May 2017 revised September 2017
Netanya's Kikar Haatzmaut
is hopping. Open only to pedestrian traffic. the square is awash with locals and holiday makers. A large flat screen in the middle of the square broadcasts non-stop and lights are everywhere. Seems that every other shop in the square is a restaurant, with diners spilling onto sidewalk seating.
We wove our way through the labyrinth of eateries to find the corner Yorgos Restaurant. Yorgos is a Greek style dairy and fish restaurant that is well worth hunting for. The menu is Mediterranean/Greek. Portions are generous, and there is live entertainment several times a week. eLuna visited Yorgos Restaurant on a non-entertainment night, to focus on the food and the dining experience. But without a doubt we will be returning on live entertainment nights.
Yorgos welcomes its diners with a shot of Ouzo. Like that? Then try one of their Ouzo-based cocktails. These would be made with rum or tequila elsewhere, and the anise-flavored Ouzo is a pleasant change. We tried the Ouzo-based Passion Fruit cocktail. It came right away, with a sweet fruit flavor, a mild anise flavor, and lots of crushed ice. We asked that they go light on the alcohol, as we still had to get home. Even so, there was a slight buzz from the drink.
The Yorgos Menu
eLuna visited Yorgos Restaurant in the early evening mid week. The outdoor seating facing the square is to see and be seen but we chose a corner table indoors where the air conditioning was perfect. The folded paper menu is available in Hebrew, English and French. Welcome to Netanya. In addition to your language of choice, foods are listed by their Greek names. That's a switch. There is a very nice selection of dairy and veggie dishes as well as fish in every category. Foods are served on colorful plates add a cheerful touch, as does the lively Greek music in the background.
We began with three starters. The two recommended by the waitress would have been enough, but I was anxious to try the tzatziki, so we added this. Tzatziki is a sauce based on yogurt mixed with cucumbers, garlic, salt, olive oil, and a bit of lemon. I have had it previously in a more dilute preparation, more like a cold cucumber soup. Ttzatziki at Yorgos is more like a sauce or dip. It should really be ordered with focaccia since we had so any dishes I passed, and ate it with the other two starters.
The recommended zucchini patties, Kolokythakia Pitakia in Greek, and the filo pastry stuffed with spinach and cheese, Spanako Tiropita, were special.
Four crispy zucchini patties were served with a small bowl of dressing on the side. The patties are made with ground zucchini mixed with a white Greek cheese that melted and blended with the vegetables. I found that the tzatziki made a better sauce for the patties than the dressing. This is a satisfying and tasty dish, with mild spicing.
The filo pastry was a crispy roll filled with spinach and cheese, and drizzled with honey. Between the honey and the filling, it was tasty without being too salty or too sweet.
After three starters and a cocktail, we ordered only one main course for the two of us, The filet of sea bream (Tsipoures in Greek and Denis in Hebrew) on Arborio Risotto. Two filets were enough for the two of us to share; they were crispy, but not breaded. I think they may have been cooked in a pan on the stove top. The generous portion of risotto is a creamy dish made with Arborio rice, a short grain rice originally from Italy, flavored with cream, Kalamata (red-brown) olives, dried tomatoes and basil. The fish was fresh and tasty, while the risotto was filling and flavorful, thanks to the olives, tomatoes and basil. I really liked this dish.
Dessert! Never forget dessert in a dairy restaurant. Yorgos has a separate dessert menu, which makes it really hard to decide. Since we liked her first recommendations we let the waitress choose the dessert for us. She chose
a dish called Corfu Cnafu, which we shared. This dish is made with mozzarella and Bryndza or Brinza (goat) cheeses. Not bad, but not as good as the starters and the main. When was the last time I said that?
More About Yorgos
The Greek islands on the Mediterranean Sea, the blue sea and the great blue sky, and sun drenched beaches are the inspiration for Yorgos Restaurant. Everything about this restaurant, from the menu to the decor, says Mediterranean and Greek tavern. Nautical blue dominates. Blue shutters, miniature sailboat models and do-dads, bouzouki hanging from the ceiling. In the evening live music sets the atmosphere with Greek rhythms setting the tone. Dishes are based on locally grown produce such as eggplant, olives, salty cheese, bean spreads and yogurt.
From the late morning the restaurant offers a lunch menu. The business lunch of fish and salads ranges from NIS 48-100, Several evenings each week the restaurant turns into a tavern with live music, flowing alcohol and great food. The fun goes on till the wee hours of the morning.
What character in Greek mythology is Yorgos, I wondered.
Turns out that the name Yorgos is Greek for George, and is one of the most
common name for men in Greece. Learn something every day.
From the Menu:
Spanako Tiropita Spinach filo pastry NIS 49
Kolokythakia Pitakia Zuccini patties NIS 43
Tzatziki NIS 29
Tsipoures Sea Bream NIS 109
Fish with rossoto NIS 125
Cocktail NIS 47
Corfu Cnafu Dessert NIS 48
Greek Desserts NIS 48
Yorgos is a Greek tavern and fish bar transplanted to Netanya on our side of the Mediterranean. Complete with fresh fish, Greek music and good times, enjoy a kosher slice of Greece just a car ride away. Yorgos is a good-time taverna and restaurant in the heart of Netanya. By day Yorgos is a fish restaurant with business lunches inspired by Greek cuisine. In the evening the restaurant turns into a tavern with live music, flowing alcohol and great food. The fun goes on till the wee hours of the morning.