While some folks will tell you the city center is the best place in Guangzhou to dine on diverse, high-quality edibles, we beg to differ. Yes, there is an incredible array of restaurants in Guangzhou’s CBD, but we believe the real gems of the city’s dining scene lay hidden in the peripheral neighborhoods and districts, just waiting to be found. Hellas Deli, located along Haizhu district’s Gongye Dadao, is one such gem.
Image via Hellas Deli
A small, nondescript eatery with limited seating, Hellas Deli specializes in authentic Greek cuisine – from succulent, juicy meatballs and souvlaki to pita bread, tzatziki and fresh salads. The ground floor of the restaurant has four tables, which can accommodate 18 people, and is tastefully decorated with photos of the beautiful Mediterranean nation; the kitchen is located in the rear of the ground level.
Guangzhou has been lacking a proper, authentic Greek restaurant (the ‘Greek eatery that shall not be named’ in Jiangnanxi is not – by our assessment – very traditional) and we’re beyond excited this world cuisine is now getting a little more attention in the city.
The zucchini patties souvlaki wrap: The perfect handheld meal for soaking up pints of cold beer – and it’s vegetarian friendly to boot. Image by Matt Bossons/That’s
Staff at Hellas Deli – led by proprietor and Greek transplant Dimitris Karagiovanis – specialize in tender meats, refreshing salads and zesty sauces. When we visit, shortly after the restaurant’s official opening late last month, we immediately order two pita wraps, along with pita bread, tzatziki and a Greek salad.
The pita bread with tzatziki (RMB8/18) is a strong starter: Slightly crispy slices of warm pita bread accompanied by a substantial plate of tangy, refreshing tzatziki dip – the renowned, yogurt-based sauce made with cucumbers, garlic, salt, olive oil and assorted herbs.
Hellas’ veggie and ham pizza. Image via Hellas Deli
Three pita wraps are available at Hellas Deli: The pork souvlaki wrap, chicken souvlaki wrap and zucchini patties souvlaki wrap, all of which come packed with tomatoes, onions, French fries and tzatziki and cost a very reasonable RMB28. We sample the pork and zucchini pita wraps and both live up to our expectations – taste wise and portion wise. If we had to choose, we’d recommend the zucchini patties wrap, which will wow both vegetarians and meat eaters alike with its medley of textures and flavors.
Just look at those chunks of feta! Image by Matt Bossons/That’s
A fan favorite among food lovers from around the globe, Greek salad (RMB36) is the perfect dish for a warm, sunny Guangzhou afternoon. Karagiovanis makes his salad the traditional way (no bell peppers here, folks), utilizing fresh tomatoes, cucumbers and crunchy red onions topped with hefty hunks of feta cheese and unpitted black olives that boast an intricate fruity flavor.
Karagiovanis additionally recommends we sample the Greek-style meatballs (RMB32), which arrive tender, juicy and well-seasoned. Accompanied by fresh veggies, this four-ball dish is a must-order for discerning carnivores.
Authentic, home-style Greek cooking at its finest. Image by Matt Bossons/That’s
Hellas Deli also cooks up a couple of spectacular Greek-style pasta dishes (pastitsio and moussaka) that are well worth an order, as well as a ham and vegetable pizza – a new edition to the menu (the dish was unavailable during our last visit).
End your meal with a bowl of sour Greek yogurt drizzled with sweet, floral honey. Or, if you’re feeling adventurous, finish the feast with a shot of tsipouro imported from Greece (RMB18) and a black olive or two. (Beer and wine are available for casual tipplers.)
Image via Hellas Deli
Karagiovanis is an unquestionably friendly man, and he does a great job of making the small confines of Hellas Deli feel both welcoming and relaxed. He’s more than happy to recommend dishes, chat about his home country or share a toast; Greece may be a long way from Guangzhou, but Greek hospitality has never been closer.
Who’s going: Spartans, in-the-know foodies, pita pals
Good for: authentic tastes of the Mediterranean, friendly service
Nearest metro: Shixi (Exit B), 2 minutes’ walk
Open daily 10am-10pm; see listing for Hellas Deli.
[Cover image by Matthew Bossons/That’s]