Syrtaki Greek Island Restaurant & Pub
16313 – 111 Avenue
It has been almost a decade since I was last in Greece, but those memories still resonate in my mind when I wish for a break from the daily grind.
There are a plethora of Greek restaurants in Edmonton, but my favorite destination is Syrtaki. Named after a Greek folk dance, this restaurant features an attached pub, good sized restaurant, and a private loft available for parties. The painted murals decorating the interior are not the same as the real views of the Aegean sea, but with enough retsina – I might be able to pretend it’s real.
We started with an order of grilled pita and a trio of dips. Tsatziki (a refreshing combination of yogurt, cucumbers, garlic and dill) – Hommus (a bold blend of chick peas, tahini, olive oil and garlic) – and my favorite Tarama (red caviar and bread paté). These can be ordered individually or in a combination as shown – but I recommend the trio as they all taste great, each with its own unique flavour.
The Saganaki is consistently well executed at this restaurant. Kefalotiri (a salty, hard, sheep milk cheese) is fried, then flambéed in brandy at the table, and doused with fresh lemon juice. The flair is just for show, but the crisp outer texture, combined with the softened salty interior and the citrus from the lemon are absolutely fantastic. C’mon – we’re talking about fried cheese, how can you go wrong!
Souvlaki is probably the most common dish to grab hold in N.American culture. Two chicken or lamb kebabs, grilled with a marinade of lemon and rosemary – served with rice, vegetables and lemon roasted potatoes. The potatoes were excellent, chicken was nicely grilled and tender, veg was good even with the lemon/dill sauce. The weakest part of the dish was the sauce over the rice – which tasted fine, but was a little gluey.
Roast Rack of Lamb was cooked perfectly to the requested medium rare, and accompanying sides match the notes above. This is a large portion, and comes with the largest sticker price of $30.
Overall, I have found the food is consistently well done at this establishment. Much quieter than the Greek offerings on Whyte, and food quality is much higher than what I’ve experienced at the reality-showcased restaurants.