Last Update
Oct 24th, 2019

Greek Islands Taverna

3300 N Ocean Blvd
Fort Lauderdale FL, 33308
(954) 565-5505
Overall Rating
2.5
Food
Service
Ambiance
Value
Last Review
10/22/2019

Details

Dress Code: Casual
Parking: Private Lot
CC: Yes
Alcohol: Full Bar
Outdoor: Yes
Reservations: No
Delivery: No

Pros

Decent Greek Food
Lunch Specials are a Good Deal

Cons

Disinterested Service
Inconsistent Food
Weak Lunch Menu
Full Menu isn't as Good a Value as it once Was

Critic's Review

There used to be multiple places in this city to get a decent Gyro, now there's one. Everything else is junk. Since most places force you to buy unwanted fries with a takeout Gyro, I might as well go to a restaurant.

The majority of the parking lot is in the rear; there's no rear entrance to the building.

It was 88 degrees but I don't like eating inside in this restaurant; the patio after 2p is more tranquil.

The hostess tried to seat me right in front of the service station; I asked for a table back a bit further. She said "No, the server would have to walk too far", so she sat me at a table in the other direction. 5 minutes later she sat a group of 4 at the exact table she said I couldn't have.

Iced Tea comes in short glasses.

Bread and hummus comes with Lunch; this used to be a real treat but the bread isn't as good now nor is the hummus.

Not bad, but kind of chunky and half-assed. This stuff used to be so good I'd want to finish all of it without concern for the bread calories. This batch was a bit off.

The Gyro lunch is $10 and comes with a side; none of the sides really go with a Gyro, so I get the "tomato salad" so I can add extra tomatoes and red onion to the Gyro.

This Gyro had the Tzatziki on it as if it was takeout; I had to ask for extra sauce on the side. Fewer red onions also; luckily I had the tomato salad.

The "salad" today featured over-marinated tomatoes and was kind of sloppy. Not as nice as the last time I got it.

I like a lot of sauce. This Gyro was pretty good, but not great. The sauce didn't have enough bite and the meat didn't seem freshly grilled.

Overall, not a bad deal for $10. Not the best Gyro I've ever had but better than what you get anywhere else around here.

Conclusion

The Greek Islands Taverna offers an essentially identical experience over many years; the food is just "OK" and sometimes it's better than others. I probably wouldn't come here for dinner but the lunch deal isn't bad if you want one of the limited choices.

Review 10/8/15

In the land of the blind, the one-eyed man is king. In a town with few places to find a good value that serves edible food, there's Greek Islands Taverna.

It's getting to that time of year when eating outside is plausible; mid 80s, no tourists or snowbirds around. I hadn't been here in almost 2 years.

The weird thing about this place is that the hostess stand is in the middle of the restaurant. You can enter via the patio, the bar or the main dining room, but you'll have to walk through the restaurant to get to the hostess no matter what you do. It's like they made a mistake when they built the restaurant and they've never fixed it. So you walk into the restaurant and nobody seems to care until you get to the hostess. If you don't know where it is, you'll just wander around until someone points it out.

Inexplicably, the inside was quite crowded and there was nobody on the patio. I get that when it's 92; but not on a beautiful fall day. I ask for a seat outside; the hostess tries to seat me right in front of the door; I point further down and get something where I won't have to watch servers running in and out of the main room.

They've added some blue vinyl tablecloths; seems like a downgrade to me. The patio was pretty slick before.

A curt server comes over and asks if I know what I want. i ask for an iced tea. She seems annoyed that I don't know what I'm eating yet. I take a quick look at the lunch menu and realize that the "deals" are no longer very good deals. "I'll need a minute".

The salmon salad has ballooned to $15, as has the 1/2 chicken. When you think about it, $9 for a Gyro with 1 side is no bargain; what's a Gyro normally, $7? We'll I've never had a Gyro here before, so I went for that.

A runner brings out the complimentary hummus, one of the reasons to come here.

The bread shrinks every time; it's almost all crust, which isn't ideal. The hummus was a little dry today, but still better than everybody elses. It's one-eyed man hummus.

Music is Greek; Peggy Zina and Yiannas Kotsiras belt out the classics. The Gyro comes out immediately.

I didn't know what a "tomato salad" was going to be, but it appears to be a mini horiatiki salad, which is better than the four day old beans that are the other vegetable option. I'm surprised that there's no tomato on the Gyro; lettuce but no tomato? Seems backwards. Luckily I have the tomato salad.

