The Life Goddess
The Life Goddess on Store Street is a gem of an eatery. It has successfully moved away from the traditional Greek taverna, despite serving wholesome and hearty food. Pop in any time before midday for a coffee, cake or pastry or merely to peruse the shop. A pleasant and warming atmosphere, created in part by sparkling fairy lights and blues music, it is a lovely environment to while away the morning. However, the main event occurs at midday when enormous platters appear from the kitchen, piled high with super-fresh salads, meats and stuffed peppers. The food is delicious and the portions large; however, the cost of wine, starting at £26 a bottle, will set you back a fair bit. Nonetheless, The Life Goddess is well worth a visit.
The Real Greek
The only Greek restaurant in London to be part of a chain, The Real Greek is a popular choice for novices. As with most chains, there is a slight inconsistency in the quality of their food and service depending on which venue you visit, but it is likely your overall experience will be good whichever one you choose. There is an excellent choice of meze and deliciously marinated meats on their main menu with arguably the best souvlaki in London. However, the real value comes at lunchtime – with three options to choose from at £8.95, it’s certainly one of the most affordable Greek experiences in the city. For a meat-free option, we highly recommend the beetroot, lentil and feta salad. It makes a delicious accompaniment to their falafel and is the perfect nutritional boost for short winter days.
For friendly service and a traditional Greek experience, Yialousa is the place to go. Many of the customers are Greek, which speaks volumes for its authenticity and the atmosphere has a lovely family feel to it. They have also extended their menu by offering other European dishes. At Yialousa the food is fresh, hearty and exactly what you would expect from a Greek taverna — why not stick with traditional dishes such as moussaka or keftedakia? The portions are large and the food on the heavy side, but this is easily forgiven in light of the food’s delicious and unusual flavours.
18 Woburn Place, London WC1H 0LN, 020 7837 4748
Tucked away in North London, or Palmers Green to be precise, sits Nissi. In contrast to Yialousa, Nissi has a much more modern feel, which is reflected in their interior design and menus. Nissi is a good option for larger parties, but it’s certainly worth reserving a table as they get booked up quickly. They have an extensive and exciting meze menu, so sharing dishes are definitely the way to go here. Why not ring the changes with some louvi (black-eyed beans), pourgouri (bulgur wheat) or even a Dutch veal T-bone! Trust us, you won’t regret it.
Our final suggestion is considered by many to be the best Greek restaurant in London. Mazi claim to ‘reinterpret old-time classic recipes with a modern twist’. They have succeeded in pulling this off beautifully and their elegant menus are testament to this achievement. The restaurant itself has a modern rustic charm, perfectly in keeping with their ethos. Booking is advisable and restaurateurs are limited to two hours at their tables, however the service remains excellent and there is never a feeling of being rushed. The food is elegant and sophisticated; of exceptional high quality and very reasonably priced. Undoubtedly a special occasion restaurant, their ‘feta tempura with lemon marmalade and caper meringue’ may just prove to be the perfect antidote to a food hangover!