In a nutshell: Intensely delicious, achingly authentic Greek food served deep in the heart of San Juan.
I’d driven past Greeka Kouzina several times in the past. Comfortably esconsced along P. Guevara, one might mistake this charming Greek restaurant in San Juan for an ancestral home, with its homey exterior and unassuming design. Do not be mistaken, though; Greeka Kouzina offers the kind of food that trumps most, if not all, Greek restaurants in Manila.
Sitting down to our meal less than an hour before the restaurant’s closing time, we weren’t optimistic about our chances for good food. After all, we reasoned, the closing hours are usually the most opportune time to dispose of food that wouldn’t last until the next day.
Suffice it to say that Greeka Kouzina surprised us, and ensured we would be returning regularly, despite its somewhat awkward location for us Quezon City dwellers.
We ordered a simple appetizer: hummus, which is tahini and finely mashed chickpeas, served with lightly toasted pita bread. Hummus is notorious for its relatively bland disposition; it is bound to taste the same regardless of where you order it. The revelation, however, was the toasted bread. Crispy on the outside, chewy in its center, it’s a nontraditional pita that went beyond complementing the hummus. It stole the show.
For our main course, my wife ordered a chicken souvlaki – grilled chicken breast on a skewer – while I ordered the bestselling beef souvlaki. Both meat skewers were sublime: moist, tender meats, flavorful and juicy, falling easily off their metal rods.
The souvlaki also came with its choice of side dish: Caths ordered a couscous salad that was, in her words, “very, very good.” It was so good that she felt the need to recreate it at home (and it was very good, too). I ordered their Greek salad, which also blew me away with the juicy freshness of the tomatoes and the tartness of the homemade vinaigrette.
We ate in rapturous silence, a testament to the quality of Greeka Kouzina’s cuisine. Most regional cuisine inspires some kind of reaction from diners, and Greek cuisine, admittedly, should inspire a raucous celebration of flavors and fellowship. That night, however, you wouldn’t hear a peep out of me or my missus; instead, you’d hear an “Mmmmm!” a “Wow!,” or a “Sarap!”
As I write this review, Cathy wants us to return tomorrow. You can bet as I drive her there, my mouth will be watering the entire way.
Greek Kouzina is located at 285 Units 4 & 5 P. Guevarra St. , 1500 San Juan, Philippines
Call 6245974 for inquiries or reservations.
Note: This is an unsolicited review. I did not receive any monetary or culinary compensation for this review.