I found it. A restaurant that reminds me of my honeymoon. Obviously, if you read my previous posting, you saw how Greek food made an impact on me. I had accepted the fact that I probably wouldn’t have quality Greek food like that again for awhile (until I venture back to Greece – which I plan on doing at some point). However, my grandmother, who, bless her heart, knows how I loved the food in Greece, informed me of a restaurant that her Greek friends referred to as “the best Greek restaurant in town”.
I have eaten there twice in the 2 weeks I have been back from my honeymoon.
It’s not just the food that reminds me of Greece, but the atmosphere, decor, and service as well. First of all, the name of the restaurant is Taverna Ouzo. What better name for a Greek restaurant than the national liquor of the country that is served with almost every meal? The name is written in a very “Greek-esque” (for lack of a better term), traditional font and the entrance to the restaurant is long, paved with cobblestone, and decorated with flowers on each side. That’s just the outside. Once you get inside, everything is blue. Blue and white and turquoise. A wave of nostalgia. I felt as if I was back on the Aegean Sea. The paintings on the wall are the same paintings we almost purchased at the stores we visited in Mykonos (pictures of the famous white and blue domed buildings that everyone knows and recognizes as Greek). Other decorations include beautiful large shells, sail boats, and blue votives.
Sitting atop the blue tablecloths is a bottle of Greek olive oil and sea salt. Every meal is served with warm, fresh off the grill (and I know this because the kitchen is open and you can see the chefs preparing everything) pita bread and juicy olives. I was very happy the people I asked to join me were not olive fans, because I proceeded to eat all of them (there were a lot). The second time I went, I brought my mom, who is also an olive-lover, so we had to share. Live and learn.
Our waiter (who waited on us both times we were there) just recently moved from the island of Rhodes in Greece, and made us feel at home right away. This, I am learning, is a characteristic that all Greek people seem to have. They have the ability to make you feel as if you’ve known them forever, and their laid back attitudes put you at ease almost instantly. They all smile, patiently answer all your questions, gladly give out recommendations, and love when you enjoy their food, which is very easy to do.
All of this made me feel as if I was back in Greece on my honeymoon. But the real test would be the food, and I am happy to say, it passed with flying colors. The first time I was there, I ordered the chicken souvlaki platter. The second time I had the tuna a-la Santorini. My favorite part of the second dish was the spinach-potato puree it was served with. I also got to try (or should I say forced the other people at my table to give me some) moussaka, lamb shank served with orzo, gyros (beef and lamb), pork souvlaki, grape leaves, Greek salad, lemon potatoes, and fried Greek potatoes. For dessert, I had Baklava (which was actually the best I’d ever had, including the Baklava we had in Greece), Karidopita (a Greek Walnut Cake soaked in some sort of syrup), and of course Kataifi (that fun stringy dessert).
This is a restaurant I will be back to many many times. It’s nice to know that whenever I’m feeling stressed or overwhelmed, I can go to Taverna Ouzzo eat some great food, talk to some interesting people, and pretend I’m still on my honeymoon.
Taverna Ouzo is located in Monroe Township, NJ, along Applegarth Road.