In an area filled with many fancy, upscale sit-down restaurants, Souvla is a welcome addition to the Hayes Valley neighborhood. With its cheap, high-quality spit-roasted meats served in either sandwich or salad form, excellent selection of Greek wines, and absolutely delicious french fries this casual, yet elegant spot is a real winner. It's the kind of place that's cheap enough for a random weeknight dinner and at the same time sexy enough to work as a great casual date night spot. There is no waiter service, which sort of takes away from the date night vibe, but it's done so well that I really can't complain. This place is a real gem.
It's not always easy to find quality restaurants in Silicon Valley, but Mountain View has proven time and time and time again that there's some really excellent places to eat and drink on their main downtown drag. There are not many restaurants that I have loved enough to eat at multiple times out here, but Scratch has sort of become my go-to, not-sure-what-I'm-in-the-mood-for dinner and drinks spot.
OK, I’ll admit it, I’ve been having a tough time finding great restaurants over these weeks I’ve been spending in Silicon Valley. I’ve found a few gems that I’ll be sharing with you all soon, but it ain’t easy. However, there are a couple densely populated ‘downtowns' that help when hunting and downtown Palo Alto is one such example. Stanford University is located in Palo Alto, so there’s an actual restaurant row like you often find in college towns. After asking a local Palo Alto-based friend for dinner advise and receiving a glowing recommendation, we ended up at an upscale Greek restaurant called Evvia Estiatorio. It’s hard to pass on a claim that Evvia is the best restaurant in Palo Alto so our group of six headed there on a Monday evening to check it out for ourselves.
*Editor's Note: I'm sad to report that this restaurant is not longer open. A year and a half ago, I spent a week in Sydney while my younger sister was studying abroad. Each night would involve some heavy drinking before we'd stumble our way into a local meat pie shop to help our bodies process all of the alcohol we had consumed. This is where I first developed my love for savory Aussie meat pies. Recently, the meat pie has been taking Manhattan by storm with many pie shops popping up all over the city. Fortunately for me, this included the recent opening of Dub Pies, a New Zealand-style meat pie shop in Greenwich Village near my apartment.
The other day I stumbled across a tiny shop called The Frog's Crown Bakery tucked away on a minimally trafficked section of West SoHo. This little cafe serves bakery standards like coffee and sweet pastries, but I was actually drawn inside by the ethnic savory options I noticed advertised on their front window.
*Editor's Note: I'm sad to report that this restaurant is no longer open. Special occasions – not just regular date nights, but occasions like a girlfriend's birthday or an anniversary. Where would you go on these kinds of nights? For me, I think and talk about food and restaurants all the time, so my criteria might be a little different than most. I don't want to pick a trendy, super-popular place. I was to pick something unexpected, something a little off the beaten path, but it still obviously must have excellent food, with great ambiance, and ideally be reasonably priced.