Haute Dining SF: Kokkari Estiatorio, Upscale Greek

Admittedly, I am not a huge fan of Greek food. While I do absolutely love pita bread and hummus, beyond that I have never had a craving for their flavors. I was hesitant to try Kokkari due to this fact, but was willing to give this upscale Greek restaurant my full attention.

The restaurant is located on Jackson Street, tucked away from the hustle and bustle of the Financial District. The restaurant itself is both elegant and welcoming. We were seated in the Saloni room next to the giant brick hearth. At the time fireplace was rotating whole chickens on a spit. I had never seen such a feature in a restaurant before and I think it adds a fantastic ambiance. It’s also a nice way to see their daily special roasting away.

I also really enjoyed their seating. I was seated on a giant cushioned bench, while the remainder of the table sat upon giant arm chairs. They have a variety of these fabric arm chairs scattered around the room and I thought the mix-matched patterns brought a homey feel to the room.

The waitress was not only extremely friendly, but very knowledge of the dishes as well. This was fantastic as I am not familiar with Greek food. She was able to walk me through the menu and help me order dishes that I would enjoy.

For appetizers we ordered their grilled meatballs, spanakotiropita, and house made pita with a variety of dipping sauces. The grilled meatballs contained both beef and lamb, and while I have never taken to lamb, I found the combination of meats to be very flavorful. The spanakotiropita’s filo had a wonderful crisp to the outside and balanced well with the spinach, feta, leeks and dill filling. Their homemade pita was the best I have ever had. It was warm and fluffy and just plain wonderful. I am glad the pita dish wasn’t placed directly in front of me, because I would have consumed the entire plate.

For an entrée I choose the chicken souvlaki, which is essentially a chicken skewer, roasted with peppers and onions with a side of potatoes. It came with a Greek yogurt dipping sauce with balanced well with the flavor of the chicken.

I really enjoyed my experience at Kokkari Estiatorio so much that I may even start to crave Greek food in the future.

Kokkari Estiatorio is located at 200 Jackson St., San Francisco. For reservations call 415.981.0983 or visit their website at www.kokkari.com.