Jon's parents were recently in town for a quick stop-over on their way to Hawaii. We would be dining out with them just one night, so we wanted to pick a place that would blow them away. And Evvia did just that.
This Greek restaurant has long been on our list of local places to try. Having read a plethora of positive reviews and having dined at its sister restaurant in San Francisco (Kokkari), we were confident that a great meal was in store for us. Evvia has a warm and rustic feel to it -- with a large fireplace in the middle of the main dining space, lots of wooden beamwork and handmade pottery lining the walls.
To start, I ordered the Fava Kroketes, a trio of yellow peas and ladotiri cheese fritters. They were fantastic. Jon and his parents each ordered the Horiatiki, a classic Greek salad with tomatoes, cucumbers, green pepper, red onion, olives and feta. Not a bite was left in any of their bowls.
Next up, I ordered a delicious and tender Kokinisto me Manestra, a braised lamb shank served on top of orzo. Jon's mom had been hoping the menu would include Moussaka -- a casserole with eggplant, lamb ragout, potatoes and a yogurt bechamel -- and sure enough, it did. The baked dish lived up to her expectations. Jon and his dad both went with the Souvlaki, a skewer or beef filet, mushroom and onion; it was accompanied by a wonderful wild rice pilaf.
I made sure not to devour all of my yummy lamb so that I could handle a dessert course. Baklava! It was crunchy (the pistachios), it was flaky (the layers of phyllo), it was sweet (honey syrup) -- it was awesome and totally worth saving room for. Jon's mom tried the Rizogalo, which is a rice pudding with poached dried fruits on top of a crispy kataifi. The three different layers all worked beautifully together: there was the sweetness from the fruit (cherries, apricots); the creaminess of the pudding; and then the crunchiness of the kataifi (which resembles shredded wheat cereal).
The service matched the ambiance -- friendly and inviting. We all agreed that Evvia was a great choice for dinner, and that repeat visits may be in order.
420 Emerson Street
Palo Alto, CA