Since I left Chicago, what I’ve missed most, besides the friends I’ve grown up with, is the plethora of family owned, moderately priced ethnic restaurants. This area of southwest Florida isn’t exactly a melting pot of ethnicity, other than the large Hispanic community. While there are terrific higher end restaurants serving fusion, contemporary, etc, and plenty of crab shacks with great fried foods, we are sorely lacking the wonderful hole in the wall Chinese, Vietnamese, Thai, Indian, Greek, etc. type places found in larger cities. However, to my delight, I can now cross Greek off that list.
Zorba’s, located in Sunshine Plaza on Bonita Beach Rd. just east of 41, isn’t actually a hole in the wall, but feels like it would be right at home on Halsted St. in Greektown, in Chicago. It’s a relaxed, Greek Islands type atmosphere, where members of the family owners are always there to greet you upon entering and checking up on you during the course of the meal.
With MsRev out of town I wasn’t able to sample many menu items. A good start was the spicy feta dip, served with warm pita. I gazed longingly at a flaming saganiki being served at the table next to me. They serve a respectable Greek salad. Avgolemono, egg lemon soup, was one of the best renditions I’ve ever had. My entrée was a special for the evening (they say it’s regularly offered during the season), charcoal grilled whole red snapper with herbs, lemon, and olive oil. The fish was cooked beautifully, and reminded me of similar meals overlooking the Aegean Sea from the cliffs of Santorini. It was presented with nondescript, but well cooked rice and green beans in a nice tomato sauce, ubiquitous in Chicago Greek restaurants).
Zorba’s location in the strip mall had always been a deterrence to me, not believing that a serious Greek restaurant would be located so close to Ace Hardware. However, all the cooking is from scratch and I will return soon to try some other items of interest such as their grilled octopus and lamb dishes. Opaa!