Especially when travelling to the country itself is proving a hassle
Rumour has it that Athens is the new Berlin. But whatever your tolerance of techno, now is not the time to ponder such things: Greece (along with Germany for that matter) is on the UK government’s Amber List. This is a shame because it is an excellent holiday destination – ‘new Berlin’ or not. But what’s so great about it? Well, the weather for one, but more importantly, the food. Taramasalata, tzatziki, moussaka, dolmades and baklava are just some of the Greek dishes that we adore. And since we can’t currently go to the country itself with ease, we’re devouring them in the capital instead. Here are the best Greek restaurants in London.
Given the abundance of pita and dips and grilled meat (not to mention the final boss: baklava), it’s easy to be gluttonous at your average Greek restaurant. Frankly, that’s why we love them. They provide an opportunity to live and dine with the abandon usually reserved for being in Greece itself. That said, sometimes we just want something a bit more refined. And, offering dishes plated so beautifully that they might as well be edible art objects, Notting Hill’s Mazi is exactly where we go to get it. Since Mazi means ‘together’ in Greek, all food served here is designed to be shared by the whole table. We love the cod roe mousse tarama and the pork belly gyro tacos in particular.
ADDRESS: 12-14 HILLGATE STREET, LONDON W8 7SR
2. SUZI TROS
If you’re seeking a Greek restaurant that’s as refined as it is fun, we recommend Suzi Tros. The refinement, of course, is something that runs in the family: it’s Mazi’s younger sister. And fun is always had at a cocktail bar – especially when drinks named things like ‘Summer in Hydra’ (ouzo, cucumber, honey, mint) and ‘Coco Mykonos’ (Malibu, mastiha, pineapple, coconut cream) deliberately remind you of being on holiday. For food, we suggest ordering the grilled wild sea bass and the Greek coffee profiteroles with dark chocolate ganache.
ADDRESS: 18 Hillgate Street, London W8 7SR
Fortunately – since the Central, Circle and District lines are not among our favourites – Notting Hill isn’t the only place in London to eat excellent Greek food. Based in Marylebone, Opso is our preferred destination for a Greek brunch. When it comes to deciding what to order, we oscillate between kayanas (scrambled eggs, mature feta, wilted cherry tomatoes and sourdough toast) and open lamb pitta (roasted lamb shoulder, cumin yoghurt, smoked tomato jam, egga, pitta). It’s even harder to choose at the lunch and dinner sittings, however.
ADDRESS: 10 Paddington St, London, W1U 5QL
4. SOUVLAKI STREET
So, Souvlaki Street is not a Greek restaurant as such, but since souvlaki is among one of the most popular Greek foods on the planet, we believe it deserves a place here. Besides, it’s not as if Souvlaki Street doesn’t have a permanent home in Pop Brixton. Containing only free range and locally sourced meat served in homemade pita with vine tomatoes, red onion, fresh parsley, Cretan oregano, sweet paprika, skin-on fries and either tzatziki or souvlaki sauce, their wraps are the ultimate comfort food (although the inevitable mess is somewhat of a liability).
ADDRESS: Pop Brixton
While it’s actually a restaurant with Eastern Mediterranean influences as opposed to a strictly Greek one, what’s really Greek about Ampéli is its wine list – exclusively so in fact. Once that’s been ummed and ahhed at, the same must of course be done with the food menu. Delicately split into distinct sections (snacks, vegetable plates, fish plates, meat plates, sweet plates), we suggest ordering something from each one for a good time. As that might just be pure greed talking, our recommendation for a slightly more refined order involves the salt cod croquettes and the lamb kofte scotch egg. The wine we will always drink to near excess, however.
ADDRESS: 18 Charlotte Street, London, W1T 2LZ