Also mentioned: Takis Taverna - Amazing Greek food at reasonable prices.
1106 Davie Street, Vancouver
(Three doors down from Stepho’s)
Why do people submit themselves to the punishingly slow lineup at Stepho's Greek restaurant? Night after night, rain or shine, a line full of Vancouverites and tourists alike await eagerly for a tiny table at Stepho's on Davie Street, while dozens of other fine Greek restaurants in the busy West End area sit half empty. Or half full, depending on your view. One could speculate that it may be the cheap prices, the tasty Greek food served in record speed, the huge portions, or the pleasant service that entices the hungry, the poor, and the curious. My main reason is my sad financial situation and an addiction to their roast lamb.
Stepho's alcoholic beverages are competitively priced, most likely because one is in desperate need of a drink after waiting in line for anywhere up to an hour. A litre of the house wine is a paltry $15.00, as well as a modest list of other inexpensive wines priced under $30.00.
The top items on the menu are the garlic prawns, various souvlakis, the roast lamb, and vegetarian lasagna. The dozen prawns are served sizzling among garlic cloves and oil, with pita bread to soak up the pungent sauce ($9.99). All entrées are served with a huge serving of rice, Greek salad, lemon and herb-infused roast potato wedges and pita bread. The vegetarian lasagna is a skillet of buttery noodles cradled with various roasted vegetables, baked under a béchamel sauce ( small $5.99, large $8.99). The vegetarian lasagna is far better than the regular meat lasagna . The roast lamb was a gorgeous heap of hot tender meat, scrumptiously delicious, with a wonderful smokey flavour ($8.99). The chicken souvlaki was nice but a little dry ($7.99 small, $9.99 large). The kalamari entrée was even more enormous than the other dishes, the food piled so high that every time I went to spear a piece of kalamari, 2 or 3 pieces would come tumbling down. ($9.99).
If you can't wait in line and don't mind spending a bit more, head next door to Takis Tavern. The portions are slightly more conservative than Stepho's, but still more than ample for the average appetite. The menu is a little more sophisticated than the fare served at Stepho's, with wild salmon and various styles of lamb often on special for dinner. Busy through out the night, Takis usually has no problem seating smaller parties promptly, in a more relaxed environment than Stepho's.
The pita bread at Takis is served hot and sliced, with butter kissing the grilled tops, wrapped in a thick white linen bread basket to keep warm. The tender calamari dinner is nicely seasoned, flawlessly cooked, and perfectly pepped up with a generous side of zesty tzatziki ($13.99) The Greek salad at Takis is of stellar quality, with sweet, ripe tomatoes, crisp, chilled cucumbers, fresh, firm black olives, and a liberal sprinkling of smooth feta cheese. No complaints for the chicken souvlaki; the chicken skewers were tender, moist and marinated with flavour and tasting a tiny bit of the barbeque ($13.99).
Both locations are easy to find, two blocks away from Davie and Burrard
Reviewed by: Christine G. Louie
Last reviewed: April 30th, 2006