Manila, the country’s capital, is famous for it’s historical landmarks and great architectures with various influences. Apart from its old world glory, there’s a lot of new unique architectures and eminent eating out places to visit.
In the midst of the humid coastal city populated by happy people, a cozy and outlandish Greek restaurant can be found. A new place called Belagio Square now hosts an authentic Greek specialty restaurant that offers good tasting Greek dishes like Mousaka, Taramosalata and Souvlakia; a popular delightful Greek food consisting of small pieces of pork or chicken with vegetables perfectly grilled on a skewer.
On a hot noon last week, I joined Nina, Eric and Annalyn for lunch in Hellas Taverna – a promising Greek restaurant located in the newest hang-out place in Manila. It was just a short walk from Robinson’s Place Manila but the place looked very different, the place may not be huge but the line of establishments are all equally interesting.
The restaurant is owned and managed by a Greek expatriate who’s very friendly and accommodating. We were welcomed by the friendly Pinoy Chef and gave us a little bit of background about their food and their daily special offerings.
For appetizer we ordered Hellas Platter – It’s composed of two plates of Pita with different dips like Tara Mosalata, tzatziki, tirokafteri, fava and melitzanosalata. I like the Tirokafteri, its a spicy cheese dip made from feta (imported cheese from Greece), bell peppers and chili sauce. If you love eggplant then you should try melitzanosalata – another interesting dip made from roasted eggplant included in the platter.
When the first set of food was served, the owner asked if we were journalists, probably because we were taking photos of the food before we ate. After introducing ourselves as food bloggers, the owner was courteous enough to offer their special menu for the day on the house.
Since it was my first time to experience their food, the lovely waiter suggested their Greek Coffee. It’s called Kafeneio in Greece and it is usually served in small cups much like an espresso glass. Kafeneio tastes like freshly brewed coffee made from Coffee Press. It’s usually thick and nutty since it’s made from a fine grind of imported coffee beans and the grounds are served with the coffee.
For our main dish, we ordered Souvlakia Pork and Souvlakia Chicken – a popular grilled dish usually marinated in lemon juice, pepper, oregano and other spices. Souvlaki is a slowly grilled Greek dish on a skewer and depending on the ingredients used, Souvlakia is also sometimes called Kebab.
Your visit to this restaurant will not be complete without ordering their fine version of Mousaka, I first tried this dish in Zuzuni Boracay and this will remain as one of my favorite Greek dish. If you love Burger then you will definitely love Biftekia. Bifteki is the Greek word for “Burger” – Its composed of a grilled or broiled beef patty served with fried potato wedges and a special dip.
As promised, they let us taste their version of Artichoke and their Galakto Boureko for dessert. Artichoke is a Greek vegetarian dish which is a combination of potato, carrots, green sweet peas, fresh onions and some secret seasoning.
I love their Galakto Boureko, I thought it was Baklava at first but since the chopped walnuts or pistachio nuts were missing, I was finally convinced that it was a different pie but it was equally delightful. Galakto Boureko is a semolina lemon flavored custard baked in a phyllo pastry and served in a clear honey based syrup.
Whether you like to have a formal or casual business meeting or you just want an adventurous lunch or dinner with your friends and family, Hellas Taverna will never fail to entertain your taste buds.
Unit G Bellagio Square
1658 Jorge Bocobo St.
Tel. No. 524-5860