Andrea’s View: The Greek Islands Restaurant on the south side of downtown is an island in itself. Albeit a bright blue island. For all that surrounds it, the restaurant seems to stand alone. Across an alleyway is Shapiro’s Deli, and Lucas Oil Stadium is so close that you could throw a rock at it from the restaurant’s parking lot. (Please do not throw a rock at the stadium, that may be an arrestable offense.) But the big blue building on Meridian Street seems to stand alone. It wasn’t always this way. As a child, I remember always wanting to eat at the Greek Islands. Whenever my parents and I were downtown, or when we were entertaining out-of-town guests, we always ate at Shapiro’s. Not that there is anything wrong with Shapiro’s, it is an Indianapolis institution, but the Greek Islands, with its blue facade, held a mesmerizing fascination for me. So now that I am in my late thirties, I finally got my wish and I was not disappointed. Dave and I were warmly greeted the moment we walked in the door. The dining room looks as though it is decorated the same way as it was when it opened. But for some reason, that adds to the charm. We ordered florinis for our appetizer. These are roasted red peppers stuffed with feta and served with pita bread. It was sweet, and it was salty, and it was perfect. After we gorged on this very large appetizer, our server brought us a loaf of bread and salads. The bread was hot and fresh and delicious. The salads were fresh and crisp. After this, our server brought out our extremely large entrées. I said out loud, “Oh my God, look at all that food!” To this, our server replied, “We don’t want you to walk away hungry.” No kidding. I felt like my greek grandmother (I don’t have a greek grandmother) was standing over me saying “Eat, eat, you’re too skinny.” My very large entrée was souvlaki. This is a marinated pork kabob with peppers, onions, and tomatoes. This was served with a side of potatoes, rice and green beans. The potatoes were out of this world, and don’t even know how they were prepared or how to describe them. The kabob was incredible although I could barely eat half of it. Our server returned with to-go boxes and asked, “Dessert?” I actually thought about it for a split second and then declined. As Dave and I were leaving, we noticed an employee, maybe an owner or family member, taking out some trash and taking a break in the parking lot that stands in the shadow of Lucas Oil Stadium. He looked sad and lonely. He had a right to be as no man is an island. And this fine restaurant, with its wonderful food and amazing service, shouldn’t be either.
Dave’s view: There is a blue dot located southeast of Lucas Oil stadium. Surrounded by patches of open fields and other small buildings, this blue dot, the Greek Islands Restaurant, is a diamond in the rough. You can tell from the outside that this restaurant has been around for a long time. But lately, it seems lonely. Like Indianapolis has forgotten it’s long-lost son. Well, it’s time to come back with open arms.
When Andrea and I walked into the restaurant, it looked like the restaurant was getting a remodel in some areas, but this added to the feeling of the run down restaurants like they have in Greece or Italy. The wait staff is extremely attentive, but not overly pushy either. It was the perfect balance of excellent service coupled with “will the blue building fall down on my head” theory. So now to the food:
For starters: Florinis. It is roasted bell peppers stuffed with feta cheese drizzled with olive oil. The dish must be labor intensive. The peppers have no skins nor ribs so I believe they must have been roasted, the skins peeled off, then stuffed, then roasted again . When you do this, you get incredibly sweet peppers combined with salty feta cheese and the taste is out of this world. One of the best appetizers I’ve had in Indianapolis!
My main dish was Exoheko. It’s pork loin in dry wine wrapped in phyllo dough. Inside the phyllo dough, the pork cooks to perfection and then they added cheese, carrots, celery, and peas to the mix. When you dive your fork into this flaky concoction, you have a meal made in heaven. The entrée also comes with sides of green beans, rice and greek potatoes. The potatoes were by far the best of the three. Impeccably cooked with the right amount of spices.
Service: 9 Food: 9 Ambiance 8: Total: 26 out of 30
$70-$90 with adult beverages.
Note: It’s right across from a teamster’s hall. If you don’t like the restaurant, remember there’s a stadium near by and you don’t want to become a part of an end zone.