The Thasos / Greek Island Taverna controversy turned into a non-event when Thasos opened a fancy restaurant with high prices that doesn't exactly compete with this place. jump-->One thing good about Greek Islands Taverna is that you can go to lunch at 2:45pm and the place will be half full; when most Fort Lauderdale restaurants are either on break or cleaning up for dinner. I usually sit on the patio, which I prefer, but today I sat inside. I hate sitting inside; it's small cramped and every table is a bad one.
Greek Islands Taverna Dining Room
The hostess stand is in the middle of the room, although she doesn't actually ever stand there. From my vantage point I could see the reason; the servers are constantly huddled in the kitchen, which explains the pervasively shoddy service.
I asked for but did not receive extra lemon in my iced tea; such requests are missed here.
Greek Islands Iced Tea
One of the really good things here is the hummus; it's the best in town. And they serve it with good, softish bread so you don't risk breaking your teeth on overly zealous crusts. >
Greek Islands Taverna Hummus
The bread makes any lunch here enough. They have pretty good lunch specials; about half of what you'll pay at Thasos; I went off the lunch menu and ordered the Octopus, a $16 appetizer. It comes out on a plate that's a bit smaller than it should be.
Greek Island Taverna Octopus
It's notably hot and freshly char-grilled. This would be a lot better if they used good oil; but they use very light, bland tasting oil; probably the kind that comes in a big can. This was $14 not too long ago; they do give a good portion, but it was fair at best. There are better things to order in this place.
After all of the hullaballoo surrounding Thasos, it was time to re-visit Greek Islands. I don't really like coming here during peak hours, as they tend to try to seat you at the bar or a bad table if you're on your own. At 2:45 the place is pretty empty.
Greek Islands Taverna Patio
On a 90 degree day, there's just enough air flow on the patio to be tolerable; I think when it gets to 98 it will be too hot to dine on this patio.
Another good thing about dining at 3pm is that the service is better. They tend to be overmatched here. Iced tea arrived with the dreaded sliver of lemon; don't they know that you can't squeeze a sliver of lemon with getting it all over your hands?
Greek Islands Taverna Ice Tea
Lunch is served with the complimentary bread and hummus; the hummus is excellent here. I usually just taste the bread, but I polished this off by the time I left.jump-->
Greek Islands Taverns Bread w/Hummus
The food here isn't OMG by any means; today I ordered the ribs, which are offered as either an appetizer or you can get a full rack with green beans and potatoes. I went for the rack.
Greek Islands Taverna Ribs
It's nice to get ribs that aren't dredged in BBQ sauce once in a while. There are a lot of ribs, not very meaty and not quite lemony enough, but good nonetheless.
The green beans were fresher than usual; the first time I had these here they seemed days old.
Greek Islands Taverna Potatoes and Beans
Again, the potato wasn't quite lemony enough to be fantastic; but still a veritable offering. Stewed beans should be better; they put something in them that ruins them; garlic, onions, tomatoes and celery should be fool-proof. You'll need salt at the very least.
Sadly there's always a service issue here. My server seemed to forget me as she didn't re-appear until well after I was ready to go.
$23 for a solid lunch. I've had better, but I've more often had worse. For the same price as Thasos, where I left feeling cheated; I went home full with a box of leftover ribs.
In a town being overrun by Mexican restaurants, when you talk about Greek Food in Fort Lauderdale, there's always some mention of the Greek Islands Taverna. With Opa closed, there really aren't any other choices currently in this part of town.
The new big thing at Greek Islands is their new open-air patio. It's really just a hard top roof over a tiled floor.
Greek Islands Taverna Patio
I was a little disappointed in the patio. The chairs look cool but they're not very comfortable. It's also open-air, so on a real hot day I'd rather have air conditioning than fans. They have A/C vents; I'm not sure how well A/C works for an outdoor patio. It's also REALLY noisy; you're about 10 feet from A1A, so walls would be better.>
This is a very popular lunch place; on a Friday at 2pm the parking lot was 80% full. I don't like the inside of this place; there's a bar area and a small dining room; you're either sitting near the bar, right in front of the entrance or in front of the kitchen/server area. They have a lunch menu that isn't such a great deal; but better than their regular menu. A GYRO with rice for $9 isn't a draw to me, and their 1/2 chicken lunch is the same price as their 1/2 chicken dinner. I asked about the Greek Salad with Chicken Breast, hoping that they were separate, but my server indicated that it was thrown on top. It's not really what I wanted, but I ordered it anyway.
While I was waiting I got some bread with hummus. The hummus was really good. There were 2 kinds of bread; regular white italian bread and some sort of whole wheat version. I ended up eating all of the bread; something I rarely do.
Greek Islands Taverna Bread and Hummus
In between the sounds of speeding vehicles, real Greek music fills the air. Nuxtoulouloudo, Th' Afisei Epoxi. Better than house music. Finally my server dumps the plate on my table.
Greek Islands Taverna Lunch Greek Salad w/Chicken
It was a big salad and a good sized piece of chicken; a horiatiki salad which was somewhat unexpected. Without lettuce and with only 3 small triangles of cheese, the salad was awkward; chicken just doesn't work well with this kind of salad. The chicken had no flavor itself; salt was badly needed; the dressing on the salad was weak. While they claim that they make their Horiatiki salad with olive oil; this was more like a bottled italian. After all of the bread and hummus, I ended up taking 1/2 of the "salad" home.
I'd had the 1/4 chicken lunch previously with the ladoregano potatoes and green beans.
Greek Islands 1/4 Chicken Lunch
The chicken is a 1/2 of a breast and a wing. Most of the "greek" seasoning was left on the skin, so if you don't eat the skin you'll miss it. The beans were a limp dissappointment; way overcooked, with some peas, celery and equally overcooked squash included. There's no point in eating vegetables that have all of the nutrients cooked out. The potatoes were reminiscent of my Mom's broiled potatoes; while there was physical evidence of seasoning there was no particular flavoring other than potatoes; salt and pepper dressed them up fine; but it wasn't the lemon/oregano seasoning I was hoping for.
Service here is sub-par; my server didn't check on me once to ask if everything was ok; she grabbed my glass once for a refill of iced tea, but when I was ready to leave she walked by my table 5 times without even glancing my way. As I asked for my check she noticed the empty glass and asked if I wanted more, but it was too late.
I wonder how much of the fascination with this place is the general lack of sit-down greek restaurants in Fort Lauderdale, because I'm not particularly impressed by it. We're going to find out very shortly, as Thasos Island is close to opening a few steps away.