Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Cristos Taverna (Burnaby BC)

We first discovered Cristos when we first moved to the area over a year and a half ago. I remember being so tired from unpacking our belongings and going out to eat with M. Greek food fit the bill as it would be filling, hearty, and comforting. The bonus was that I'd be able to pack some leftovers home for the next days' lunch!

We've been a number of times since then, when we craved some lamb shank, lamb ribs, moussaka, calamari, or some saganaki. On this documented visit, we were debating between the different platters for two. After consulting with the waitress, who said our choice was "quite large" (- after looking at me!), we sat back and enjoyed the cozy atmosphere. It is typical of Greek restaurants, with tealights, hanging plants, cushions and hung tapestry.

Our saganaki came first - it is a simple dish of pan fried Greek cheese, which is finished at the table by the server who squeezes fresh lemon juice onto the still-sizzling cheese. Traditionally, it is made with Kefalotiri, although a Canadian version is available and is just called "Saganaki" cheese. If you ever make saganaki at home, the authentic stuff is a couple bucks more, but the difference is huge. Splurge for the real stuff!

The saganaki was served with some pita and was perfect - chewy yet gooey, salty cheese flavour perked up by the fresh lemon juice. Love it!

The platter for two included a large Greek salad, tzatziki, pita, meat dolmathes, calamari, chicken souvlaki, roast lamb, rice, and potato. M really enjoyed the lamb (as he always does) and I did as well. It was not gamey; instead, there was a nice roast flavour that went well with the tzatziki and rice. For a change, I enjoyed the chicken souvlaki. I tend to order lamb, lamb ribs, or moussaka at Greek restaurants because I have always found souvlaki to be dry and tasteless. That was not the case here! The chicken was flavourful without being dry.

The calamari, while tender, were an unfortunate miss. Since most of the food came on one platter, the calamari wound up mostly soggy. It was properly cooked, but it would be been extremely beneficial to have it in a separate dish. The dolmathes - small rice and meat packets bundled in edible grape leaves - were tender and well seasoned.

We like Cristos - it holds a kind of nostalgic place in our hearts. And it seems the neighbourhood has spoken; the place was packed on a Tuesday night! It goes to show that when good food and friendly service meet, a successful restaurant results.

Cristos Taverna

4624 Hastings St
Burnaby BC
P: 604-299-0008

Cristos Greek Taverna on Urbanspoon

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