This week, Pam and I decided it was time to get our Greek on, so on a friend's recommendation, we set out for Souvlaki Grill II, located at 523 25th St. in West Palm Beach for lunch. Here's our report:
PAM: The restaurant is located on a busy thoroughfare between US Hwy 1 and Dixie Highway. It's in the Northwood area, where you'll find a variety of unique, colorful shops and eateries with attractive curb-appeal.
GERRY: On street parking in front of the restaurant is at a premium, but cars tend to move in and out quickly enough. We snagged a place, immediately, across the street from the entrance.
PAM: The exterior clearly identifies the place as Greek, through blue and white colors with distinctive, Greek-style lettering. Stepping inside, there are a few metal tables, and a small counter with seats facing the window. If you prefer to dine al fresco, there are tables on the sidewalk as well. We chose indoors, as the weather looked threatening. It was a wise choice as the skies opened up and poured rain midway through our lunch. Large menus are placed above the order/preparation area, so I had to step away in order to peruse the selections. I tried not to be overwhelmed on this first visit.
GERRY: You place your order at the counter and when ready, the food is delivered to your table. A lot of their business seems to be take-out, which looked to be very popular.
PAM: As I warned the friendly staffer behind the counter who was prepared to take my order, this was our first time, so she offered to go over the menu with me. I would never have asked her to do such a task during busy lunch time, but it was an appreciated gesture.
GERRY: They do have an extensive menu -- pretty much anything Greek you would want. I overheard a diner raving about their grilled octopus. I'll have to take their word for that; octopus is a little out of my wheelhouse!
PAM: I kept it simple by ordering a Greek sandwich, with a side of Greek potatoes. It arrived as ordered, wrapped in a cone of paper-grilled chicken, fully-loaded, on soft, warm pita bread. The filling was ample, spilling onto the plate. I am very picky about how potatoes are prepared. Many times they are so completely over-cooked there is no taste. The Greek potatoes I ordered on the side were cooked and seasoned to perfection. Delicious. Drinking from Styrofoam is not my favorite, but the iced tea was fresh and tasty.
GERRY: I went with the Souvlaki Chicken Platter, which came with two large skewers of grilled chicken, Greek or Caesar salad (I went with Greek) and one side dish ( I opted for the Greek potatoes). The Greek salad arrived first, and it was a bowl of deliciousness. Tomatoes, lettuce, olives, red onions and feta cheese, which I happily passed to Pam (she loves her cheeses). The chicken was flavorful and tender, and I agree -- the Greek potatoes were topnotch. So much goodness.
PAM: No room for dessert on this restaurant excursion. Maybe next time, but I would rather just have more Greek potatoes! I see many return visits to Souvlaki’s. Dine in or take-out!
GERRY: I second that!
PALM BEACH GARDENS_Our quest to sample strip-mall restaurants this week took us to Italy by way of Palm Beach Gardens, with a stop at Giovanni's. Located adjacent to the Home Depot at 3900 Northlake, Giovanni's has been serving up authentic Italian cuisine for 18 years.
PAM: There is ample free parking, and the location is excellent, as it is in the same strip center as Home Depot (for Gerry, and True Treasures, a home goods consignment store, for me).
GERRY: Shopping and dining sharing a parking lot -- a classic two-for-one.
PAM: The restaurant is intimate, but not so small you share conversation with other diners. Large windows front the parking lot, so watching people coming and going to Home Depot is added entertainment. I enjoyed having lunch at a table with a real tablecloth. Fittingly, it was red. You get the Italian vibe without it being overdone. The music piping through their audio system was not what I expected. I am old-school in that I wanted to hear Dean or Frank kind of music. A small nit-pick.
GERRY: When you enter, it just feels Italian. You walk down a short corridor to be seated, which opens into a dining room where the tables, as you said, have real tablecloths. The placemats even have fun facts about Italy. Agree with the unusual music selections -- didn't expect rap while dining Italian.
PAM: As we opted for an early 11:30 lunch, the place was not busy, and we were invited to sit at any of the square tables. The round tables hold more people. Our server was prompt to deliver menus, and check on our drink order, which was iced tea. She was efficient, and friendly.
GERRY: I second that. Our server took good care of us throughout the meal. Quick refills on the iced tea, and you know how I love my iced tea.
PAM: We ordered garlic bread with cheese to get things rolling. It arrived in a basket and was fresh and generously seasoned. I do prefer my bread to be more lightly toasted, as I feel if over-toasted it loses a bit of flavor. Still, the soft portion was delicious. My selection of breaded chicken breast parmigiana, with a side of pasta, arrived and the serving was huge. I opted for penne, and it was covered in just enough sauce to allow the perfectly cooked pasta to shine. The sauce on both the chicken and pasta was absolute perfection for my taste. I sprinkled a few red pepper flakes and dry Parmesan over the top. It was not needed.
GERRY: I liked the crunch on the garlic bread, which also featured the optional mozzarella cheese. My choice of entree was breaded chicken Milanese with a side of angel hair spaghetti.. There was enough food for two people! My chicken was cooked perfectly, and so tender. I also loved the pasta sauce. We had to have two to-go boxes for sure.
PAM: Tiramisu is a favorite, and each restaurant brings their own flair. Naturally, I had to order it to sample their version. However, after making a significant dent in my entree, the dessert was packed-up, along with my remaining food, for the ride home. Eaten later, their version of Tiramisu is excellent.
VERDICT: Giovanni's remains one of our favorite places for Italian, and a great value to boot. We had two drinks, an appetizer, two entrees and dessert for less than $35. Try it, and like us, you'll be a regular, too.
Visit their website.
From left: Garlic Bread, Chicken Parmigiana and Chicken Milanese
Here at North Palm Beach Life, we are always sitting around, thinking up schemes. Sometimes they even work, then again. Hence, Summer 2021, as we try and exit the unending pandemic, we decide to seek new-to-us restaurants to sample that also are located in strip malls.
Our first restaurant on the list was recommended by two friends we trust. Why? Because they have taste. So we head for lunch at Golden Pavilion, located in a strip center at 201 US Highway 1, in Jupiter. Here's our take:
PAM: Of course, Gerry and I arrived at what could be considered breakfast in some circles, 11:30. We had the place all to ourselves. More arrived as the clock pressed on, and several take-out orders zipped past our table.
GERRY: One thing we liked right away is the serene atmosphere and Zen-like vibe. You could feel your shoulders begin to lower.
PAM: The first thing to note is I am a slow eater. Slow Always have been, and the food came fast at the Golden Pavilion.
GERRY: It did come fast, and it should be noted we had good service throughout the meal. Our wait-person made sure we had plenty of tea and was attentive without being intrusive.
They offer a good selection of lunch specials in the $7-8 range, which includes soup and rice. While we looked at the menu, our server brought us a bowl of fried won-ton and two sauces, one sweet and one spicy. We started with an order of Steamed Pork Dumplings (delicious), iced tea, Won-Ton Soup, Honey Chicken with Steamed Rice (Pam), Sweet and Sour Chicken with Fried Rice (Gerry) and of course, fortune cookies.
Our overall impression:
ATMOSPHERE/DECOR: Pleasant, calm, inviting.
SERVICE: Prompt and efficient.
FOOD: Hot, delicious and lots of it.
VALUE: Four stars (our of 4).
PAM: Now, back to my eating like a land-turtle.: I could not finish one thing before another arrived.
The upside with lingering over my food? Dinner is all set for tonight. Love those take-out containers!