Sister restaurant of Kokkari, Evvia has been serving beautiful and elegant Greek cuisine since 1995. Fabulous fish, savory roasted meats, and ... More
Sister restaurant of Kokkari, Evvia has been serving beautiful and elegant Greek cuisine since 1995. Fabulous fish, savory roasted meats, and sun-soaked vegetables are jazzed up with a spritz of lemon, a little olive oil, and herbs. There is perfection in simplicity.
We had 8:30 pm reservations for a party of 4 this past Saturday night. With the menu fresh in our heads and the GPS set , we got ourselves to Evvia's on time and plenty hungry.
The place was crowded, and we were parked at the small bar to wait for our table. For what I thought would be a few minutes. But then 10 minutes go by, and 20, 30 and 45 more minutes before the maitre 'd unapologetically announced our table was ready. If our friends weren't so fascinating, I would have been totally annoyed.
The food went a long way to making up for the inexcusable delay. We shared 4 appetizers -- the smelt were crisp and light and the beef tongue perfectly grilled with heavenly spices. But the grilled octopus, while flavorful, was overcooked and tough. I didn't sample the steamed mussels but was told they were just fine. Our 3 entrees consisted of the daily special filet of sole and grilled pork chop, and the menu's lemon-oregano rotisserie chicken. My companions ooh'd and ahh'd. But what clinched the deal for me were the desserts we shared. Traditional arborio rice pudding with pear, a sweet chocolate sundae and a very yummy baklava. The crown jewel was the homemade yogurt drizzled with honey, walnuts and surrounded with perfectly sweet figs. For that alone the wait was nearly worth it. Nearly.
Service was okay -- our waiter was well-intentioned but seemed distracted throughout, mixing up our dessert order at the end. Patrons for the nightclub next door were lined up on the sidewalk, making for a bit extra volume both on the ears and eyes. But we'll go back again, on a weeknight. After all, there are just too many top-drawer restaurants out there that have a better grasp of their reservation system on peak nights than Evvia's. Divine yogurt notwithstanding.
A total gastronomic disappointment. Calamari was tough, tasteless, and served with a boring aioli. The traditional Greek salad was fresh but no zing. As for our entrees, the souvlaki was chewy and a bit charred. Two of us ordered the lamb shanks. Unfortunately, the lamb proved to be stringy and bland. An excessively salty sauce sauce covered the lamb and orzo . Service was friendly and efficient. I will never eat here again or recommend it to anyone else.
We had a party of six for this restaurant which after many years is still packed so obviously a lot of people like it. The overall experience is good but the place is very noisy. The salads are typical Greek but tasty. Everyone enjoyed their meal and my fish would have been outstanding along with the lamb (four people ordered it and all loved it) except that the fish was drown in butter. I had a really nice fish with the head and skin and some nice seasoning but the butter just killed it. It would be great to taste a light seasoning on a roasted fish and TASTE the fish and not a pool of butter. Food would get five stars if they just correct that key point. It is like putting steak sauce on a great cut of meat. Make reservations.
Evvia has one of the best wine lists on the street, and the food is consistent, light, and delicious. The rack of lamb is perfect, if you like lamb, and is, I suppose, one of their house specialties. The rib eye is also eye catching. Because these two entrees are always fantastic, I have had only a few of their fish and pasta entrees. The appetizers are also good; the mezethes (I think you have to make a special request for an assorted plate and they'll put something together for you), spanakotiropita, and pita me tiria (flatbread with cheese and garlic) are some of my favorites. The fava me croketes (fried chickpeas) is rather weird, though, note. Souzoukakia (meatballs) are good. There was one time the calamari was rotten, but when this was mentioned, it was comped. The beets with duck prosciutto and goat cheese are fantastic.
The bar is comfortable, the restaurant is well lit with yellow light and yellow/peach walls, and on the far wall, they have colored bottles. I think they actually put vodka in the bottles along with various food items, providing a great visual display.
Every time I go to Evvia, I look forward to the wine. You usually have to order by the bottle to get anything good, but that's standard. They have a great French selection. The coffee is also terrific, if muddy. They make it by placing a canister in hot sand next to the fire. The service is usually great.
They always do a great job at the San Jose Greek Festival annually. 3.7.
This place is a lot of fun with fantastic food... you must try the braised lamb shank! Our waiter walked us through the whole process and made great recommendations... we had a blast and can't wait to get back.
Sister store of another good Greek restaurant in SF, Kokkari Estiatorio. I had a cosmopolitan first and it looked redder than it should be but tasted good. Then we had 4 appertizers:
Dolmathes - grape leaves stuffed with rice, currants & pine nuts; Feta & Elies - imported Epiros feta with country mixed Greek olives & herbs; Octapodaki tou Yiorgou - traditional grilled octopus with lemon, oregano & olive oil; Soutzoukakia - traditional meatballs with lentil salad & mint yogurt.
I don't like grape leaves, so I skipped the first one. The feta cheese is good, strong and heavy in taste. The grilled octopus was freshly grilled, could still taste the crispiness from the bread crumbs outside. The meatball was made from lamb and it tasted very lamby.
For entree, I ordered lamb chop and although the order comes half order or full, half is only 2 pieces. I can eat 4 pieces all by myself despite my little tummy. It was good thick lamb meat, raw and juicy inside with a ring of fat on the outside. But I didn't finish all 3 potato wedges as they were too salty.
For dessert, I tried the Greek Yogurt sorbet on pommegranite granita and it was good. The sorbet had a good yogurt creamy taste and the combination of the pommegranite was refreshing. A friend ordered warm chocolate cake with metaxa ice cream & spiced chocolate sauce after we figured out that metaxa meant Brandy. But too bad the ice cream tasted just like vanilla ice cream but no alcohol.
We also ordered a bottle of 2001 cab, but it was just OK, nothing too spectacular. The service was OK, and even on a Monday night, the restaurant's packed with people.
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