunate and have traveled to Greece so I was familiar with many of the dishes and saw several of my favorites listed, one of them being the Grilled Octopus. Not abundant here in Jacksonville I knew that was to be my main dish. I looked over to see how to begin my feast and decided on the Taverna Special, a combination platter of the best Greek treats, the diner gets to choose four choices from the Meze menu. I selected Tzatziki, a homemade yogurt and cucumber dish, Melizanosalata, smokey roasted eggplant with diced tomato and red onion, Dolmades, stuffed grape leaves, and the Keftedes, the traditional Greek meatballs, served with warm slices of fresh Pita. I was gleeful when the platter arrived. This is truly a 2 person dish, but I was prepared to sample each choice and take the remaining home. For any reader who has traveled to Greece or had an opportunity to taste “real” Greek yogurt it has nothing to do with what is sold in your local supermarket. The Tzatziki was so rich, smooth, tart all at the same time, a slight drizzle of high quality olive oil completed the circle. Meatballs, the perfect balance of meat to herbs, moist and tender, Melizanosalata, smokey and sweet blended well with the tomato taste, Dolmades, better than I have ever tasted even in my travels. The warm Pita made a perfect pillow for the dips. When time came for my main, I ordered Octopus only to be told it was not ready. Peter shared with me that it sells out almost as quick as it is ready, but would be available the next day at lunch time. Crushed!!! I moved past it I had a plan. I went with the Pork Platter, two skewers of lean pork marinated in the classic Greek blend of lemon, olive oil and seasoning then charred, served over yellow rice with a small side salad and warm pita. Again this platter was large enough for two people. I forgot about the missing Octopus and delighted in what was in front of me. Meat warm and tender, rice flavorful and salad like a palate cleanser, tossed in the house made dressing. I had to pass on dessert, but my plan was to return tomorrow and dine on the Octopus only, so I would indulge myself then. So here is the remainder of the review. Next day it was impossible for me to get away for lunch. I called Peter and identified myself as the woman who swooned over the Octopus and would he please make me an order to go and I would drive out and pick it up. And that is exactaly what I did, threw the dog in the car and off I went,picked up the Octopus and drove home, well almost, I had to peek at it while stopped in traffic, and yes you know where I am going, out comes a tentacle and into my mouth. I even shared a small bit of it with the dog. For sure there are not enough good things I can tell you about this restaurant. Just go try for yourself. If you have never tried Greek food, this is the spot you want to start, and if you have eaten it, this is the place you will continue to return to for the authenticity of the dishes. I know this will become a return to spot for me and my friends.