Seniors Kate Thomson, Sydney Willis, and Jenna Blumenthal enjoy dinner and dancing at Taverna
Plaka in February.

Nestled among the tattoo parlors and gentlemen’s clubs sprinkled around Cheshire Bridge Rd. lies a hidden gem: Taverna Plaka. Although the flickering neon sign out front doesn’t look like much, I heard from numerous friends and family that the Greek restaurant was a must-go, guaranteed fun time. So I grabbed a group of go-with-the-flow friends and decided to venture out on a Friday night to see what it was all about. We arrived around 7 p.m., which seemed to be exactly when the party gets started. The menu was large and foreign to us, so we decided to go family style and order an abundance of recommended food to share. Our Thanksgiving-esque feast consisted of a traditional Greek salad; house-made hummus with pita bread; chicken, beef, and lamb kabobs; moussaka (a sort of beef and eggplant pie); a savory flaming cheese dip; and my personal favorite, the gyro plate (shaved roast lamb with Greek fries).

Our food had been on the table no longer than 15 minutes when the peaceful Greek music that had been a backdrop to the atmosphere suddenly amplified to consume the entire restaurant. Before you could even finish chewing your pita, cries of “OPA!” erupted from the back of the room, followed by a dancing clan of authentically Greek waiters and belly dancers. As they weaved their way through the maze of tables, waiters threw showers of paper napkins and the dancers motioned with their fingers clad in miniature cymbals to join in the dance. Eventually the napkins settled and the dancers retreated, leaving the restaurant in a calmer state. But the fun was not over yet, not even close.

Just after we licked the last bites of baklava and galaktoboureko (a Greek custard covered in filo dough) off our plates, the waiters and dancers emerged once more, this time to include the entire restaurant in the traditional Greek Syrtos dance. The Syrtos is the quintessentially Greek circle dance you see in all the movies, where the entire group links arms to dance laps around the room while kicking, shouting “OPA!” and trying not to slip on the now-thick layer of napkins on the floor. This was the perfect way to cap off the evening; the music was lively, everybody was smiling and having a great time, and the fast-paced dancing was hopefully enough to burn off at least three kabobs. Some people suddenly found their gyro platter to be the single most fascinating thing in the room when all of this enthusiasm and craziness commenced, and felt that it must consume all their attention as to avoid the gazes of the belly dancers and the beckons to shimmy up on a table. But you really have to apply the saying, “when in Rome, do as the Romans do” to dining at this restaurant, just replacing “Romans” with “Grecians” and “Rome” with “Taverna Plaka, Atlanta.”

With the belly dancing, the shouts of “OPA!” and the flaming food, you really cannot be afraid to just let go of your inhibitions and simply have a fun, loud, crazy, Greek time. We decided to completely immerse ourselves in the experience, trying every food, placing paper money in the sequined skirts of the dancers, loudly shouting “OPA!” and even embarrassing ourselves by dancing on tabletops. If you enter Taverna Plaka with a hungry stomach, an open mind, and a sense of adventure, and prepare to unleash your Grecian self, you are guaranteed to have a great time. But as the saying goes, “It’s all Greek to me!”

By Riley Muse, Staff Writer ’14

Photo: Kate Thomson

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