The Greek on Halifax has built a loyal clientele through a no-fuss approach and hearty, honest food.
The family-run restaurant, situated in an old steam house highlighted by a large brick chimney, has a keep-it-simple approach to business.
Although main courses hover around the $30 mark, the tables are bare; white paper napkins sit under knives and forks, wine glasses come out with the bottle. It is unfussy and pragmatic, which is the same as the food.
The service can sometimes struggle to keep up with demand as hard as the staff may try – especially on a nice day when the large, umbrella-covered alfresco area is full.
But they’re no strangers to hard work: The Greek is also one of those rare restaurants that opens seven days a week, starting each day with breakfast, where you’ll find big serves and thick slices of bread (I recommend the baked saganaki eggs).
For lunch and dinner, all the traditional favourites can be found on the extensive menu: souvlaki, yiros, dolmathes, dips (including a wonderful taramasalata) and, of course, moussaka.
There is also a great range of platters – meat, seafood or a combination of both. Although pricey at $100 plus, they are a suitable sharing plate for groups and do come with a mountain of food which has to be served on stands to fit it all on the table.
On this rather busy night, we start off with something smaller – the house-recipe Greek sausage (Loukanika) with ouzo-soaked oranges and the melitzano dolmathes.
Both dishes are wholesome and outstanding. The sausage, although salty, has great texture and is charred perfectly. The ouzo oranges are a nice touch, the aniseed and citrus making a decent dressing and cutting through the salt.
The melitzano dolmathes are also nice – delicate slices of eggplant wrapping haloumi and bathed in a tomato sauce. Although the dish could have been hotter, the combination works well and would go down a treat with a glass of red wine.
For mains, we order the slow-braised baby goat with mash and the traditional meat moussaka (there is also a vegetarian version).
The goat is marvellous. Served on the bone, as it should be, the meat falls away with the fork, the tomato and red wine sauce benefiting from the richness of the meat and bones, and the mash providing the perfect creamy companion.
However good the goat was, the true test of the quality of a Greek-based menu is the moussaka.
Served in the large earthenware dish it was cooked in, the white sauce has a tempting brown glaze. It is a huge meal.
A layer of potato forms the base, with rich tomato and ground beef holding up a layer of eggplant topped off with a thick white sauce.
It is excellent. The texture of the potato and ground beef blends with the eggplant, and a slight hint of rosemary in the white sauce completes it.
It is also too much, however the waitress informs us some people do indeed manage to finish it all.
And that is the story of The Greek through and through – big meals, simple and bold flavours, and humble presentation.
There generally isn’t a pretty way to serve large pile of meat and rice or salad, so The Greek doesn’t try to dress it up.
The desserts are also good. A large selection of syrupy pastries and custard treats tempt diners from the counter display.
The Greek on Halifax has been a long-time favourite for many diners and it is easy to see why.
The place is unfussy, charming and serves large amounts of good food. It plays to the traditional Mediterranean strengths of well-cooked meat or seafood and simple condiments with modest presentation.
Be it breakfast, lunch of dinner, the Greek is always a comfortable experience to leave you more than satisfied.
Three and a half out of five.
The Greek on Halifax
75-79 Halifax Street, Adelaide
Ph: 8223 3336
Open seven days:
Breakfast 8 – 11
Lunch from 12
Dinner until late
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