Riyadh: To celebrate Greek Independence Day on March 25th, we’ve rounded up some of Saudi Arabia’s hangouts for delicious Greek dishes.
The taverna combines modern and traditional Greek dishes and embodies the rich and varied flavors of Greece. With an extensive menu, there is something for everyone.
In 2020 the restaurant received the Gold Award Authentic Taste of Greece 2020 from the global organization Greek Taste Beyond Borders.
The award-winning chef Alex Samoilis comes from Corfu, the small island off the north-west coast of Greece. He has experience in several Michelin-starred restaurants in Greece and Europe and brings the freshest ingredients to life in his dishes. While guests are enjoying their meals, they can also watch a traditional live Greek dance performed by the restaurant staff.
What to Try: Restaurant-goers looking for a light starter must try the baked feta, an oven-baked mix of cheese, peppers, onions and fresh tomatoes.
The arnaki, a slow-cooked leg of lamb topped with smoked eggplant puree and mint sauce, is definitely a main course to try when visiting the tavern.
Located in the Al-Faisaliah Tower, Meraki offers a modern take on the freshest local ingredients from Greece with butter from Crete, the freshest tomatoes from Santorini and Bottarga – also known as fish roe – from Mesologgi.
The restaurant exudes warmth and charisma, with floor-to-ceiling windows, an open terrace and countertop seating where guests can watch Chef Athinagoras Kostakos and the team prepare their food.
Chef Kostakos uses only the freshest ingredients and changes the mezze menu seasonally.
What you should try: A must 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 coated with thin slices of truffle.
Instagram: @ okto.sa.
OKTO is a contemporary take on traditional Greek cuisine in the city of Riyadh. The menu offers different options to suit all tastes.
Each dish is presented as a work of art with elaborate layering and design. The outdoor seating and live music create a memorable experience for guests. OKTO’s chefs and waiters are known for their friendly staff and ensure a pleasant and hospitable experience for every visitor.
What you should try: A modern variant of eggplant are the crispy and lightly salted eggplant chips from OKTO. These round snacks are perfect as a light starter before jumping into the main course.
The beef gyros are highly recommended by all visitors to the restaurant. The grilled beef, tzatziki sauce, tomatoes and pickled onions are served with matchstick fries.
Instagram: @ Souvlaki.sa
Souvlaki is a cozy little Greek escape in Jeddah and offers a wide variety of delicious dishes from the Aegean Islands. Souvlaki prides itself on offering authentic dishes that are free from other influences or adjustments.
Although the restaurant is small, the ambience, interior design and traditional Greek music provide guests with a charming dining experience.
It’s difficult to narrow down the main courses, but many will agree that some of the best options are the meat and chicken souvlaki and the gyros with grilled beef, homemade tzatziki sauce, pickled onions, and tomatoes, all wrapped in freshly grilled flatbread are .
What to Try: Those with a sweet tooth must try Souvlaki’s simple but decadent Basbousa – a warm cup of sweet cake with a scoop of vanilla ice cream and drizzled caramel.
CCs Souvlaki, Riyadh
The riad-based CC Souvlaki is not to be confused with Souvlaki in Jeddah. It is famous for its amalgamation of traditional and simple Greek flavors and its generous use of spices and herbs – wild thyme, rosemary, onion, garlic, mastic, and fresh mint.
With its pink and green flowers and the blanket covered with bougainvillea, 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: Though the menu is limited, there are some flavourful dishes like the mousaka, a creamy layered dish made from potatoes, seasoned ground beef, and organic eggplant topped with a creamy bechamel and parmesan sauce.
Another popular main course is the Chicken Souvlaki, a platter of crispy grilled chicken served with a tossed salad, flatbread, french fries and homemade tzatziki sauce.
Mykonos Restaurant, Jeddah
Instagram: @ mykonos.sa
Jeddah’s Mykonos Restaurant offers a modern take on traditional Greek dishes.
What to Try: Mykonos is known for its Dio Tyria cheese platter – slices of sesame-coated feta cheese covered with a glaze of citrus and saffron honey and served alongside perfectly grilled halloumi.
Another excellent choice is the Pantazaria beetroot salad with light beetroot slices in a creamy yogurt and pistachio sauce, sprinkled with black sesame seeds and garnished with fresh greens.