Estia Restaurant Brings Greek Cuisine to SoNo

Nancy Kleeger

Gavrielides Restaurant Group, the family behind Harbor Lights, Eastside Café, and Overtons, all located in Norwalk, have added yet another egg to their already full basket of food establishments.

Recently opened “Estia”, which shows off the Gavrielides family’s Greek roots, is a welcome addition to SONO’s Washington Street.  It’s official, this tiny block now proudly boasts a veritable potpourri of cuisines, with Greek cuisine now an offering. Let’s hope Estia, along with neighboring partners in crime will continue to live up to the increasing demand for quality and sophisticated food, so SONO can continue to thrive. 

Estia’s interior is handsome.  A large floor to ceiling sliding glass window makes for a nice feature at the front…We went on a glorious day so they had the window wide open; we were able to snag the one table right next to it.  I recommend this said table for people watching (and there is good people watching in SONO), or for making a quick getaway from a bad date. 

Inside, a brick wall dominates one side of the space while the opposite side has a nice, long, inviting bar where I noticed several people having their lunch while savoring large glasses of red wine. In the back, several very beautiful large, leather booths provide more privacy for small groups, if that’s what you’re after. 

“Share and share alike:” Many of Estia's dishes are great for just this; Estia is a good choice if meeting a few friends to break bread.  Our group of four starving females ordered the Pikilia, a Greek Spread Sampler.  On a long oval plate appeared mounds of Tyrokafteri, a spicy feta dip;  Melitzanosalata, the well known grilled eggplant dip, which is coarsely chopped with lots of garlic and parsley; Hummus; and Tzatziki, a classic cool dip of strained yogurt, cucumber, dill and garlic; all served with Pita bread on the side.  The dips were “tried” and true; the plate was almost left empty. For me however, the Pita bread fell slightly short of my expectations.

Our traditional village salad, Horiatiki, had all the expected ingredients!  The tomatoes were juicy and tasty enough to carry the weight of the rest of the salad, which was good.  Although Greek salads can vary to some extent, I think it comes down to a matter of preference.  I’m not raving as I have in the past over certain Greek salads but I’m not saying it was bad at all. You really can’t go wrong ordering something this deliciously familiar.

Try the Estia chips; mandoline thin slices of zucchini and eggplant, fried, in a light tempura sort of way.  As French fries are to ketchup, Estia chips are to tzatziki!  Start dipping in as soon as they arrive at your table. The contrast of the cool, sharp dip and the warm chip makes for a great duo.  If this dish sounds familiar to you, that’s because there is a restaurant in Fairfield that serves the same dish under a different name.  If you know the name of this restaurant, email me, let me know your thoughts on whose chips reign supreme. 

A visit to a Greek restaurant is not complete without ordering some squid or octopus.  The Octopodi, fresh grilled octopus arrived in two pieces (let your imagination run wild thinking about what shape the two pieces came in). Hint: It was another long, oval plate. Personally, I like my octopus grilled in smaller pieces, but my fellow lunch-goers didn’t seem to mind.   Gingerly doused on the dish and around the plate was their vinaigrette of olive oil, red wine vinegar and fresh herbs.  This is something I hadn’t tried before on a dish like this but it made sense.  With the chewy texture of octopus, it was nice to taste something light and acidic to balance it out.  

Mousakas, a famous Greek casserole dish, which is akin to a British Shepherd Pie, had layers of ground meat and eggplant and was topped off with mashed potatoes and béchamel.  If you are in the mood for something overly filling that will warm you and give you the feeling of a home cooked meal, this will hit the spot.

We ordered the Feta Ginis: filo wrapped feta with crushed pistachios and drizzled with thyme honey.  The dish arrived looking as pretty as it sounded, although, I was hoping the dish would be slightly sweeter than it was. There were opposing opinions about this among us. Because the salty Feta comes in such a large piece, and because it was enveloped in several layers of dough, I thought it would have tasted better if there was time for the honey to seep into the filo a little more.  The crushed, green pistachios on top added both color and crunch. This is a must share dish.

After asking about a part of the wall in the front that houses their wine selection, I found out that 90% of their wine is of Greek origin.  If Greek wine doesn’t please the wine connoisseur in you, make note, they are planning on adding more Cali’s to their list soon! To view their wine menu, they will give you an iPad, which stores all the information about each individual wine, in addition to suggested pairings. Smart idea, right?  With just a click and slide, you can browse through the list while noshing on your Estia chips. (Note: The iPad does not have games for your kids who can’t sit through dinner without the urge to tech out). 

The menu has an extensive number of Appetizers and a combination of classic Entrees.  Prices for appetizers range from $6-$12 and Entrees run from $14 all the way up to $30, for their ½ rack of lamb.

For the sake of keeping things delicious on Washington Street, I raise a glass of ouzo and wish the Gavrielides family good luck with their newest egg! “Opa!”

Estia Restaurant 88 Washington Street. SoNo (Norwalk) 203-956-0101

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