BEST GREEK RESTAURANT

Ouzo's Greek Taverna & Bar

What would you rather have in your face: the bellies of other drunken diners as they circle your table clumsily attempting Grecian folk dances, or a mouthful of taramasalata so silky smooth you'll think you're in heaven rather than just North Beach? If you prefer the latter, Ouzo's is the place for you. The cozily exotic restaurant has enough taverna décor and Zorba-esque music to seem suitably festive, but it also has a bargain-priced plate of stuffed grape leaves, Kalamata olives, and cheeses, plus authentic Greek dips (tarama, creamy tzatziki, hummus, and garlicky puréed eggplant melitzanosalata) that put packaged gourmet-shop stuff to shame. Other appetizers, such as a refreshingly citrus-spritzed melted cheese saganaki and great charcoal-grilled octopus, are equally impressive, as are entrées like tender souvlaki skewers and a fresh whole snapper. The corner location was known as a jinxed spot (previous Latin, Hungarian, and Mediterranean-fusion restaurants all rapidly folded), but for two years Ouzo's has been a solidly packed winner.

 
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