In Asia, it is very rare to find an authentic Greek restaurant hence exposure to Greek cuisine was minimal to us. We traveled Athens before hence that was the only period we immense in authentic Greek cuisine.
On our visit to Abu Dhabi, we were introduced to Acropolis an authentic Greek restaurant situated in the heart of the renowned Méridien Village and were excited to try it out.
So how authentic is it? The manager, assistant manager & chef are from Greece and they even import fresh seasonal ingredients coming straight from Greece!
The main reason setting up Acropolis was to introduce Greece’s culinary traditions to the Abu Dhabi community & also provide a taste of home to the Greek community in Abu Dhabi.
The navy blue & pristine white decor symbolize the color of Greece flag also provides tourist familiarity of the famed Santorini architecture color.
Upon entering, we were greeted warmly by the manager and was shown to our seat. Before long, the restaurant was packed with customers eager to have a good time. Reservation is recommended especially during weekends to avoid disappointment.
Relatively new to Greek Cuisine, we decided to seek recommendation hoping to explore more of Greek cuisine instead of the usual gyros & feta cheese.
Luckily for us, Mr Kostas was there to help. He introduced us to try Ouzo, considered the national drink of Greece. With a bottle of Ouzo Plomari, he explained the characteristic of it.
Silky clear at first it comes opaque, milky white after adding ice due to the anise oil, with a distinct licorice flavor, ouzo is distilled & flavored with spices like anise, mint, mastic, and coriander.
Ouzo is usually served as an aperitif, accompanied with tantalizing array of Mezze, which is a selection of small dishes served to accompany alcoholic drinks as appetizers.
For Mezze, we ordered :
Souzoukakia – Classic fried meatballs with tomato sauce
Garides Saganaki – Shrimps prepared in oven with fresh tomato & oregano
Pitoules – Grilled Pita Bread with Olive Oil & Oregano
Chef Kostas Spanakopita – Spinach pie with Feta Cheese
Spitiko Tzatziki – Greek yogurt with cucumber & garlic
Kolokithokeftedes – Crispy fried zucchini patties with mint & yogurt
The Garides Saganaki shrimps were very fresh and springy, blending well with tomato & feta cheese which is our favourite, definitely a must try. The fragrant aroma of oregano & olive oil on the Pitoules was delectable while Kolokithokeftedes with yogurt was an appetite opener.
Main Course we ordered one of Greece classic dish – Ya Ya’s Moussaka. Ya ya according to Mr. Kostas is Grandmother hence grandmother’s moussaka.
Moussaka which is eggplant prepared in oven with mince meat, topped with béchamel sauce and cheese. Served warm, the smooth potato, fresh aubergine & hearty meat makes this dish heartwarming.
Another our main course was Chicken Souvlaki, a popular Greek food consisting of well seasoned small pieces of meat and vegetables grilled to perfection on a skewer.
For dessert we tried Karidopita – Walnut pie served with pine tree ice cream. It is moist, favorful & mouthwatering scented with the aromas and blends of cinnamon & drenched in syrup. The ice cream add a kick to the cake.
Another dessert we ordered is Siropiasta a traditional Greek sweets with pistachio ice cream.
Throughout our dinner, we heard glasses broken, initially we thought either guest or waiter made mistake however shattered glass sound kept on few times, and the guests were dancing happily to the live band instead of worrying the shattered glass on the floor. Later on only we realize it was a Greek tradition.
It is said to be good spirits and fun. Some believe that breaking plates can ward off evil spirits or, at a wedding reception, bring good luck. Others just smash plates to show their appreciation for the band that’s accompanying their revelry. Breaking plates is also an act which implies abundance.
To end our dinner, Mr Kostas offered us a Greek coffee. Overall food were sumptuous, tavern style type instead of fine dining making guest comfortable & an experience of home for some. Guests are also welcome to dance & enjoy themselves.
The knowledgeable & friendly staff makes it a surplus as we were introduced to a variety of new Greek cuisine that we never tried before. Definitely, it’s Greek to us!
Acropolis Abu Dhabi