Warm pita, buttery roasted potatoes, and velvet-soft lamb that falls from the bone with barely a nudge from your knife. Greek cuisine is the epitome of comfort food feasting and at one warmly welcoming Steveston Village restaurant they’ve raised the approach to a fine art—by keeping everything as simple and traditional as possible.
“It’s like inviting people into my home,” says Marino Anagnostopoulos, chef-owner of Kisamos Greek Taverna. “We want to make people smile and feel happy when they come here.” That mission starts with the restaurant’s cozy ambiance: wood tables, hardwood floors, and rustic walls that are studded with artwork of sun-dappled Greece.
Marino Anagnostopoulos serves traditional Greek cuisine at Kisamos. | Photo: John Lee
On The Menu
Looks can only get you so far, though. It’s the food that brings people through the door, including many regulars who’ve been coming here since Marino launched his busy restaurant eight years ago. “People come here to eat good, honest food that is authentic and traditional. Our menu is not about showing off; it’s about tasty dishes, good value, and nice portions.”
And it’s those traditional Greek dishes that Kisamos—named for a village in northwest Crete—is particularly celebrated for. Topped with red wine gravy, the kitchen’s succulent roast lamb—which takes up to six hours to cook—is their most popular entrée. But it’s closely followed by psarika (seafood) meals such as kalamari and halibut plaki plus skewered souvlakia dishes that come in lamb, pork, chicken or prawn varieties.
A few of the delicious offerings at Kisamos Greek Taverna. | Photo: Tourism Richmond
Naturally, there’s also a full supporting cast of perfectly prepared Greek classics from spanakopita to moussaka and from homous to taramosalate, each served with thick wedges of pita bread where needed. Almost all the restaurant’s ingredients are house-made from scratch—including the special seasoning that makes those glistening roast potatoes irresistible—giving each meal the feel of a homemade feast prepared by a family member.
Beyond The Classics
But Kisamos isn’t only about lovingly prepared Greek staples. Befitting its proximity to Steveston’s fishing boats, salmon, snapper, and prawn dishes are also on the menu as well as a deliciously brothy fisherman’s soup that’s swimming in mussels, prawns, and more. “I also make seasonal special dishes, mostly in the summer,” adds Marino. “Depending on what’s available, that could be seafood casseroles or salmon souvlakia, for example.”
And despite the meat-forward feel of many traditional Greek dishes, there are also some tempting vegetarian options available here. “The vege boureki is very popular,” says Marino. “It’s roasted layers of zucchini and potatoes slices, served with rice and Greek salad.”
Boureki is a popular vegetarian dish at Kisamos. | Photo: Kisamos Greek Taverna
The restaurant’s separate lunch menu also contains several lighter dishes that are ideal if you need a quick fuel-up before exploring the nearby shops (keep in mind that Kisamos is located right in the heart of Steveston). These good-value lunch options include sandwiches, souvlakia skewers, and pita wraps (try the shrimp and avocado).
Lamb souvlakia lunch at Kisamos. | Photo: John Lee
Drinks and Desserts
Whatever you choose from the menu, make sure you save room for dessert. The baklava is excellent here, but there’s also ekmek and crème caramel to consider. But our favourite is bougatsa, a crisp filo pastry parcel of warm lemon vanilla custard that every sweet-tooth fan should try. It’s the kind of dessert you should never order to share, unless you’re planning an unseemly fight over the last bite.
Marino has also ensured there are some interesting Greek wines available for diners to try, alongside his full menu of regular drinks. “It’s not just about retsina here; we have some special authentic wines that pair well with our food.”
“We still get locals coming through the door who have never been here before,” says Marino. “But once they discover us, 99.9 percent of them keep coming back. We also have regulars who visit us from Squamish and North Vancouver, and an Alberta family who comes straight here from the airport whenever they fly in. There’s also a guy who drives from Oregon to eat here every couple of weeks.”
Roast lamb is a popular dish at Kisamos. | Photo: Kisamos Greek Taverna
And the secret to that kind of loyalty? After growing up in the restaurant business, Marino says that running an independent eatery is in his blood and he wouldn’t want to do anything else. “A Greek restaurant means more than just a restaurant. It should always have tasty food as well as a warm welcome that comes straight from the heart.”
If You Go:
Kisamos Greek Taverna is located at 3420 Moncton Street. The restaurant is open from Monday to Friday 11:30am to 9:00pm; Saturday from 11:00am to 9:30pm; and Sunday from 12:30pm to 9:00pm.