RIYADH: In celebration of Greek Independence Day on March 25, we’ve rounded up some of Saudi Arabia’s go-to spots for delicious Greek dishes.
Combining modern and traditional Greek dishes, Taverna embodies the rich and diverse flavors of Greece. With a wide-ranging menu, there’s something for everyone to enjoy.
In 2020, the restaurant received the Authentic Taste of Greece 2020 Gold Award by the worldwide organization Greek Taste Beyond Borders.
Award-winning chef Alex Samoilis, a native of Corfu, the small island off the northwest coast of Greece, has experience working in multiple Michelin-starred restaurants across Greece and Europe and brings the freshest ingredients to life in his dishes. While guests enjoy their meals, they can also watch a live traditional Greek dance performed by the restaurant staff.
What to try: Restaurant-goers looking for a light appetizer must try the baked feta, an oven-baked blend of cheese, peppers, onions and fresh tomatoes.
The arnaki, a slow-cooked lamb shank laid over a smoked eggplant puree and mint sauce, is definitely a main dish to try when visiting Taverna.
Located in Al-Faisaliah tower, Meraki offers a modern take on Greece’s freshest regional ingredients using butter from Crete, the freshest tomatoes from Santorini, and bottarga — also known as fish roe — from Mesologgi.
The restaurant exudes warmth and radiance, with floor-to-ceiling windows, an open patio and countertop seating where guests can enjoy watching Executive Chef Athinagoras Kostakos and the team prepare their food.
Chef Kostakos only uses the freshest ingredients, changing the mezze menu seasonally.
What to try: A must-try for pasta lovers is the Pastitsio, a thin ribbon of al-dente paccheri pasta served with tender Wagyu beef ragu and a graviera cream sauce covered in thin slices of truffle.
OKTO is a contemporary take on traditional Greece cuisine in the city of Riyadh. The menu has various options, with something to suit every taste.
Each dish is presented as a work of art, with intricate layering and design. The outdoor seating and live music create an unforgettable experience for guests. Known for their welcoming staff, OKTO’s chefs and waiters always ensure a pleasant and hospitable experience to any visitor.
What to try: A modern take on eggplant is OKTO’s crispy and lightly salted eggplant chips. These round snacks are perfect as a light appetizer before jumping into the main course.
The beef gyros come highly recommended by all the restaurant’s visitors. The grilled beef, tzatziki sauce, tomatoes and pickled onions are all served alongside matchstick fries.
A cozy little escape to Greece in Jeddah, Souvlaki has a wide variety of delicious dishes from the Aegean Islands. Souvlaki prides itself on providing authentic fare, free of other influences or adaptations.
Although the restaurant is small, the ambiance, interior design and traditional Greek music offer guests a charming dining experience.
It is difficult to narrow down the top dishes, but many will agree that some of the best choices are the meat and chicken souvlaki and the gyros, with grilled beef, homemade tzatziki sauce, pickled onions and tomatoes, all wrapped in freshly grilled pita bread.
What to try: Anyone with a sweet tooth has to try the simple but decadent basbousa from Souvlaki — a warm cup of sweet cake topped with a scoop of vanilla ice cream and drizzled caramel.
CC’s Souvlaki, Riyadh
Not to be mistaken for Souvlaki in Jeddah, Riyadh-based CC Souvlaki is famous for its fusion of traditional and simple Greek flavors and its generous use of spices and herbs — wild thyme, rosemary, onions, garlic, mastic and fresh mint.
With its pink and green florals and bougainvillea-covered ceiling, CC Souvlaki immediately transports its visitors to Greece. If you are looking for an Instagram-worthy restaurant, CC Souvlaki is definitely the place to go.
What to try: Although the menu is limited, it does have a few flavor-packed dishes such as the mousaka, a layered creamy dish that consists of potato, seasoned ground beef and organic eggplant coated in a creamy bechamel and parmesan sauce.
Another popular main dish is the chicken souvlaki, a platter of sizzling grilled chicken served with a tossed salad, pita bread, French fries and homemade tzatziki sauce.
Mykonos Restaurant, Jeddah
Mykonos Restaurant in Jeddah offers a modern take on traditional Greek dishes.
What to try: Mykonos is known for its Dio Tyria Cheese Platter — sesame-coated feta cheese slices, covered with a citrus and saffron honey glaze and served alongside perfectly grilled halloumi.
The Pantazaria Beetroot Salad, with bright beetroot slices in a creamy yogurt and pistachio sauce, sprinkled with black sesame and garnished with fresh greens, is another excellent choice.