A pretty good side dish. I like the lemon potatoes, but they don't really go with a Gyro. I always ask for sauce on the side, because if you don't, they don't give you enough. 100% of the time. You need a lot of Tzatziki on a Gyro. It's the entire point of the sandwich.

The meat was kinda dry; the Tzatziki had a nice bite, but it wasn't the best I've ever had. A one-eyed man Gyro for sure.

Three issues with eating outside. First is the road noise. Sirens, engines v-rooming, construction noise. It's really quite bad. Then there's the bugs. Flies and nats try to eat your food. Swatting is part of the experience. Then there's the black birds. They probably should get rid of the bushes and put up a wall, which would solve all 3 problems.

The only other time I saw my server was when she swooped in to fill my iced tea. I was almost done at the time, and she didn't think to check on me for the next 20 minutes. I finished up and waited. And waited. I finally got the hostesses' attention through the window and she sent someone out to bring my tab.

$3 for an iced tea. That's the big trick now; $3 for colored water with a $9 lunch. Still a good value for $12. But not as good; or as good a deal, as it used to be.

Conclusion

Greek Islands Taverna used to be a great value restaurant with better than average food in a town where average food is a Big Find. When I think about it, the lunch menu is very weak in terms of offerings, and $10 for a quarter chicken isn't a tremendous value. And $3 is what the rip-off restaurants charge for an iced tea.

Review 11/20/13

The Thasos / Greek Island Taverna controversy turned into a non-event when Thasos opened a fancy restaurant with high prices that doesn't exactly compete with this place. One thing good about Greek Islands Taverna is that you can go to lunch at 2:45pm and the place will be half full; when most Fort Lauderdale restaurants are either on break or cleaning up for dinner. I usually sit on the patio, which I prefer, but today I sat inside. I hate sitting inside; it's small cramped and every table is a bad one.

The hostess stand is in the middle of the room, although she doesn't actually ever stand there. From my vantage point I could see the reason; the servers are constantly huddled in the kitchen, which explains the pervasively shoddy service.

I asked for but did not receive extra lemon in my iced tea; such requests are missed here.

One of the really good things here is the hummus; it's the best in town. And they serve it with good, softish bread so you don't risk breaking your teeth on overly zealous crusts.

The bread makes any lunch here enough. They have pretty good lunch specials; about half of what you'll pay at Thasos; I went off the lunch menu and ordered the Octopus, a $16 appetizer. It comes out on a plate that's a bit smaller than it should be.

It's notably hot and freshly char-grilled. This would be a lot better if they used good oil; but they use very light, bland tasting oil; probably the kind that comes in a big can. This was $14 not too long ago; they do give a good portion, but it was fair at best. There are better things to order in this place.

Review 6/25/13

After all of the hullaballoo surrounding Thasos, it was time to re-visit Greek Islands. I don't really like coming here during peak hours, as they tend to try to seat you at the bar or a bad table if you're on your own. At 2:45 the place is pretty empty.

On a 90 degree day, there's just enough air flow on the patio to be tolerable; I think when it gets to 98 it will be too hot to dine on this patio.

Another good thing about dining at 3pm is that the service is better. They tend to be overmatched here. Iced tea arrived with the dreaded sliver of lemon; don't they know that you can't squeeze a sliver of lemon with getting it all over your hands?

Lunch is served with the complimentary bread and hummus; the hummus is excellent here. I usually just taste the bread, but I polished this off by the time I left.

The food here isn't OMG by any means; today I ordered the ribs, which are offered as either an appetizer or you can get a full rack with green beans and potatoes. I went for the rack.

It's nice to get ribs that aren't dredged in BBQ sauce once in a while. There are a lot of ribs, not very meaty and not quite lemony enough, but good nonetheless.

The green beans were fresher than usual; the first time I had these here they seemed days old.

Again, the potato wasn't quite lemony enough to be fantastic; but still a veritable offering. Stewed beans should be better; they put something in them that ruins them; garlic, onions, tomatoes and celery should be fool-proof. You'll need salt at the very least.

Sadly there's always a service issue here. My server seemed to forget me as she didn't re-appear until well after I was ready to go.

$23 for a solid lunch. I've had better, but I've more often had worse. For the same price as Thasos, where I left feeling cheated; I went home full with a box of leftover ribs.

Review 5/18/2012

In a town being overrun by Mexican restaurants, when you talk about Greek Food in Fort Lauderdale, there's always some mention of the Greek Islands Taverna. With Opa closed, there really aren't any other choices currently in this part of town.

The new big thing at Greek Islands is their new open-air patio. It's really just a hard top roof over a tiled floor.

