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Sofi: Make this week Greek Week

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Greek food. Its fresh, cool Mediterranean flavors are exactly the kind of thing I crave on a hot July day. But man is it hard to find some good, authentic Greek food in LA. Sure there’s Daphne’s right by my house, but that’s about as authentic to Greek food as Baja Fresh is to Mexican. So where can one go for a fun, flavorful midsummer night’s Greek meal? The answer is simple: Sofi.

Sofi is located on W. Third, near Crescent Heights. You could easily miss it driving by because from the street the only thing visible is a black awning. But after the valet takes your car, you walk through a small passageway to find a beautiful outdoor dining patio. Lush bougainvillea plants adorn the tree-covered deck. A band playing Greek folk music serenades the patrons. People crowd the bar, and dine happily at their tables. It’s a romantic setting, great for a date but also fun for a group.

But enough about the setting, that’s more of a bonus. What you want to know about is the food. Here’s a blanket statement: the food is great. Really, really, really great. And the menu is so vast and full of tempting dishes, it’s hard to know where to start. The first time I went, we decided to just order a bunch of appetizers and split things tapas style. I highly recommend this approach for first timers, just because there are so many great things to try.

Continue to read about Sofi's delicious food after the jump!

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For example, the dolmades (rice stuffed grape leaves) were amazing. I’ve only ever had these from Trader Joe’s and, yes, Daphne’s. I’ve always thought they were all right, but now I see how earth shattering amazing they can be. They are tangy, but not to the point where you can’t taste anything else. The rice filling was surprisingly satisfying—I didn’t miss the meat. Okay, so I didn’t miss the meat. But I wasn’t the only one eating, so an order of keftedes (meatballs) was requested. The meatballs are filled with onions, garlic and bold spices like oregano and cumin. They are large, yet moist and delicate; a great appetizer for the meat enthusiasts at your table.

Another great thing to order is their sampler of dips, which you can pair with the “fresh-from-the-oven” pita that they bring to your table. The beet and walnut dip was phenomenal—and I am not exactly a huge beet fan. Then there was the decadent red caviar dip, which was rich and creamy. The eggplant dip is also dang delicious. Yes, I said dang. The hummus is conspicuously missing from the sampler, but you know what? I didn’t even care because the other dips were so good. And for $11 a person this sampler shouldn’t be missed.

The Greek salad is also totally tasty and, so I’m told, wonderfully authentic. It’s chock full of tomatoes, cucumbers, bell peppers, onions and olives. It is topped with a hunk of feta cheese and drizzled with olive oil and vinegar. It is a great dish for the summer, beautiful to look at, and makes you feel oh so healthy with every bite.

Of course, sharing isn’t the only way to go here. Heck, when food is this tasty it can be downright painful to share! The menu has plenty of entrees (in the $15-25 range). I tried the vegetable mousaka—layers of eggplant, onion, and roasted bell peppers baked in a béchamel sauce. It was sinfully rich, but oh so yummy. And I’ve always thought it’s best to eat your veggies when they’re smothered in cheese and cream sauce!

The desserts are also devilish. I loved the baklava and also the Greek rice pudding, which is topped with a layer of cinnamon. Also try the Greek coffee, which basically is Turkish coffee, but you can’t order Turkish coffee in a Greek restaurant!

Sofi’s isn’t a cheap eat, but it is a great eat. And if you go with a bunch of friends and order tapas style, you can get a feast for about $20-25 per person. The setting transports you a million miles away from LA-- which sometimes is a good thing— especially when you are being transported to Greece. As the band plays, the breeze blows, and the aromas tantalize you will be thanking me for cluing you into this discovery. If you want to spice up a warm summer night—go to Sofi’s. It will not disappoint!

8030 W 3rd St
Los Angeles, CA, 90048
(323) 651-0346
Reservations recommended.

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