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Fearless Critic restaurant review
DC
Food
Feel
Price
7.5
6.8
$35
Greek
Casual restaurant

Hours
Daily 11:00am–9:30pm

Features Delivery, live music, outdoor dining, veg-friendly
Bar Beer, wine, liquor
Credit cards Visa, MC, AmEx
Reservations Accepted

www.greekislandsgrill.com

Silver Spring, MD
15410 New Hampshire Ave.
Silver Spring, MD
(301) 879-7600
Taverna the Greek Islands
Authentic whole fish in dull surroundings—bring on the drunks and the raki!

You can’t blame Taverna the Greek Islands (whose name we won’t try to diagram gramatically) for failing on the count of authenticity. Down to the surly waitstaff and abundant rounds of bone-dry white bread, this place has almost every mark of the small tavernas and watering holes of the Greek isles.

Well, maybe a few things are missing. For one, even on a Friday night, the place is quiet as death. There are few empty tables, but all conversation occurs in a hushed whisper. Couldn’t the owners import a few Greek drunks along with the phyllo dough and special feta? (Admittedly, during the summer months the patio fills up with another variety of rowdies.) And although the Taverna strives to replicate island menus, and does a fair job of it—offerings include octopus and taramosalata—there remain some gaps: no raki (a Greek apéritif), for example; and no fava purées, anchovies, or halva semolina cakes.

The Taverna’s main courses and specials, however, truly shine. If it’s available, try the whole fish main, an exquisite specimen that the kitchen cooks gently with herbs and leaves unadorned but for a touch of lemon and oil. A Greek salad has much more in common with its island counterparts than with the outsized mess of iceberg typically found in American Greek diners. Its sole shortcoming is also Washington’s: we’re simply not blessed with succulent tomatoes year-round. But the salad overcomes this handicap with fresh lettuce, boutique capers, full-bodied olive oil, and a unique and not-too-salty feta. The Taverna’s vegetarian offerings go far beyond spanakopita. Try the melizanes imam bayildi, for example; it’s eggplant stuffed with tomatoes and herbs and smothered in a mozzarella-like cheese.

The Taverna fills an important place in the area’s Greek landscape. Although Zaytiyna’s food may be better overall, Taverna does the most justice to the Greek island cuisine.

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