It is not necessary to read the inscription above the door of the restaurant and to understand how this part of Tkalčićeva Street is dedicated to the celebration of Greek culture. The luring blue shades that adorn the entrance of the restaurant, with a simple set of white wooden tables and high chairs, created mental images of the rocky seashore and sunny waves in the middle of the narrow and bustling Tkalča. Approaching the entrance, we smelled oriental Greek spices, and the quiet sounds of their traditional music helped to complete the trick.
For the third year in a row, the street food restaurant El Greco presents the street flavours of Greece on its plates, and at the moment it is the only one that does so in the entire area of Zagreb. The once usual cafe was converted into a restaurant by the owners in 2017, thinking about what is still missing from the attractive offer of this street. And indeed, their creative entrepreneurial spirit has resulted in a successful Zagreb centrepiece of original Greek flavours, which is placed on the tables by the original Greek - Christos.
Christos is extremely committed to working in El Greco. As the head chef, it is he who combines the basic Greek ingredients and presents them with a touch of his own originality. And when someone new is hired in the restaurant, Christos's detailed education on the rules of creating Greek indigenous flavours awaits him, of course. Thus, here, on the sunny side of Central Europe, one can feel the experiences of the Greek Mediterranean, countless islands and hilly inland, always with a touch of antiquity.
And Christos lovingly prepared a selection of dishes from their intriguing offer - we tasted a creamy and light Besant salad with chicken and the addition of delicious yoghurt, as well as the Greek original salad overlaid with a large slice of feta cheese whose taste and texture go well with a rhapsody of fresh vegetables. If we had stopped for salads, we would have been really full - but we hurried to taste one of their basic specialities - Gyros, ie finely chopped pieces of pork with opus of Greek spices, served with traditional pitta bread.
As our stomachs are limited in volume, we mostly focused on tasting a new speciality, which is this year's restaurant novelty - Skepasti - a sandwich rounded with two slices of pitta bread, filled with delicious meat, vegetables and cheese. We were delighted with the newly arrived Christos treat and finished the snacks served.
In the conversation, we learned that Christos is the one who creates fresh chicken and pork into a large conical creation while adding spice mixtures according to the norms of Greek cuisine. Gyros became a very popular street food in Athens, Thessaloniki, Patras and other major Greek cities after World War II, and today it is impossible to bypass it in every corner of Greece. The word itself corresponds to the Greek verb for turning, and true masters know how to accurately determine the intensity of a fire. Greek trademarks, such as salty white feta cheese and olive calamata, are sourced from Greece itself, and the rest of the food in El Greco comes from organic sources - local family farms from Zagreb's market Dolac.
A very cute restaurant is within easy reach when walking along Tkalčićeva Street. You will get your food quickly, and you will spice up the next few minutes with the whole Levantine experience. Their products can also be ordered through the already popular Pause and Wolt apps, so if anyone is more for Greek home entertainment, they now know how to handle it!
When it comes to the future and entrepreneurial plans, they are thinking about expanding to another location in Zagreb, and maybe one day they will shine on the Croatian coast. Until then, and in the centre of the continent, El Greco atmospherically creates the illusion of the sea and waves, so we suggest you run there if as a continental you want summer sea nights and exclusive Greek dishes.
Tkalčićeva 30, Zagreb
+385 1 4848455
Photos: Daniel Milošević