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Restaurant lunch highlights:

Taziki's Mediterranean Café

Taziki's Mediterranean Café

Mushroom butter slows lunch letdown

By Mike Sanford, GLOB Editor

TazikiSFaI was excited thinking my lunch at the new Tazikis Mediterranean Café in Butler Plaza was going to be a teachable moment for the GLOB Master. You know, a smart lunch hour about eating healthy and learning about the positive features of the Mediterranean diet.

I've admired friends and lunch outers extolling the virtues of plant-based foods like fruits and vegetables, whole grains, legumes and nuts and a enjoying minimum portions of meat proteins.

The Mayo Clinic has a great web page about the Mediterranean Diet summarizing the diet with simple points:

- Eating primarily plant-based foods, such as fruits and vegetables, whole grains, legumes and nuts
- Replacing butter with healthy fats such as olive oil and canola oil
- Using herbs and spices instead of salt to flavor foods
- imiting red meat to no more than a few times a month
- Eating fish and poultry at least twice a week
- Enjoying meals with family and friends
- Drinking red wine in moderation (optional)
- Getting plenty of exercise

That might seem like a long list of TO DOs. But it really is just a good, sensible, approach to eating.

Tazikis Mediterranean Café recently opened and their online website mentions there are also four sister restaurants in North Florida with three in located in Jacksonville, and one in Tallahassee.

I experienced a unique sense of déjà vu walking into the Taziki's and taking my place at the end of the food line. To my left two rows of booths and some tables along the windowed wall created the restaurant/dining component of this assembly line, franchise restaurant model.

 

TxakisDINING

I used the term restaurant carefully as the three rows of 'lunch cubes' with tiny tables could have easily been described as institutional work, er, uh . . . food stations.

I use déjà vu because it was just a few months ago I was in Butler Plaza's Keke's Breakfast Café and they had the exact same set-up. Do you think there is a factory somewhere cranking out manufactured restaurant pods 24 hours, seven days a week GLOBers?

Taking my place in line I was perplexed the obligatory giant wall, lighted menus behind the food counters were missing in this lunch stop.

TazikisMENUbrd"There will be no questions today," I thought to myself as I hear a voice waft up behind the counter.'

"The menus are on the wall behind you," the voice rang out in an indifferent tone of choice.

Gainesville Lunch Out Blog's Tazikis Mediterranean Café lunch TIP: Be sure you check out a TMC menu online before you head to Tazaki's lunch.

Speaking of the TMC menu it is an interesting collection of Gyro sandwiches, six entrees they say are from their Mediterranean Deli and a longer lists of entrees they call Taziki's Feasts served with a Greek salad, roasted new potatoes or Basamiti rice. Feast prices range from $11 - $13 and included beef, chicken, and seafood entrees. Of note for me were the Grilled Beef tenders ($12.99), and the Grilled Tilapia ($10.99).

The Lamb & Skordalia Gyro with roasted red peppers and grilled onions ($9.99), caught my eye. There is no explanation in what Skordalia is so thanks to the world-wide-web, and Wikipedia:

Skordialia is a thick puree (or sauce, dip, spread, etc.) in Greek cuisine made by combining crushed garlic with a bulky base—which may be a purée of potatoes,[1] walnuts, almonds, or liquid-soaked stale bread—and then beating in olive oil to make a smooth emulsion. Vinegar is often added.

A Greek, and a Mediterranean salad are on the menu along with a unique sounding homemade Greek lemon chicken soup. The salads are reasonably priced at $7.49. You can add a meat or seafood protein to your salad for an additional charge. There is a Taziki Soup and Salad special for $7.99.  The side items sounded tasty and certainly different with roasted new potatoes, and Basmati rice.

Lastly there is a Daily Specials menu for lunch outers with a different sandwich Monday – Thursday. Friday – Sunday the Taziki'a Signature Pasta is the special with A bed of mixed lettuces with penne pasta and grilled chicken, tossed in our homemade balsamic vinaigrette, topped with tomatoes, feta, and fresh basil.

There is a complete Tazikis Mediterranean Café menu available at the restaurant menu link at the bottom of this page.

If you haven't noticed by now, "There is no frying in Mediterranean cuisine." Wasn't that a Tom Hanks movie line GLOBer . . .?

I narrowed my lunch choice down to the Monday's Chicken Portobello Sandwich special with grilled chicken, red peppers, Swiss cheese, and mushroom butter on a Kaiser roll. I added a cup of tomato cucumber salad to complete my Mediterranean mid-day meal. ($8.99)

"Mission accomplished," I thought after paying for my lunch and rounding the corner, designated lunch customer number in hand and heading to my 'mid-day lunch time stall'.

I took a table against the outside glass wall leaving me a full view of the parking spaces on the other side of Tzaki's front window into the outside world.

 

022718&zaki480

My lunch arrived quickly and I immediately noticed both the chicken pieces, and the Portobello mushroom pieces were cut Julienne like into uniform pieces fitting on my Kaiser roll covered with the mushroom butter sauce.  Actually the pieces were more like Julienne pieces on steroids.

My sandwich was over flowing with ingredients so I was happy about the idea of forgoing the Kaiser roll and eating my lunchtime sandwich with a fork.

The mushroom butter sauce was special with a subtle taste of mushrooms. Proud of my Southern heritage I will tell you this 'gravy' ladled over my planks of chicken and mushroom helped accentuate the very unremarkable main ingredients of my lunch. The melted Swiss cheese went unnoticed on the GLOB flavor meter.

 

022718Cucumber

The tomato cucumber side item elevated my feelings. The tart vinegar combined with the cucumber crunch was special and left my puckered jowls wanting more.

Looking up from my lunch I noticed the automobiles parked on the other side of the Tazikis window separating our lunch worlds.

 

022718Cars

It occurred to me if I was going to grade my Tazikis Mediterranean Café lunch it would have to be on a scale of parked cars. How about designating one car for a really disappointing lunch. Score your opinion of an exceptional lunch a five car lunch.

The mushroom gravy, er, ugh, mushroom butter, and Tomato cucumber salad are five car good. My lunch was at best a 2.5 $1000.00 car crash-up.

The Pluses and Minuses of Taziki's Mediterranean Café

Taziki's Mediterranean Café + indicators:  Taziki's gets a C+ (2.5 cars) for good concept.Mushroom butter was a good find.

Taziki's Mediterranean Café - indicators:  Interesting idea falls short in imaginitiva lunch ideas, presentation, and flavor.

Be the first to offer your GLOB comments, lunch photographs and opinions about Taziki's Mediterranean Café.  Please identify your opinions with a PLUS SIGN (+) for positive comments, and a MINUS SIGN (-) for your negative comments.  - THANKS!

Last modified onWednesday, 28 February 2018 05:19

Additional Info

  • Phone Number: 352.372.1301
  • Address: 2905 SW 42nd St., Suite 10, Gainesville, FL 32608
  • Urban GLOB Location: Archer Road
  • Latitude: 29.626777
  • Longitude: -82.386146
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1 comment

  • N Sanders
    N Sanders Tuesday, 27 February 2018 09:09 Comment Link

    I love Taziki's myself, it is always fresh and worth the wait and they give you a lot of food for your money. They even have wine and beer to go with your meal. The number of cars is not a factor to me, as I have seen many to-go-order come and go out of Taziki's. The staff is fun and very nice. I don't like that they ask for a tip before you get your meal, that is rather tacky to me.

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