Steki Taverna is a charming family run Greek taverna that has been established in Southsea in Portsmouth since 1998. The decor is inviting and similar to the tavernas you see in Greece – terracotta tiled floor, wooden tables and beams. They opened a second branch in Brighton in 2006.
Over the years, we must have sampled most items on the menu: as with most restaurants, some dishes are better than others and we are always drawn back to our favourites. There are a good number of meat, seafood and vegetarian choices. This is a good place for vegetarians – most of the hot and cold starters are suitable for vegetarians. Menu items include the usual favourites such as humous, moussaka, Greek salad and baklava. They do not serve one of my favourite Greek dishes sadly, spanakopita, but there plenty of other items to choose from.
Our favourite starters include:
- Feta saganaki with honey – a generous slab of lightly battered feta cheese served with honey and sesame seeds. This I guess is a Greek take on deep fried brie with cranberry sauce and for me works even better as the saltiness of the feta does balance the sweetness of the honey. This is a very rich starter though.
- Grilled octopus – octopus served simply with olive oil and oregano
- Small meze for one, served with a shot of Ouzo – we often share this between two
- Seafood meze for two – we tend to have this as a main course with a side order of chips
On our most recent visit, we went for the three homemade dips and grilled pitta bread – we chose tzatziki (cucumber and yogurt), humous (chick pea) and tyrosalata (feta). I love the pitta bread at Steki – thick and billowy and grilled with oregano. This was a simple vegetarian starter of champions, each dip was perfectly seasoned. We ended up ordering another slice of pitta bread!
With main courses, the best value are the barbecued meats – these are served with chips or rice, choice of dip, salad and pitta bread and cost around £8-10 at time of writing. We have found that the other main courses can be a little hit and miss and the portions are not as generous – we’ve tried the frikasse (lamb casserole) and stifado (beef stew) and the concensus was, although these tasted good, one would expect more for the price (around £12 for the frikasse for a rather small portion served with bread). Having said that, I have really enjoyed the imam baildi, a vegetarian aubergine and tomato dish and the stuffed calamari is another thing! The calamari is stuffed with feta and tomatoes, grilled and served with salad, chips or rice and cold mashed potato with garlic. This is my favourite and one of the reasons I return to Steki. It’s worth checking out the daily specials board which includes fresh fish and calamari – sometimes, fresh stuffed calamari is available and I would recommend it! The calamari is sweet and generously filled. It looks other worldly and is served on a huge plate as this picture hopefully shows:
I also love the fried calamari rings – this is available as a starter and served with tzatziki. I sometimes order this as a main course with a Greek salad and chips. Fresh battered calamari will also appear on the specials board as either a starter or a main course with salad, tzatziki and chips. This is another favourite of mine. Sometimes, the batter has not been quite crisp enough and that might be issue for some. However, you have probably guessed that I love squid so I still wolf it down 🙂
Steki also serves a generous Cypriot meze – we have not ordered this but have seen it served to other diners. It features a selection of starters and main courses and it huge!
Desserts include sticky baklava and kantaifi (filo pastry with nuts and syrup) with ice cream and our favourite, proper thick Greek yogurt with honey and walnuts. By then, we are usually too full up to eat more but we can find room for a Greek coffee. The drinks menu includes Mythos and Keo beer and Greek wine and spirits.
Steki is a favourite of mine and is a restaurant that always seems to exude sunshine. The service is usually charming and although there sometimes can be a wait for food if the restaurant is busy, this means that the food tastes better when it arrives! We have visited many a time on a cold winter evening for some Mediterranean warmth and have not been disappointed.
58 Osborne Road
Hampshire. PO5 3LU
Tel: +44 (0)2392 750200
Opening hours: Monday – Tuesday 17.00 – 23.00
Wednesday – Thursday lunch 12.00 – 14.30
Wednesday – Thursday dinner 17.00 – 23.00
Friday – Saturday 12.00 – 23.00
Typical cost per person for 2 courses excluding drinks: Up to £10 (lunch set menu); Up to £18 (dinner)