Taste of Greece: Greeka Kouzina in P. Guevarra, San Juan

It's a FACT! I'm a certified foodie and the world knows it!

Barely a month ago, I received at least three text messages from random friends and relatives telling me the exact same thing : "hey, there's a new restaurant called Greeka Kouzina. It's along P. Guevarra. What's good there?"

The first message made me sat up from my lazy-Sunday-in-bed-while-watching-The-Buzz-position. Just like a news reporter who had just received a juicy scoop, I made a mental note and later on (realizing that my memory is terrible) jotted down the name of the new restaurant in my planner. I got two more messages right after that and I knew I have to give this interesting restaurant a try ASAP!

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Finally, the day came for me to try Greeka Kouzina. It was perfect timing that my sister set a dinner date with two of our high school friends / neighbors and I'm glad that they were just as eager to try this new restaurant with us. The door opened and a familiar face greeted us. It was also a friend from high school and she owns the place! I stepped inside and was surprised to see that there were more familiar faces almost in every table! That's the ICA community for you! Very supportive and true foodies at heart!

The menu was simple and straight-forward. We were lucky to have the owner giving us her recommended dishes and before we knew it, we ended up ordering at least one dish per page!

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Our dinner began with Htipiti (Php. 195). We initially were eyeing the Hummus but our adventurous side told us to go with the Feta Roast Pepper Dip which was the owner's personal favorite. I got to admit, at first bite, I wished we went with the hummus instead as this one had an acquired taste. However, I am not one who gives up easily and so I continued to take in more bites. As I was able to finish my first pita, I appreciated the unique combination of spicy roast pepper (don't worry it's not fiery hot spicy) and the creamy feta cheese. Take my advice, have this with an open mind.

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As I opened the menu, I was immediately drawn towards the word "kalamari". I'm no linguist but with food, I somehow turn into one. Kalamari is synonymous to calamares which as we all know means deep-fried squid. I love squid and I'm glad my dining companions agree with me! We tried the Kalamari Tiganito (Php. 260) and we enjoyed this very much! I love how the squid was so flavorful brought about by the alatopiperigano that I hardly had to dip it into the tartar sauce.

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Knowing that we're in for a feast, we got a plate of Fig Roka Salad (Php. 390) to lessen the guilt. I love Cyma's Roka Salata and I was equally pleased with Greeka Kouzina's version. Making use of figs to sweeten up the salad, I also love the generous amount of arugula making this salad really flavorful. I loveee arugula so I ate this with gusto.

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We moved on to our two main dishes -- first, the Arni Lemonato (Php. 580) which is a huge HUGE plate of Roast Lamb. Our schoolmate (a.k.a. the owner) was very proud of their lamb dishes so we had to give it a try. There were four of us and we were initially very confident that we can finish off one order but I almost fell off my seat when they laid the platter down on our table. It's big enough to be good for 6-8 adults! That's how big it was! This is the house best-seller and our schoolmate wasn't lying when she said that the lamb was so tender it falls off the bone. It really did! No knife needed as we easily were able to slice off the meat with a fork.

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This dish came with two sauces but I didn't use any. Again, it was flavorful as it already was. Both main dishes came with a side dish. There are 14 sides that you can choose from -- moussaka, pasta, rice, salad or pita! We got the Watercress Pasta to go with this. I was only able to try a small portion of this creamy pasta and somehow, I found the watercress topping a tad too overwhelming. I love veggies but this was just way too much!

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We also tried the Krasates (Php. 450) which was a grilled pork chop dish. Just like the Roast Lamb, the serving was once again good for 3-4 and we loved the tender, perfectly grilled pork chops that came with a scoop of blue cheese walnut spread and some Greeka signature gravy. Once again, I enjoyed the pork chop minus the gravy and with just a thin layer of the blue cheese walnut spread. It was very good and I'm definitely getting this again next time. I'm sure both Papa and Paul will love this too!

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Lastly, to go with the Krasates, we got the Spanakonzo (Spinach Rice). See, we were being such good girls for ordering a lot of veggies! This is a unique rice dish as it has feta cheese, spinach, mint (!) and dill herbs all mixed into the rice. It was flavorful and it complimented our meat dishes very well.

We were so full after consuming our orders! Well, we tried to finish them all but we gave up after eating half of the roast lamb dish. It was just way too much for us. We then decided to just have it wrapped for our friends to take home for their next meal.

What made our dinner more fun was the fact that we were able to catch up with our long-time friends. It's funny that we live just a few streets away from one another but it took us this long to meet up and bond again. I hope this will be the start of a series of dinners hopefully with Paul and my friend's fiance joining us too!

I'm so happy that there's finally a really good Greek restaurant in the neighborhood. The restaurant has a second floor making it spacious enough to host small family gatherings or reunions. The only challenge is their parking. They actually have a private parking lot but you'll have to walk at least a block from the restaurant to get there. Well, we can all see the effort, nonetheless.

I can't wait to take my friends and family back here! Till next time, Greeka Kouzina. ♥

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Greeka Kouzina is located at 285 Units 4 & 5 P. Guevarra Street, San Juan City. Call them at 624-5974.

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