Mikkayla reviews: Ammos Greek Tavern — ‘high quality yet unpretentious dining’
Ammos Greek Tavern
66 Station Street, Sandringham
“Wanna go out for dinner?” is a seemingly innocuous question but in a world full of food intolerances, dietary requirements, allergies, fad diets and the paradox of choice, it can be a daunting task picking a place that suits all parties. But I have the solution: next time someone asks you out for a meal all you need to do is nod and suggest a trip to Ammos Greek Tavern.
That’s where I found myself on Tuesday evening – a light, spacious, family-run joint in Sandringham, with a beautiful outdoor dining overlooking Melrose Street, and plenty of indoor seating that can accommodate the largest and smallest of groups. The menu is full of classic Greek share plates, larger kreatika (meat dishes), salads, seafood and a couple of handy banquet options ($55 and $80), but ordering freely from the menu is where the excitement begins.
Starting with the mixed dips platter is a given – and of course you should judge every Greek eatery by the quality of their tzatziki and taramasalata. Ammos’s is pure perfection – the tzatziki is thick, tangy and refreshing; the tarama – smooth and subtly-smoky. Their skordalia (Potato, garlic & olive oil) is moreish and seems indulgently naughty smeared on their fresh bread… but the winner is the Melitzana – eggplant roasted till tender, then chopped and mixed with onion, garlic, tomato and olive oil.
The dolmades, like most of the meze, come with a side of tzatziki – but the filling inside the vine leaves doesn’t need any accompaniment. The rice and herb mix is seasoned so well that any sauce would mask the intricate flavours. Instead, save the extra dip for the pan-fried zucchini chips (kolokythakia) – they are lightly crisped and salted, and a perfect side to the chargrilled calamari seasoned simply with lemon, olive oil and oregano, and fat, juicy, grilled scallops.
It wouldn’t be a Greek feast without the lamb gyros and chicken skewers – both served with salad, pita bread, potatoes & tzatziki – and yes, by this stage we were both working up a light sweat. One of us had unbuttoned our pants, and the other was having trouble breathing.
But the upside is – we were both deliriously happy. It was possibly the quietest Greek feast to have ever taken place – there was no shouting, no loud music, no broken plates – it was calm and relaxed, punctuated by the staff’s encouraging smiles through the kitchen window (they appeared suitably impressed by how much we ordered and the fact that we got 99% of it down) and the lovely young server who answered all our questions and didn’t once make fun of my absolute massacring of pronunciations.
The drinks menu is delightfully accessible – with plenty of Greek and Aussie offerings across the reds, whites and bubbles, a smattering of French and Italian options… and of course a dedicated section covering Greek spirits. Ya mas!
For a high quality yet unpretentious dining experience that’s a long way from the 3am souvas and kebabs of your youth, you can’t go wrong with this place. And with the Mediterranean diet making waves, you can easily convince yourself you’re actually doing your body a favour. Stretchy pants are advised.
Open Tuesday – Sunday, 5:00pm til late
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