I haven’t been to Kokkari in over a year and I finally went back last Friday. Kokkari is located in the Financial District on Jackson Street. You might miss it if you don’t know what it looks like, so keep an eye out for the Safeway market because Kokkari is across the street from it.
Kokkari is a Greek restarant and is another favorite of people at the office. Once you walk through the doors, you automatically feel like you are transported to a taverna in Greece. I will say that the people who dine here are pretty upscale, so if you do decide to go, please dress appropriately. Jeans are acceptable, but you don’t want to look to casual. Try to pretend that you really belong there.
Like many European restaurants, we started off with a basket of bread. The bread isn’t something to write home about, but I did love dipping it into the olive oil and red wine vinegar. The vinegar was really sour, but I like sour. I would have preferred balsamic vinegar, but they didn’t have any.
Of the three starters we ordered, the first that arrived was the spanakotiropita. It’s basically spinach and some feta cheese with leeks and dill wrapped in some phyllo. I decided to just take my piece, cut it in half, and show you what was inside. The crust was buttery and flaky and the inside was warm and creamy.
Next was the fried smelt. My mom and Gail always order this, but I can’t seem to like it. I tried one, but that’s about all I could handle. I still found it to be fishy and I don’t like my seafood like that. Also, I just cannot eat anything with the head and tail still intact. Many would say I’m missing out, but that just means more for you!
Last, but definitely not least was what I always have to order. This is the grilled lamb riblets. Now, I know some people don’t like lamb because they say it has a gamey aftertaste or they don’t like the smell, but that’s probably because they never had lamb done right. Let me tell you, Kokkari does it right! I could actually make this a meal and order two of these and not share with anyone. Since they are riblets, they are pretty small. The lamb is tender and falls off the bone. They are simply grilled and seasoned with salt, pepper, lemon and some EVOO and that’s all they needed. This is lamb perfection!
My mom decided she would have a light lunch and ordered the octopus salad. Once again, the octopus was perfect. It was very tender. I swear they probably grilled for just a few seconds because it was not chewy or rubbery at all.
Gail ordered the grilled lamb chops because she doesn’t cook it or order it anywhere else. It may not look like they give much, but it actually was just enough. It was pretty much seasoned just like the riblets just with more meat.
Apparently Friday was lamb day as I ordered the lamb souvlaki. I think I may have asked my lamb to be cooked too much. I should have went for medium rare instead of medium. It came with chick peas, tzatziki sauce, and some pita bread. I wish my lamb was a little more tender, but it still tasted good. What I really like is that the dish isn’t greasy like many Greek fast food places. Everything seems much lighter and not as artery-clogging.
Believe it or not, we still had room for dessert and we ordered two of them.
This is the tarte me fruta – a fruit tart. It is filled with strawberries and rhubarb and topped with a scoop of creme fraiche ice cream. I just had one scoop of this, but I mostly just got crust. The crust was good, probably because of all the butter in it.
I ordered the Kokkari Sundae. It had vanilla and chocolate ice cream that was made in-house and it was topped with fudge, whipped cream, and hazelnuts. I really liked the chocolate ice cream because it had bold flavors and the fudge was not overpowering. This was a huge sundae and I could only eat about a third of it because I threw in the towel and asked to take it home.
I know they have a sister restaurant in Palo Alto so I want to try that place out some day.
I can’t wait to go back here. Hopefully it won’t be another year before I visit again because I really love those riblets. I love the atmosphere of the restaurant and the service is great too. The only thing I really don’t like about this place is the restrooms. I mean, they are really nice, but I don’t like having to take the elevator to get there. It’s in the basement and kind of dark. It just feels a little creepy to me because you never know who is going to be standing there when the doors open. Restrooms aside, this place is one heck of an establishment. Don’t miss it!
Food: 4.56 / 5
Service: 4.4 / 5
Atmosphere: 5 /5