For the past 7 months, I’ve worked within a block of Gardens of Salonica but only just stopped in the other day for the first time. I had a lunch date planned with friends. They hadn’t been either, and we were honestly amazed at the number of vegan options at this lovely little Greek cafe.
We all honed in on the Combination Plate on the menu, where you get pita bread with three selections for $11.25. 8 of the 13 options are marked vegan, so it took us awhile to choose.
Well, aside from knowing we all wanted the Skordalia, let’s be honest. It’s pureed garlic with potato, olive oil, and fresh-squeeze lemon juice. It wasn’t as overpowering as I expected it to be, though. I assumed I’d want to chew some gum or brush my teeth afterward, but it was simple and light. Perfect for piling high on top of fresh pita bread.
The Fava was my second choice: yellow split peas pureed with Greek olive oil and an onion garnish. I enjoyed the extra bite the onions provided, and this was another bright, fresh option.
I asked the server what he would choose between the Horta (steamed greens) and the Melitzana (eggplant) and he quickly endorsed the Melitzana, so that became my third and final selection. I loved the texture on this one, and the parsley and garlic punched up the flavor a notch. And it was the prettiest of the three, so I’m giving it bonus points for that.
My friends tried a couple other selections, and it made for a fun, yummy, lovely meal.
The server checked on a vegan dessert option, and we were able to order the summer special, the Ouzo Flo! Anna’s Organic Ouzo Ice Cream is coconut-based and has coconut flakes in it as well. We got two scoops in a glass, and then got to pour Ouzon soda on top to make a float. The Ouzon has star anise in it, so it has a licorice flavor, and it paired well with the sweetness in the ice cream.
I’ve already been telling everyone to check them out, and I can’t wait to go for lunch again!
I went back for lunch and ordered the Greek Fries. Amazing! They’re fried in vegetable oil and had the perfect mix of crispy and mushy fries, and the Greek seasoning is the cherry on top.
Gardens of Salonica
19 Fifth Street Northeast
Minneapolis, MN 55413