Two years ago around this time, I was sitting in a shaded taverna in Crete, cooled by a light breeze off the Aegean Sea, drinking wine and snacking on dolmades, (stuffed grape leaves) and a local delicacy known as dakos (dried bread, doused in olive oil- topped with feta, tomatoes and capers).
So with the temperature now reaching into the triple digits in Fort Worth – and without even a backyard pool to keep me cool – you can forgive me for wishing I might be able to step into a teleportation machine and step out on the beaches of Chania or Agios Nikolaos. Alas, since that’s not about to happen, I decided the next best thing this week would be to visit one of Fort Worth’s estimable Greek restaurants – and at least enjoy one of my favorite world cuisines while pining for cooler weather.
I’ve long been a fan of Greek House, previously located on University Drive and now on Forest Park Blvd. It’s nothing fancy – a few tables and chairs, and a freshly roasting spit of gyro meat – but I’ve never left unsatisfied. Another tiny spot, George’s Specialty Foods, re-opened in 2012, after a long hiatus; their ginormous Greek salad is one of the best you’ll find in town. And while it’s not exclusively a Greek restaurant, Terra Mediterranean Grill remains a terrific option in the West Seventh district.
The newest arrival on the scene: The Vine Greek Taverna, on West Seventh St., just east of University Drive, which opened last year. In the proper taverna fashion, this family-owned spot is small and simply appointed, with just a dozen or so tables. The food, meanwhile, is a terrific greatest hits medley of the best Greek cuisine has to offer. On a recent visit, we started with the tzatziki ($5), an excellent version of the Greek yogurt based classic – it’s mild with garlic and generous with fresh dill, just the way we like it.
For our main courses, we tried two of the pita sandwiches – the chicken souvlaki ($8.50) and the veggie pita ($7.95). The latter was a particular surprise, featuring freshly grilled squash, mushrooms, and red onions, along with lightly fried haloumi – that salty-sweet Greek cheese that single handedly cause me to gain five pounds when I was in Greece on vacation. (Both dishes come with fries or rice, though for an extra $1.50, we upgraded to the "Greek fries," which are tossed with feta and herbs.) And, of course, no Greek meal can be complete without baklava ($4.50), the dessert made from phyllo pastry, walnuts and honey. The Vine’s is freshly made each day.
With traditional Greek music playing on the sound system, and the air-conditioning on full blast, The Vine makes for a welcome oasis on a brutally hot day -- and a reminder that you don't need to travel far in Fort Worth for superb food.
For more Fort Worth foodie ideas, visit our restaurant page.