Friday, January 27, 2012

Philly RW 2010: Estia was my first!

Continuing from the last post about Philly's Restaurant Week, here's my first RW dining experience!

 Estia's the one that started it all

You know what they say... You always remember your first! Honestly, this has to be my favorite out of all the restaurants I've been to during Restaurant Week in Philly. If you love Greek food or are in the mood for something new and different from the usual, I highly recommend Estia! I loved the beautiful decor, romantic lighting, candles & music, and awesome service. They even busted out the crumb scrapers and that's when you know it's legit! Everything about that evening was memorable. It's a great place to impress a date, celebrate a birthday, or just wine & dine with good friends! They have big booths in the back for special occasions and various table sizes to accommodate your party size. I believe you can also book the whole banquet room downstairs, which my friends and I got to see when we went to the bathroom (located downstairs). Before we left, a server (that was preparing to go home after a long shift) saw us taking pictures (my idea, of course) and gladly helped us with our photoshoot session! If you appreciate wonderful decor like I do and decide to check out Estia, don't forget to go downstairs (where the bathrooms are), because it's just lovely.  

Okay onto what you came here for: GREEK FOOD! To start, we got our first courses, Spread Pikilia, two plates of Octupus & Calamari, and a Greek salad. All the appetizers were delicious. Z's three spreads tomato, greek yogurt, mushroom (or eggplant), and pita bread was everyone's favorite. She was nice enough to share with all of us too. This is a great starter to get if you're dining with 2-3 people. Enchante and I both ordered the chargrilled octopus and stuffed calamari, and let me just say, most well cooked octopus I've ever had!  It was sliced so thin and was so crispy, I didn't even know I was eating octopus. We made Z, who does not eat any type of seafood, try it and she actually liked it too! Did it make her cross over to the fishy side? No, but at least she can say, "I don't like the taste of seafood, but I liked Estia's octopus!" On the other side of the plate was grilled calamari that was stuffed with Greek cheese. It was tasty, but didn't live up to its big brother, the Octopodi. I wonder if that's why the RW menu this year only offers the Octopodi... 

Spread Pikilia: tzatziki, htipiti, melitzano
(AMAZING! Everyone's favorite)

Octopodi & Stuffed Calamari
(New found love for chargrilled octopus because of Estia)

Then we move on to C's simple, Greek country salad (which is special enough to get its own paragraph). While it looked pretty plain, it was anything from boring! Every tomato, cucumber, onion, and olive was so fresh and the tomatoes, so juicy. It was a special salad even thought it only contained a few ingredients. The one thing you can't see on the salad is the red wine vinaigrette dressing. I distinctly remember how sweet and tangy this dressing was on the tomato and no one could tell me what it was! It turned a simple, fresh, Greek country salad into the perfect, fresh, Greek gourmet salad. It was amazing! The fact that I didn't know what dressing they used just made me crave it even more, so I looked it up on their online menu. 

Estia, who is your supplier for your orgasmic red wine vinaigrette? I must know so I can use it on all my salads, Greek or not. 

 Horiatiki Salata
(The tomatoes were so juicy and the red wine vinaigrette was drool worthy)

After the wonderful appetizers, C and Enchante ordered the sea bass, while Z and I got the chicken for our main entrees. To me, the fish was nothing special since my family eats whole fish all the time for dinner. If you are against eating things with a face and tail still on the plate, this might not be a good choice for you. But if you love fish and don't mind meeting it face to face, then I would say give it a go. For RW, they offer the whole grilled Mediterranean sea bass with ladolemeno, capers, and a side of fresh lemon. The chicken was roasted and sat on top of caramelized onions and yogurt orzo... it was love at first sight for me. I always try to order something other than chicken (because chicken is so ordinary and always the same!), but when I saw orzo, I caved. Z and I were so happy with the chicken because it was tender and succulent. Not dry at all! I have no words for the yogurt orzo because I inhaled it so fast and just wanted a big bowl of it after cleaning off the plate. Can't you tell I'm a pasta/rice kinda gal?

("The sea bass was pretty awesome!" -Enchante)

(Such juicy chicken on a bed of yummy yogurt orzo)

My only disappointment was the dessert, but my opinion shouldn't count for anything since I have no sweet tooth and think fresh fruit is the best thing to eat after a good meal.  I ordered my dessert hoping there would be more fruit than cake, but there were two pieces of fruit on my plate (watermelon in the January?) and a big piece of bread that was drenched with honey. It was way too sweet for my liking.  The baklava however, was quite good (says my friends who actually has sweet teeth). 

(C & Z modeling their sweets)

Honey Bread & side of Fruit
(Enchante & Panina modeling our sweets)

1405 Locust St.
Philadelphia, PA 

Overall Group Grade: A-
(Thank you Estia for a memorable evening & being my first! Way to set the bar high!)
"I loved Estia... It was my favorite. None of the other places lived up to it." -Z
"Mmmm. Estia. That was delicious!" -C

Do you remember your first Restaurant Week experience? Was it wonderful? Or a dud? Let me know!


  1. I am a pasta and rice type of girl as well. Your dinner looks delicious! If you ever come to Chicago, I hope we'll meet and I can take you to Greektown! We have a huge Greek population in Chicago so lots of authentic restaurants. I still prefer my fish in the form of a square...yes very americanized I know...


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