Greek Easter is this weekend. After 40 days without eating meat or dairy, it's celebrated after midnight tonight with 'mayeritsa', lamb and dill soup; 'souvla', charcoal-grilled lamb; and 'flaounes', cheese pastries

Kosmos Taverna

Loualla Astin is a hands-on proprietor as well as a TV cook. She keeps the home-cooking spirit alive with a menu that extends well beyond the tarama and hummus template, with skortalia (garlic and potato purée) or fasolatha bean soup to kick-start an evening. Terrific country stews like stefado and afelia, and more unusual chicken or rabbit casseroles vie with the usual grills. Set meze meals, £14-£16.

248 Wilmslow Road, Fallowfield, Manchester (0161 225 9106).

Greek Valley

One of the few Greek restaurants to cook traditional dishes at Easter. Mayeritsa soup, souvla, and curd-cheese pastries join the usual menu line-up. Cooking's consistently good if not exceptional; grilled halloumi is unrubbery, sausages meaty and kalamari rings crispy. All for £15 to £20 a head. Be warned, though, that there's accordion music at weekends.

130 Boundary Road, London NW8 (020-7624 3217).

Parthenon

One of the city's larger and smarter Greek restaurants. No plate-smashing. No dancing, either. Just a trad roster of Cypriot dishes against a background of murals depicting partially excavated mosaics. How wrong can you go with keftethes meatballs for £6.50 and a bowl of Greek yogurt with honey and almonds for £2.50? Not far, when wines are better than average, too.

725 Great Western Road, Glasgow (0141 334 6265).

The Real Greek Mezedopolio

The Real Greek restaurant is great, but this meze bar next door's even better if your budget and appetite don't run to a £30 three-course dinner. No one else makes Greek food this good or offers it in such a lovely setting, a Victorian mission hall given funky modern flourishes. There are interesting Greek wines and snacks ranging from Santorini caper leaves to pork, prune and leek terrine. Breads are wonderful. Adds up to around £20 a head. If only the Aegean was outside ...

14-15 Hoxton Market, London N1 (020-7739 8212).

Comments