Tucked away in the small Street 231 in Maadi, new restaurant The Greek serves up authentic Greek cuisine to a fast growing group of satisfied customers. With a menu featuring classic appetisers, salads, sandwiches and grilled meat, chicken and fish, a tasteful decor and friendly service, The Greek is set for success.
The restaurant is a joint venture of Greek chef John Benakis, Julian Mariotti and Sara George. Both Benakis and Mariotti are involved in the daily operations and have been hands-on since day one. “John’s family has lived in Egypt for generations and I grew up here,” said Mariotti, who is of British and Italian descent. “John is a chef and this is my first personal experience in the restaurant business,” he added, explaining he has been surrounded by the business, with a grandfather who owns restaurants in Italy and Wales and a brother who is a chef.
The plan for The Greek was conceived in the beginning of this year and after getting paperwork done the owners found the perfect spot for their restaurant in Maadi. “We did everything ourselves, from the design to the physical renovations,” Mariotti said. The restaurant is small but very efficiently divided in a large room that can comfortably seat 15, and squeeze in 20 when it gets very busy, and a kitchen area that is separated by a glass wall. The colours are muted with lots of white and light blue details, and a faux window with faded blue shutters and a clothesline cleverly hides a storage area above the kitchen. “We wanted a combination of an industrial and rustic feel and avoid clutter,” Mariotti said.
Tasty fresh bread, served while you are making your choice of the menu, alluded to delights to come, and we were not disappointed. We tried the Dolmades, freshly rolled vine leaves with a rice/herb filling and they were delicious. The Mavromatika salad, a combination of black eyed beans, tomatoes, green peppers and spring onions was light, fresh and flavourful.
The food was obviously prepared with care, using the freshest of products, and had a distinctly different taste than what you are normally served as Greek food. “John’s mother came from Greece to help train our chefs, and we are using some of the family recipes,” Mariotti said.
Our main courses were the Grilled Vegetable Gyros and the Chicken Souvlaki Meal. The sandwich was a wrap of homemade Greek pita bread, filled with perfectly grilled vegetables, tomato and onion slices and would normally include tzatziki, the traditional yoghurt, garlic, cucumber dip, but I opted to eat it without. The lack of the sauce did not diminish the sandwich; the different tastes of the vegetables were still distinguishable and the seasoning well balanced and the bread delicious. The homemade fries were crunchy and well flavoured.
The marinated, flame broiled chicken was succulent and well seasoned, and was served with a small Greek salad, fresh pita bread and the choice of grilled vegetables or homemade fries. According to my dinner companion the tastes of the different dishes complemented each other very well and we agreed that the buzz around town about the restaurant is very well deserved.
“Our intention is to expand in the future; we hope to open more outlets but maintain our goal to offer high quality food for reasonable prices,” Mariotti said.
At this moment The Greek offers a take away option and in the near future a delivery service will be added to the services. The restaurant is open from 2pm to 10pm, except Monday, and making a reservation is highly recommended because seating is limited in the popular restaurant.