Greek cuisine has undergone a bit of a renaissance in Cardiff since the closure of earlier incumbents Hasapiko, and the Aegean Taverna, both of which had mixed reviews. Now, the Hellenic Eatery and street food regulars Meat & Greek have a strong fan base, and rightly so. Surely the addition of another entrant into the scene, although surprisingly a few doors away from Hellenic Eatery, can only be a good thing especially if it can match the other two in terms of taste and offering. Right?
The white and light blue interiors lends it a beachside café feel (good thing) although I thought the tables were a bit too closely packed in. The menu is comprehensive, with an array of meze (smaller plates) options, as well as the regulars like Souvlaki and Moussaka. We kicked things off by working through most of the meze menu.
Spanakokroketes (£5.50), spinach croquettes, had a good crispy exterior that gave way to an oozy interior speckled with spinach leaves.
A bowl of crispy calamari (£5.90) was excellent, with a perfect squidgy texture, and combined well with a creamy potent aioli.
Pan fried sizeable slabs of halloumi (£3.80) did look the part with a crisp exterior but was a touch too tough and chewy.
Pork Souvlaki (£11.5) was ace, with cubes of tender grilled pork carrying a crisp fatty lining. Accompanying chunky chips were good although lacked the crispness that one comes across quite often these days (especially of the triple cooked variety).
It was a great shout by Craig to order a tzatziki (£3.95) dip as a) it was banging; and b) the pork definitely needed a bit of sauce.
On the basis of this visit, Maria’s was a mixed bag. I’m not sure it quite matches its competitor up the road but mind you, they had only been open for a couple of weeks. After a subsequent visit, Andy mentioned that the gyros were definitely worth ordering. There is enough choice to keep everyone interested, and on the basis of that souvlaki and calamari, this Greek independent is definitely worth a visit.
Address: Maria’s, 68 Crwys Road, Cardiff CF24 4NP
Tel: 02921 151268