Try rock up at Parea on a Saturday night without a booking. I dare you. It’s not gonna happen – but there’s a reason they’re so popular. This authentic Greek restaurant has been around for as long as I can remember. It’s an Illovo landmark (right by Wolves, if you’re not sure) that makes some of the best Greek food in town. I do not say this lightly. Take a seat in the courtyard section during summer and indulge in an array of tasty tapas, perfectly-fried chips and what could very well be my favorite calamari dish… ever.
Top pick: If you’re popping in for a light lunch, the chicken and halloumi in a pita, served with tzatziki, tomatoes and onions will sort you out. If you’re starving, go for the grilled calamari mains and be sure to order a side of chips. Divine!
Address: Shop 3D, Corlett Drive, Illovo, Johannesburg.
Don’t confuse Meze with Mezepoli. Both are fantastic Greek establishments but you should know that they’re different. Meze in Senderwood is only open for lunch (sadly, they’re closed on Sundays) and is well worth a visit. Their Greek coffee is excellent and the vibe, casual. You can choose your meal from the menu or go up to the deli and just go for whatever catches your eye. Either way, you won’t be disappointed.
Top pick: My favorite meal here has to be the yiro, stuffed with halloumi (not on the menu but they’ll do it), served with a side of taramasalata.
Address: 17, Corner Chaucer and Shelly Avenues, Senderwood, Johannesburg.
As mentioned above, this is not Meze. I know I said it already but it can get confusing, okay? Mezepoli is a meze and wine bar and is more upmarket than Meze. They serve up good quality Greek cuisine and, I know it sounds a bit strange but you can also have delicious sushi here. Whether you have a variety of mezes or go straight to the yiros, you can’t go wrong.
Top pick: A couple of things: souvlaki chicken, spanakopita, taramasalata, tzatziki and, if you still have room, dolmades, and deep fried halloumi.
Address: Shop SL 26, Whitely Road, Melrose Arch, Johannesburg.
There are two Plakas Restaurants in Joburg – both of which make a mean Greek dish. Whether you go for mezes, mains or a bit of both, whatever you do, just leave room for the baklava (with ice cream, thank you very much).
Top pick: The baby chicken with a serving of roast potatoes on the side.
Address: Eastgate Shopping Centre, 43 Bradford Road, Bedford Gardens, Eastgate, Johannesburg.
Cresta Shopping Centre, Corner of Beyers Naude Drive and Weltevreden Road, Cresta, Randburg, Johannesburg.
The Greek Sizzler
If you visit the Greek Sizzler Restaurant in summer, be sure to sit outside – their open-air courtyard is wonderful but, if you go in winter, they’ve got a fireplace inside to keep you cozy. It’s the perfect spot for a romantic date or a casual Sunday lunch with friends.
Top pick: The kleftiko – served with roast potatoes and vegetables of the day. Talk about a hearty meal!
Address: Banbury Cross Village, Corner Malibongwe & Olievenhout Streets, Northriding, Johannesburg.
By Nikki Samakosky.