This may be the closest restaurant to my house so when I saw it open, I knew I had to give it a try. I was disappointed a bit that it is a chain, but at least it has a unique cuisine for fast casual dining—Mediterranean food. It’s one of those places where you order your food at the register and they bring it out to you. They menu is pretty big and they are proud to tell where different ingredients come from and try to offer several healthy options.
We started with the appetizer of whipped feta ($5.99) blended with spices, topped with honey and served with pita on the side. You can get soft pita or baked crunchy pita or a mix of both—which is what we got. This was delicious. I was impressed. Hubby and I had had a similar dish at a restaurant in Nashville and loved it—this was very similar and very good. The feta is creamy and tangy but flavored with some herbs and spices and the sweet honey takes the edge off the feta. I was undecided whether I preferred the soft pita or the crunchy pita—both were very good. The soft pita was basic, but good and the crunchy baked pita had more seasoning on it and was more like a cracker. I just ate some of both. If I had to choose, I would probably go crunchy, but I really liked having some of each.
My daughter ordered the grilled chicken basil-pesto chicken gyro ($9.99). This was very tasty—it was strips of very tender seasoned chicken with pesto, tomatoes and feta inside a wrap. I was impressed with all the dishes as to how tender the chicken all was. Not sure how they keep it so tender, but it was great. Kind of like a Greek burrito. Nearly all the dishes come with chips and a choice of a second side. My daughter got the rice—which looked kind of bland to me, but she said it was good (I didn’t try it).
My mother-in-law had the weekend special that was a pasta dish—“Taziki’s signature pasta” ($8.99). So there is a bed of lettuce on the bottom and penne pasta and chicken on top that has been tossed in a balsamic vinaigrette. The pasta then has chopped tomatoes, feta and fresh basil on top. Again, I was impressed with how tender the chunks of chicken were. And I really liked the balsamic flavor for “sauce.” It was unique and I like the acid. Add tomato and feta and it was a tasty dish. Enough for two people, but good. She ordered a side of the tomato-cucumber salad which was nice too and could be a good garnish for the sandwiches—it was nicely marinated and had some onions in there too.
I ordered the grilled chicken roll-up ($7.99) which is a flour tortilla filled with chicken, tomato and feta and then grilled so the tortilla is crisp. The little rolls are served with fresh salsa. You really need the salsa with this—otherwise the dish is a little boring. I sort of wished for a bit more of the tomato and cheese—and maybe some taziki sauce as well, although the salsa was very tasty. It just needed a little more, even though again, the chicken was nice and tender. I had the fruit as my side, and I will pass on this in the future—it was a little too melon heavy for me.
I would certainly order that feta dip again and would like to try their hummus and taziki as well. I wish they had a combo plate of the dips—they also have a pimento cheese. I would be nice to try them all. I couldn’t even get them to sell me a small side of taziki to go with my lunch. She only would sell me an entire other appetizer size, which we didn’t need. Offering small sides might be a good idea.
My daughter also got some of the dark chocolate cake ($2.79). She always gets desserts, especially if there is chocolate cake. I have to say, we agreed this was the weakest thing we ate. It just had a weird taste that we didn’t care for.
But overall, even though it is a chain, and given its proximity to our home, it will likely become a fairly regular stop. I like the unique flavors for a fast-casual place. And that you could get something fairly healthy but still with some flavor. They also offer full dinners for 4 to carry out which might be something we try as well. And they have beer and wine. Not a huge selection, but some local beers and a couple of wine choices.
If you have been, what were your thoughts?
Taziki’s Mediterranean Cafe
4025 E. 82nd Street