December 18, 2014
Since visiting Greece in 2006, I’ve been infatuated with Greek cuisine. It should come as no surprise then that Greek Fest is my favorite Fort Wayne festival (because of the food, of course). Typically, Greek cuisine uses olive oil quite liberally, whether it is a vegetable, fish, lamb or poultry dish. Olives, cheese, eggplant, mint, garlic and yogurt are also staples in many Greek dishes. Sadly, Greek Fest comes around only once a year, but thankfully, Friends Too provides me with my fix all year round. Locally owned and operated by Niko and Ana Hatzigeorgiou, the restaurant on West Jefferson is the second location for the pair; the original, Friends, is located on Dupont Road.
In addition to traditional Greek cuisine, Friends Too has a robust menu typical of Greek diners in larger cities. I am a big fan of their breakfast options, especially the Spartan Omelette ($8.29), which is made with gyro meat, spinach, tomatoes and feta cheese.
The American Favorites section of the menu features a BBQ Rib Dinner ($17.99 for a full slab, $11.99 for half), Fried Fish ($6.99), Rotisserie Chicken ($11.99 for a whole, $7.99 for half), Pork Chops ($9.99), and Beef Manhattan ($8.99), to name a few of the selections.
Here are my favorite Greek dishes on the menu:
Marianthi’s Greek Vegetarian Plate, $9.99 – Three spanakopita, three tiropitakia, six dolmadakia and tzatziki sauce. This is the perfect dish to order if you are not sure you like Greek food. It offers an assortment of some staples and is more than enough to share. Spanakopita is spinach and feta wrapped with phyllo dough. Similarly, tiropitakia is a feta and egg mixture wrapped in layers of buttered phyllo dough. Dolmadkia are grape leaves stuffed with rice and dill and seasoned with lemon. Tzatziki sauce is to Greek food as ketchup is to American food. It consists of strained yogurt mixed with cucumbers, garlic, salt, olive oil, lemon juice and dill and is a great complement to these vegetarian options.
Dolmades, $9.99 – grape leaves stuffed with ground beef and rice, topped with an egg-lemon sauce. These tangy Greek staples are similar to dolmadkia but are loaded with beef which makes them extra satisfying and filling for meat lovers. I had my first taste of them in Greece, and the ones prepared at Friends Too give those a run for their money. For some, the texture of the grape leaves is unappealing, and I’ll admit it took me a few tries to get past it, but now dolmades rank at the top of my list when it comes to Greek cuisine.
Friends Plate for Two, $19.99 – mousaka, pastichio, two spanakopita, two tiropitakia and two pieces of pita bread. This is another dish perfect for those unsure if they like Greek food. It offers a variety of some Greek staples and is enough to share with a friend. Mousaka is a baked eggplant, potatoes and ground beef casserole topped with béchamel sauce (a roux made with butter and flour). Pastichio is a baked pasta and ground beef casserole topped with a béchamel sauce. Both mousaka ($10.99) and pastichio ($9.99) are offered on the menu separately.
Greek Salad, $7.49 – mixed greens, beets, pineapple, tomatoes, feta, kalamata olives, pepperocini, red onions, cucumbers and croutons. No Greek menu would be complete without a Greek salad, and this one delivers. The large is filling because it is loaded with veggies. A small is also available for $5.79.
Not brave enough to try a full meal? Friends Too has an extensive appetizers menu that includes hummus, tzatziki, and spicy feta dip, served with two pitas ($7.99); pork and chicken souvlaki, served with tzatziki and two pitas ($6.99); saganaki, a Greek kaseri cheese flambéed at your table and serve with two pitas ($7.99); and charbroiled octopus ($7.99).
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