To celebrate my good friend L’s belated birthday, we went for dinner at Paros Taverna at Burquitlam Plaza in Coquitlam (it is, incidentally, right next door to Fuji’s). I'd been to the restaurant many times before, ever since my aunt brought the family here years and years ago (it’s her favourite Greek restaurant). My general thoughts about the place is that the food is quite good, but the restaurant is a little too expensive; you can get the same food for much less in Vancouver. Anyway, the restaurant is big, with a large patio that’s open in the summer, but as soon as you walk in you get hit with darkness (that's why these photos are so crappy!). The restaurant is dark: dark walls, floors, dark wood tables & chairs, and they never seem to turn any lights on. It’s really best to sit near the windows.
When we arrived, there were a few people finishing up their meals, but it was a Tuesday evening and by the end of the night we were one of two tables dining in the restaurant. The server was, of course, dressed entirely in black, but was very nice. We decided on a couple of appetizers ($4 - $12.50) and we all shared a platter for two.
We got the homous ($5) to share. It came with a stack of hot, fluffy, golden pitas. Great pitas. However, the homous wasn’t the best. I’m not an expert in Greek cuisine, but this homous was a lot more chunky than we’ve had at other places. It tasted plain, and it definitely needed more tahini, garlic and lemon. It also wasn’t the greatest deal for such a small serving.
The other appetizer we ordered was the Htipiti ($10), which is baked goat cheese with sides of olives and roasted peppers. The baked goat cheese was delicious, but again, it was a tiny amount. The olives and peppers were just ok. For the price, it wasn’t the most generous. However, we did enjoy the taste of the warm goat cheese with the pita.
The Paros Platter ($28) is what we usually get when we come here, because you get a wide sampling of dishes and the servings are quite large. On the platter are chicken souvlaki, prawn souvlaki, karamaria, dolmades, and spanakopita. Aside from the main components, it also comes with Greek Salad, Pita, Potatoes and Rice. Both the souvlakis were good, but the chicken was a tad dry. Possibly the highlight were the fried calamari—the pieces were tender, slightly crunchy, and well seasoned. The tzatziki was also excellent: thick, rich, and with good flavour. The dolmades were not bad—I would have liked a more pronounced lemon flavour, and the spanakopita was merely middling—it was a little soggy and the filling lacked a pronounced feta taste. The Greek Salad and rice were the usual things you would get at any Greek place, and the potatoes were good (though it used to be a lot more lemony). We all were full after this.
The great thing about this place is they bring you something complementary after your meal (sometimes it’s dessert, sometimes it’s shots of ouzo). It’s always a really nice surprise. This time we got a square of baklava with whipped cream to share, and Shane got a bonus shot of ouzo (mysteriously, with a few coffee beans floating in it). There’s nothing like a free dessert to get you in a good mood!
Oh yes, one item of note: the restaurant actually has belly dancers on Friday evenings and weekends. It’s pretty fun and crowded, though it can get a little loud.
The food at Paros is pretty good, though not exceptional. The servers are usually friendly and attentive. However, with entrees ranging from $17-28, it is a little expensive for a casual Greek place. It’s probably wiser to go for lunch, where prices range from $11.50 - $13.50.