Occupation: Start-up Co-Founder
Location: Mountain View
Favorite Restaurant: Evvia Estiatorio
Reviewed Evvia Estiatorio: Tuesday, January 7, 2014
The Silicon Valley is the mecca of cheap eats, and spending $100 to $150 for dinner for two on Greek food— known for its affordability and simplicity—seemed outrageous. Only reluctantly I jumped at the opportunity, and boy… Am I glad that I did! Ever since my first visit seven years ago, we have been returning to Evvia numerous times.
We were treated to a delicious three course dinner. We started with Squash & Pear -- wood oven roasted squash, pear, manouri and aged balsamic vinegar ($8.75). The dish was better than expected, a sweetness and tartness of a cooked pear gave the dish amazing bright flavor. The second starter was the traditional Grilled Octopus sprinkled with lemon, oregano and a touch of fresh olive oil ($13.75). When grilled, octopus often tends to be rubbery and chewy even at the best restaurants in the City, but not at Evvia. The dish danced with bright flavors while tenderness of the charcoaled edges of the octopus immediately brought my palate alive.
Next came the entrees. Since Evvia’s specialty is lamb, we moved onto the Kokinisto me Manestra - lamb shank braised in aromatic spices with orzo & myzithra cheese ($30). Cooked to perfection, the meat was almost falling off the bone and soft, sweet, fragrant, and slightly smoky. My wife ordered Psari Psito (also known as Grilled Branzini or more universally as European sea bass), and I could not help myself but to get a few bites from her plate as well. The fish served with lemon-oregano vinaigrette was delicate, moist and lemony.
Only one word could describe our dessert: scrumptious. We shared Galaktoboureko ($8.25), in which Evvia fused traditional Greek pastry with American flavors. Perfectly cooked two cannoli-shaped pastries boasted a slightly crispy exterior with light and fluffy interior made of creamy vanilla-bean semolina custard
Even after so many years dining and the considerably high price point of $120 per a couple, Evvia continues to surprise me with its casual and no-nonsense attitude, and the dishes that are vibrant, simple, and earthy, yet so deliciously luscious.
Occupation: Payments Product Manager
Location: San Francisco
Favorite Restaurant: Pläj Restaurant
Reviewed Evvia Estiatorio: Thursday, December 12, 2013
An evening at Evvia is reminiscent of a family celebration. The atmosphere is at once festive and cozy, with large parties gathered along long tables, smaller groups filling in the blanks, and a lively din hovering above that is miraculously anything but intrusive. Throw in lights strung around floor-to-ceiling pillars and swap out crazy Uncle Stavros for budding Sand Hill VCs, and you have the makings of what can best be described as a “Big Phat Greek Family Dinner.”
Warmth is a common theme throughout the Evvia experience. From the time we were greeted at the door, to our dialogue with the wait staff, and even when we found a discrepancy on the bill – everything was tended to with a genuine caring touch.
Evvia’s menu is optimized for sharing and sampling, with as many appetizer/side dishes as mains. Vegetarians are also likely to love this place, as are vegans, given the variety of plant and lentil-based offerings.
Standout dishes include the Saganaki, a pan-fried cheese served with a beautiful little sachet of lemon, along with a little oregano to complement the saltiness of the cheese. Whoa - I could eat this every day…maybe even twice on Sundays!
The lamb meatballs were succulent and grilled to perfection. Not a trace of oil anywhere on the place. Our only suggestion is to serve it with just a little more of the accompanying tomato sauce. The Solomos: admittedly, I was a little skeptical of combining tomato ouzo with salmon, but the combination turned out to be great. The potato puree was just lemony enough, not at all dense, and a wonderful complement to the dish. On the flip side, the Kolokithokeftethes (zucchini cakes) were a bit of a miss. While they were nicely browned on the outside, the cake itself was too bland and too moist as well.
From the knowledgeable and accommodating staff, to the variety of small and large plates, to the vibrant atmosphere…overall, Evvia was a truly delightful experience.
Occupation: Winemaker and Project Director
Location: San Francisco
Favorite Restaurant: Bacon Bacon Food Truck
Reviewed Evvia Estiatorio: Saturday, December 7, 2013
Upon entering the restaurant you immediately feel comfortable and you know you are about to be taken care of. From the crackling fireplace to the cushy seats, this is a place you know you are going to have a great meal. The knowledgeable and friendly staff adds to this feeling from the very first “hello.”
Evvia is a temple to Greek food and spices. We started out with an amazing spread of appetizers. Of the 5 different we tried, the noteworthy ones were the Saghanaki, a pan fried cheese that you drizzle with lemon, and the Marithes Tiganites, crispy fried smelts in a huge portion size that you just can’t stop popping in your mouth.
Being a Greek restaurant, you know the lamb options have to be good, and believe me, they were. I tried both the lamb chop and the lamb shank. The lamb chop was covered in exotic Greek spices and cooked to perfection in their mesquite wood-fired oven. The lamb shank was slow roasted with cumin, all spice, cinnamon, and other aromatic spices, and falling off the bone. Served on a bed of orzo and shaved cheese, this was a course meant for the record books. The perfect drinking complement to both of these rich lamb dishes was the Greek wine I had, Xinomavro. This wine is similar to a pinot noir, but with much stronger tannins, which balanced out nicely with the meal.
To end the meal, we finished off with two delicious desserts and coffee. The Sokolatina is a rich molten chocolate cake that must be eaten with the accompanying sour cherry ice cream. The bitterness and sour flavors with a little sweet are perfect together. The Galaktoboureko, vanilla custard wrapped in sweet phyllo, was so good and luscious I almost ordered more!
A little on the pricey side, but well worth it. Evvia is definitely on my short list of restaurants I will eat at again when I find myself in Palo Alto.