My hiatus is over. I need to talk about food, I’ve missed it desperately. This new year brings new things and those new things I will share with you.
I had the opportunity to visit Taverna Agora’s new location in Downtown Raleigh and was very pleased with what I experienced. I will say, I never had the chance to visit the other location so I can’t compare the two but I can tell you, this location is quite beautiful. The kitchen is open, the decor is simple and they have a roof top bar area that serves a small menu and plenty of beverages.We went to celebrate one birthday, one engagement and the new year! It was quite a night. They made sure we felt taken care of.
Any good celebration starts with flaming cheese! Saganaki ($8.95) is a traditional greek cheese that is flambeed with brandy. The fire is put out with a squeeze of lemon.
I have never had this made with a coating on the cheese. Usually the cheese is just doused with the brandy, lit on fire and put out with lemon. This one had some sort of crust. While it was good, it would have been better without the crust, and if it had been cooked a little longer. The cheese wasn’t quite as melted as I like.
We also ordered the steamed mussels ($9.95) off of the small plates menu. They were delicious. The sauce had a great kick, the cheese added just the right hint of salt and the mussels were cooked perfectly. Everyone loved these. Each of us ordered an entree…
I ordered the salmon, but replaced the rice with the lemon potatoes. They were happy to oblige me. It was a fine dish, but for $18.95 I would have liked the salmon to be cooked a little better. It was a bit overcooked. The flavors were there – it was tasty, but a little dry.
The fisherman’s pasta ($19.95) was a hit with most of us. The sauce was light and creamy at the same time. We all loved how well the seafood was cooked in the midst of all of that.
This was my favorite dish – lamb tips over orzo ($19.95). The lamb was so tender and the sauce had this amazing amount of salt that really opened it up. I’m not a huge fan of orzo, but it was a nice vessel for the sauce and meat.
The pork chop ($16.95) was cooked very well. The meat was juicy, the filling was flavorful and the sauce really tied it all together.
The taverna grilled chicken ($16.95) was forgettable. To be honest, it took me a while of looking at the menu to remember which dish this was. I don’t love chicken so that might not be an indicator of anything in particular.
I ordered the greek custard for dessert ($5.50). the crust was nice, and the flavor was pretty good, however the custard wasn’t quite as creamy as I would have hoped for.
Overall, we enjoyed our visit. We waited a while between drinks, there was a bit of a struggle for getting the check split, but overall our waitress was super nice, she tried hard to get our meal right and was as attentive as she could be. It seems like the bar and the restaurant don’t “talk” as well as they could. There were times when we would order glasses of wine and after about 20 minutes, the waitress would come over and say she was waiting on the bar. Seemed odd to us, but again we were having a great time and weren’t in a hurry.
While I do think the meal was more expensive than it was really worth, I do recommend you give the place a try. It has a lot of character. And if you like this style of food, you’ll like Taverna Agora.