Greek Geek

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Cyma, a local Greek restaurant, has been my family’s default choice when faced with many options and differences in I-feel-like-havings. The wait staff pretty much have us cased. Pikilia and a Tonna Salata for our usuals, sides of Cedar-planked Salmon or Wahoo on a protein-need occasion and Osso Bucco Pasta when La Emmanuela cannot do without her carbs. Mods on serving sizes according to our number.

My Greek Taverna sticks out from the rest of the dreary kiosks lining the Gates of Hell called Mango Square. Dan Brown, were you ever so wrong about Manila. This little outlet always drew my attention among the flashier, loud establishments around it whenever I drive by. I’ve said I wouldn’t be caught dead on that strip but having had a few personal recommendations for Taverna, I lowered my personal restriction to “risk getting caught there alive”.

Coming in from a failed attempt to experience “Tuslob-Buwa’ ” after a late night business meet, we jumped on the chance to try Taverna when we passed by on our way home. We made our way up the sidewalk to the Valley of the Shadow of Death and into the white and blue-themed booth. The Spartan menu displayed variations of Greek handhelds like Gyros and Pitas. Also available were salads and other snack items. Ordered the Greco Platter for a sampler.

The Greco Platter came with a “BUNCH of Fries, BUNCH of meat (Chicken or Pork)”, chicken for ours, “Cucumber, Tomato and Slaw Salad, Onion and Tatziki” sauce. It came served in the bottom half of a regular, packed-meal styro to our unanimously disappointed, “Oh.” One half looked like a pile of crispy-fried potato wedges and the other a pile of shredded greens on tomato and cucumber slices smothered in yogurt sauce.

We judged too soon. The potato wedges were delightfully crisped on the outside with gorgeously cooked centers and dusted with a slightly spicy flavored powder. Underneath those were chunks of perfectly seasoned, shawarma-style chicken. The salad was a generously slathered with Tatziki. We polished off the potato wedges but struggled to finish the chicken and salad. For PHP 215 for all that it was worth more than its price in taste and serving size.

While it’s still a far cry from the local Greek standard, all factors considered, I wouldn’t dismiss it as the poor man’s Cyma. You would have to do away with the pristine interiors, the very smart & attentive staff and the spectacle of flaming dishes (Oppa!) from the extensive menu but you still get great Greek for a fraction of the price. I’m making My Greek Taverna mine. Go make it yours, too.

My Greek Taverna is located at the courtyard of Mango Square, Gen. Maxilom Avenue, Cebu City.

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