restaurants in summer sweden II, borås

The city of Borås has a bad name in Sweden, for no real reasons. Yes, it rains a lot here, and the highway that goes right through the city does not allow for picturesque views. But the center of the town is calm and nice at daytime, not too large for a casual stroll and it offers good opportunities for hanging out and getting a decent meal.

Restaurants come and go at quite a quick pace in Borås, which often makes me sad: one would wish that all those enterprising chefs had a little more success convincing the Sjuhärad residents of the benefits of an international cuisine. A little color would truly make everyone happier.  A new large Indian restaurant opened only yesterday on Yxhammarsgatan; I want to wish them well.

The Greek taverna on Lilla Brogatan, on the other hand, has been there for quite a while now. It is a nice, relatively large space with a few random Hellenic decorations and painted crumbling plaster walls and a fine view over a not too busy street and part of the pedestrian zone. The menu offers all the standard Greek preparations and the kitchen does a good job with them – the service is personal and absolutely impeccable. The quite large wine list contains mostly Greek wines which, in Sweden, is impressive in itself.

We ordered a selection of entrees and decided immediately that this would be the place for a Tapas party, no matter the non-Spanishness of the Taverna: the amount of food per monetary unit served here is about twice as much as in the Spanish restaurant up on Allégatan, and some of the selections are quite fancy. I have not yet tried the charcoal-grilled Kalamares filled with feta cheese, or the Ameletita, which the menu describes as “don’t ask” (grilled lamb’s testicles, in fact), but I did have the grilled octopus, which tasted fantastic, even though it was a little hard to chew (The Taverna’s knives are sharp, though). No matter! It was fun. The Dolmadakia, the Tsatsiki and all the salads are totally reasonably made, priced and presented.

My main course was grilled hamburger-beef-sausages in a delicious spicy sauce; Robin had a generous piece of lamb from the oven, which I couldn’t have made tastier and more tender at home.  The Taverna’s touch of home-cooking is a comforting thing in view of the often half-hearted upscale pretensions of so many Swedish downtown evening restaurants. And the food is ever as good: we registered no single disappointment during the whole evening, which ended with two kinds of coffee: the greek coffee was full in taste and not all too sweet, and the “regular” cup was a close cousin of the best one of the past month, of which more in other post.

Not mentioned in the menu are the copious amounts of tomatoes and lettuce that accompany any of the main courses. When ordering first courses, you might as well stick to the fancier kinds and leave it at that, there will be salad enough later on. Also, in spite of my earlier praise, “Greek salad”, in Greece, would mean chunks of green pepper, cucumber and tomato, slices of white soft mild onions, quite a lot of feta cheese and olives, plus pepper, salt and bottles of oil and vinegar at the table. If everything is fresh, you’ll need nothing else. But in this country, one has to put up with shreds of soggy iceberg lettuce and wedges of the most pungent onions on the market – both can truly be forgotten. If you pass Borås on the R 40 at dinner time, drive off towards the center, search for Grekiska Tavernan, but order no sallads.

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