The speed and connivence of a food court stop, with the comfort of a quite sit down restaurant, all in an intimate space of a cafe. When in Maple Ridge your lunch options are limited. I refused to settle on a chain restaurant, and didn’t want to chance anything by choosing a random hole in the wall. Most time was spent trying to find a unique spot that didn’t look run down. Eventually our travel concluded at a small outdoor shopping complex. It was here that we settled on the newer and cleaner looking “Papa Greek”. It’s name was as creative as it’s menu.
The place was pin drop quiet with no music playing. The only other party left as we sat, as was the case after us. As we left a group of three came in. The place never had more than one of its 8 tables full, while we visited.
We didn’t expect much looking at the server, who was the only staff member in today. She was young and definitely only here for a paycheque. But we were already though the door and the photo menu looked good enough to try. The menu was fast food style, back lit, above the serving counter. With 18 familiar classics, they had all the would-be Greek cravings covered. Beef, chicken, lamb, and salmon souvlaki. And for the vegetarians there was a platter with veggie patties. If you want some variation, go for the chicken and beef gyro combos. And for those looking for non Greek options in a Greek restaurant (like my guest), choose from chicken fingers, Caesar salads, wraps, and lasagna. Each entree was severed with roasted potato, rice pilaff, Greek salad, and tzatziki sauce. For an additional charge you can add on a pita as well.
After ordering and paying. The lone employee slowly began assembling our lunches. We honestly thought that there was a guy in the back who was going to do all the cooking, so were immediately regretting the money we had handed over.
Making the lasagne involvedremoving a pre-prepared dish from the fridge, ladling tomato sauce over it, then shoving it into the oven. Everything else came from the covered metal trays in the front. We watched her assemble and cook. As we sat things were looking bad. I am sure she got the proper training to do her job and was has the skills to work this location herself. However based on what we were seeing, we weren’t holding our breaths for delicious plates. Though it did get better as the food was delivered with a smile, and it all came together hot and smelling as it should.
Even at $10, this was a small portion. For one skewer, it was over priced. I have gotten more meat out of a fast food burger, at half the price. The beef was a little dry and a lot chewy, not surprising from a reheat job. The rice and potatoes were also reheated, but their heavily garlic-ed seasonings made them the headline of the dish. The Greek salad was ice cold and drenched in a pasty dressing. It can only be described as a half ranch, half thousand island concoction. Though despite its look, it wasn’t half bad.
The machine that was used to bake the lasagna was impressively fast. The dish could have been a little hotter, but it wasn’t half bad, being taken from cold to hot in a matter of minutes. The tomato sauce was a little too sweet, and therefore tasted liked like it was missing something. A pinch of Italian spice? Something to give it a touch more authenticity. Maybe it was basil?
During our wait and in between our speculative conversation, we had lowered our expectations so much that we actually found the food okay. We were genuinely surprised over how much better it tasted than some of the other Greek restaurant we have visited. This was definitely better than any food court meal. The point of this shoppe is decent Greek food, fast. And they certainly delivered on their average offerings.
Would I come back? – No.
Would I recommend it? – No
Maple Ridge is a little far to travel for just edible Greek food.