Candia Taverna Greco-Roman Cuisine
4510 West 10th Avenue
Tel: (604) 228 9512
Hours: 7 days a week, 4pm to midnight
Few ethnic cuisines have such a see-saw effect on me between love and hate as Greek food does. The reason for this revolves around the use of certain ingredients or cooking methods for which I have a strong fondness for: cheese, grilled meats and seafood, yogurt, garlic, lemon, potatoes. And on the other hand, my dislike for anything that tastes like licorice such as ouzo and fennel, and the generous use of things such as mint, grapevine leaves, olives and eggplant that turns me off from many dishes in Greek cuisine. Over the years, I also grown to enjoy lamb meat which is a popular protein, though this tends to heavily depend on the quality and how well its cooked.
My impressions of the Lamb Souvlaki at Candia Taverna was just so-so. The pieces were generous in the large serving, though I felt they were under-seasoned, overcooked and dry. The accompanying rice was really bland, and the grilled vegetables also very ordinary. The simplicity that I usually associate with Greek food was there, but the bold, bright, over-the-top flavors were not. I know there are better versions of this in Vancouver, and will aim to seek them out.
As a second dish, we had the Greek Pizza, as recommended to us by our server. This was a home run! A full combination of toppings, even those dreaded olives that I usually pick off (I’ve learned when they are cooked, the taste does not bother me as much). The crust was crispy but not overly so nor burnt, and the base of the pie had a still soft consistency that would fold nicely when lifted from the plate. The spread of the toppings was generous, as peeling off the layers of cheese revealed, you could see each of the ingredients on every single slice. I had not thought of a Greek restaurant as being so skilled at serving up pizza, but this place certainly changed my mind.
For atmosphere, Candia Taverna is very homey, rustic and the lighting is set quite low. The spacing between tables is narrow, making for a cozy setup, especially when the room is full, as it was on this weekday evening. Larger groups should probably phone ahead and reserve, as there are only a few tables that can really accommodate parties of over six. Service was friendly and not obtrusive. I could sense that they have a decent delivery business for their pizzas, judging from the phone calls and staff chatter I could hear while dining. Based on my experience, the callers know what’s really good on the menu.