I was a little disappointed in the patio. The chairs look cool but they're not very comfortable. It's also open-air, so on a real hot day I'd rather have air conditioning than fans. They have A/C vents; I'm not sure how well A/C works for an outdoor patio. It's also REALLY noisy; you're about 10 feet from A1A, so walls would be better.

This is a very popular lunch place; on a Friday at 2pm the parking lot was 80% full. I don't like the inside of this place; there's a bar area and a small dining room; you're either sitting near the bar, right in front of the entrance or in front of the kitchen/server area. They have a lunch menu that isn't such a great deal; but better than their regular menu. A GYRO with rice for $9 isn't a draw to me, and their 1/2 chicken lunch is the same price as their 1/2 chicken dinner. I asked about the Greek Salad with Chicken Breast, hoping that they were separate, but my server indicated that it was thrown on top. It's not really what I wanted, but I ordered it anyway.

While I was waiting I got some bread with hummus. The hummus was really good. There were 2 kinds of bread; regular white italian bread and some sort of whole wheat version. I ended up eating all of the bread; something I rarely do.

In between the sounds of speeding vehicles, real Greek music fills the air. Nuxtoulouloudo, Th' Afisei Epoxi. Better than house music. Finally my server dumps the plate on my table.

It was a big salad and a good sized piece of chicken; a horiatiki salad which was somewhat unexpected. Without lettuce and with only 3 small triangles of cheese, the salad was awkward; chicken just doesn't work well with this kind of salad. The chicken had no flavor itself; salt was badly needed; the dressing on the salad was weak. While they claim that they make their Horiatiki salad with olive oil; this was more like a bottled italian. After all of the bread and hummus, I ended up taking 1/2 of the "salad" home.

Review 5/24/10

In a town with more than one pretty good Greek restaurant, theres Greek Islands Taverna. No conversation about Greek Food in Fort Lauderdale seems to escape some mention of this place by someone in the group. It was time to give it a try.

At dinner time they get pretty big crowds, so I decided to try a late lunch. They have lunch specials from 11am to 3pm so I came a bit after 2pm; usually when things are thinning out. The place was pretty empty. But the hostess said if I wanted a table Id have to sit at a somewhat uncomfortable table in front of the door. Strike one. If theres one thing that really irritates me its when you cant get a decent table in an empty restaurant. Were they expecting a big crowd at 2:45? This is what happens when you hire teenage girls who are unable to make rational decisions to manage the tables. I decided Id rather sit at the bar. They have a decent sized bar and a TV thats seems to be a popular place to the few people in here at this hour.

I decided on 1/4 grilled chicken, white meat, with sides of green beans and ladoregano potatoes. While I was waiting I got some bread with hummus. The hummus was garlicy and very good. There were 2 kinds of bread; regular white italian bread and some sort of whole wheat version. The whole wheat didnt work with the hummus at all.

Finally the food arrived.

The chicken was 1/2 of a breast and a wing. It had a good char-broiled taste and it was cooked just right. Most of the greek seasoning was left on the skin, so if you dont eat the skin youll miss it. The beans were a limp dissappointment; way overcooked, with some peas, celery and equally overcooked squash included. Theres no point in eating vegetables that have all of the nutrients cooked out. The potatoes were reminiscent of my Moms broiled potatoes; while there was physical evidence of seasoning there was no particular flavoring other than potatoes; salt and pepper dressed them up fine; but it wasnt the lemon/oregano seasoning I was hoping for.

Well maybe they have the best lamb chops this side of the Mississippi; or maybe its just a tall tale. They deserve another try just based on lore, but as an overall experience I wasnt particularly impressed.

Comment Policy Add Comment
Terri
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The people who rave about this place have never had real Greek Food. I've had the lamb chops. They're ok, but no better than what you get at take out places either.
Jeremy
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I've eaten here a couple of times and thoroughly enjoyed my meal. As you mentioned, the bread and hummus they serve is fantastic. For entrees, they have a delicious stuffed pepper entree served with rice that is only $13 or $14 for dinner. Another couple of times I had fish (excellent again), and some friends I was with raved about their lamb chops. However, I agree with you on the service there - they are slow and not very attentive.
Sandra
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I eat at Greek Islands at least twice a week. The food is the best there is. It is no coincidence that the place has people standing in line constantly. They don't do that for bad food. Sometimes the service is not the best but it depends on the server. Good luck to the guy across the street - to me it's like opening a new stone crab place across from Joe's! You need to have your head examined!

Administrator
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After not having anything that's very authentically Greek in 2 visits, I can't agree. This place is ok for lunch.

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