It’s no surprise Maria’s has been around since the 1950s. You’ll resist leaving then make plans to return as soon as you’ve left.
The menu can be daunting, especially if too many options overwhelm you or if you weren’t quite expecting the price point from such a relaxed eatery. If you’re not looking to splurge, there are two routes available: limit yourself to one fantastic main course or try out several equally fantastic mezze.
‘Hake’ is listed beneath the mezze section deceptively simply – it could very well be the best hake of your life, flaky and enrobed in a crisp Striped Horse beer batter and served with a fantastic homemade mayo. The komesko comes with beer-battered aubergine and zucchini and skordalia (a garlic and potato dip). It’s almost too good – it’ll be gone before you know it. The vegan platter for one is a treat. The piling of dolmathes, garlicky olives, aubergine, hummus, komesko and garlic pita will make you feel like you’ve done something very right in life. Each element of the dish is pitch-perfect; light but bursting with flavour. Highly recommended: the hand-cut chips seasoned with rosemary. They have the most perfect crunchy exterior to fluffy interior ratio and, again, the small portion will present a challenge for how quickly you’ll find yourself scarfing them down.
The rest of the menu covers the Greek gamut. From souvlaki and moussaka to lamb chops with tzatziki and spanakopita, you’ll certainly find whatever you’re craving. There are also a few different types of burgers and pitas. Make sure to keep an eye on the specials board for more drool-worthy offerings.
The dessert selection is much smaller but still traditional. Choose between the likes of kataifi, semolina cake and kourabiethes (Greek butter cookies).
The options on the wine list are also pricey, but there’s a decent variation and most are local. Just a few are available by the glass (or, technically, by the carafe). There’s not much in the way of other drinks options.
Service is friendly but slow. You may feel forgotten at times and wish the specials were presented to you, but it’s a highly pleasant experience when your waiter is around, and the jovial owner is also likely to come around and check on you.
It’s difficult to imagine someone who won’t feel welcome here. Families dine alongside business meetings and trendy twenty-somethings. Choose to sit in the buzzy interior or relax in the sunny and spacious courtyard. The entire atmosphere is easy-going – there’s no forced association with Greece, allowing you to be subtly transported there by the food alone.
Spoiling a loved one who doesn’t like a fuss. This is the most worthwhile low-key splurge.
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