Don't be surprised if you actually get a hug on your first visit to Pinelopi's Greek Kitchen. It's a small restaurant that skillfully evokes the freshness and flavours of home-style Greek cooking, dished up with genuine warmth and hospitality.
Owner Penny Palermo is proud to present fare based on traditional recipes she learned as a child, cooking with her mother. With more than a dozen years in the restaurant business, Penny clearly knows what works and has carefully applied it to her newest venture. The portions are generous, prices are fair and the atmosphere resembles a cozy Greek taverna where you're apt to end up in conversation with the folks at the next table.
The menu is packed with customary Greek favourites including delicious appetizers such as house-made tzatziki, grilled loukanikio (a tasty Greek sausage) and the world-renowned saganaki, which is kefalotyri cheese melted in a small frying pan then flambéed tableside with brandy. "Of course, we tell anyone who orders it that they cannot have it unless they shout the customary cheer of ‘Saganaki Opa!' when it is being presented," jokes Penny.
For mains, both lunch and dinner menus offer a pleasing range of options, from souvlaki to fish to oven-roasted lamb and more. Pinelopi's also serves up some of the best fried calamari to be had in Ottawa, along with succulent moussaka in both meat and vegetarian versions.
"Our signature dish, which we created ourselves, is Santorini chicken. It's a boneless breast stuffed with spinach and feta cheese, lightly dusted in flour, then baked and topped with a creamy roasted-red pepper sauce," explains Penny. Moist, tender and delectable, it's little wonder that this dish is one of Pinelopi's best sellers.
A variety of salads and sweet treats round out the menu, including baklava and Penny's personal favourite, galactobouriko - a confection composed of phyllo pastry, vanilla custard and cinnamon, topped with a honey-based syrup. The wine selection will suit a range of tastes including several that pair particularly well with Greek food.
Pinelopi's Greek Kitchen is wheelchair accessible and is located at 4100 Strandherd Drive (at Cedarview) in Barrhaven. Visit www.pinelopis.ca or call 613.843.1111. Takeout and catering available.