Kokkari Estiatorio, San Francisco, 3/10/16

Exterior
Exterior

This large place has been in San Francisco for over 15 years and very popular still. The tables and bar were packed but it appeared to be a lot of workers on a lunch break. The initial room looked cozy and nicely appointed with a real fireplace going but a little exploration found numerous other rooms and some very large. The fireplace turned into a cooking area midway through lunch when they began to roast a whole pig. The bathrooms are located a short elevator ride down to the basement where there is an additional party room.

some of the interior
some of the interior
bar area
bar area
another dining room
another dining room
the exposed part of the kitchen
the exposed part of the kitchen
menu
menu

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bread
bread
Frankie checked out the olive oil for dipping and salt on the table
Frankie checked out the olive oil for dipping and salt on the table
wine storage in the wall
wine storage in the wall

 

Our waiter on this visit was quite pleasant and proud of the food served here, however I was not as impressed.  We started with an appetizer of the main course artichoke souvlaki and it was mild at best. The onions and pepper pieces were way undercooked and overall the dish had very little “grilled” taste. It needed a heavier hand with some kind of seasoning.

 

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Artichoke Souvlaki: Grilled artichokes & eggplant skewered with peppers & onions with yogurt & pita

 

The zucchini cakes were much better. Served with some tasty pickled cucumbers, which unfortunately overpowered the zucchini when eaten together, they had a nice crunchy exterior and a nicely flavored interior. The sauce was good with the cake and the cucumbers turned into a separate dish.

Zucchini Cakes: with cucumber and mint yogurt dressing
Zucchini Cakes: with cucumber and mint yogurt dressing

 

For main dishes we chose the special of the day Pastitsio but the beef was dry and there wasn’t enough sauce to compensate for me. It actually tasted more like lasagna. I have had much tastier versions.We tried one other classic dish, Moussaka, that didn’t do any better than the other. Again dry and lacking in any herb taste that I so associate with Greek food.

Pastitisio: traditional casserole of spiced beef and pasta with bechamel
Pastitisio: traditional casserole of spiced beef and pasta with bechamel
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Moussaka: traditional casserole of spiced lamb, eggplant, potato & yogurt bechamel
inside Moussaka
inside Moussaka
Frankie compared the entrees
Frankie compared the entrees

 

The waiter raved about their Galaktoboureko and so we ordered one to share for dessert and it’s good we only got one. It wasn’t dry, it just didn’t have much taste.  So I’m puzzled here cause in the elevator I overheard people talking about how much they love this place and how good the food is and these weren’t people from the same party – and I know reservations here go quickly.  Maybe I’m looking for something that others aren’t but I just can’t give this place any kind of reccommendation.

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Galaktoboureko: Semolina custard in filo with blood orange spoon sweet & cinnamon ice cream
inside
inside
party room downstairs
party room downstairs
bread supplies
bread supplies
their cookbook
their cookbook
roasting in the fireplace
roasting in the fireplace
Frankie found an orchid
Frankie found an orchid

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