Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Parea Taverna Restaurant

Food: Greek, Mediterranean.
Wine: Not long, but some fairly interesting choices.
Service: Average. I don't expect more than in the average Johannesburg restaurant but get good surprises at times.
Ambiance: Relaxed and homey.
In a Nutshell: Good food done right, average wine list and service. Excellent and fresh ingredients with variety of unpretentious choices. Budget is average, but can result quite costly if you go for some of the more fancy items on the Menu. Our neighborhood favorite! Don't miss: Grilled Halloumi, Grilled Whole Fish, Break a Plate!
Where: 3 Corlett Drive, Illovo. Johannesburg, South Africa.
Tel: 011 788 8777

The first time I visited Parea I wasn't impressed by its exteriors, but figured it would probably be the food that would impress me, and it turned out to be exactly the case.

I really came to experience Greek food in South Africa and I think I have really embraced the sharing principle around it, so when in a Greek Restaurant I rarely order a main and prefer to go for the Mezze, so I can try a bit of everything. There are many dishes that I can recall from my first time there, although there are mainly three that really stroke me on my first visit: the Calamari, the Halloumi and the Grilled Whole Fish!

My husband is allergic to the Calamari legs, so I don't usually order these, but the other two are a no brainer for us, and every time we get a feel for that taste and can make a escape, we run for the door, cross the street and land up at Alex' door, craving his straightforward, unpretentious, yet incredible meals where it's all about the ingredients!

I can't really give you a single narration about my Parea Experience with head and toes, and it's not because my memory has started to fail, but rather because we have spent so many special and indulging moments at Parea, that it is all in my mind as one big pot of tasty, relaxed and enjoyable memories.

Service is usually good but can lack at times, specially when busy, yet the waitresses (yes they're all girls) are usually friendly and their smiles, together with the owners' attentions, will most likely make up for any mishaps.

On Fridays and Saturdays there's live entertainment including greek dancing with fire on the floor, plate-breaking and belly dancing. This part of it is also quite amusing as many of us end up making our way to the "dance corner" to show-off our moves (not at all impressing after the very challenging precedent of a belly dancer!).

As with everything, restaurant preference is a matter of personal taste, but I have a feeling that if you're reading this, then you probably share my taste for good food, and you'll be sure to find it there. As much as I feel the bad experiences should be shared, so people can be warned on the kind of experience they may expect, I also think it is only fair to give places and people the recognition they deserve, so this is not about praise. As a matter of fact, I did complain once when I found my portion of Halloumi looking much smaller than usual and somewhat cold, nevertheless the matter was attended to spot on and before I could blink I had right in front of me the exact Halloumi I came in the door expecting. Speak up and often you shall be heard!

Note: I never have this problem as I live literally within walking distance of Parea, but parking seems to be a common issue for this neighborhood restaurants, so please book for the first sitting or be prepared to be patient.

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