Retsina 1

48-50 Belsize Lane , London, NW3 5AR

  • Retsina 2016 2
  • Retsina 2016 1

SquareMeal Review of Retsina

The traditional whitewashed taverna gets an upmarket twist at Retsina, a polished Greek restaurant that’s “a cut above the rest”, according to one fan. “Friendly and warm service” is a trump card much appreciated by its smartly attired regulars, but the menu is also “brilliant value” and the kitchen always delivers. Among the “reliably excellent” starters, you might find grilled aubergine salad, lounza (smoked pork fillet), dolmades and baby squid as well as the usual dips and flatbreads, while mains range from char-grilled meat and fish in various forms to slow-cooked stews and peasant dishes such as lamb knuckle or beef stifado with rice to soak up the juices. It’s also worth giving 24-hours’ notice for the leg of milk-fed lamb, suckling pig or casseroled game. Retsina’s £19.50 mixed mezze (for two) is a low-cost way to navigate the menu.

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7.4

Food & Drink: 7.7

Service: 7.1

Atmosphere: 7.1

Value: 7.4

Food & Drink: 5.0

Service: 5.0

Atmosphere: 5.0

Value: 4.0

Nancy E. 09 May 2015

Been looking for a fantastic Greek restaurant to dine at for a long time, Finally found it. Lovely fresh food, Good service, Relaxed modern neutral decor, Definitely a cut above the rest of London's greek establishments. Highly recommended, I know I'll be visiting again.

Food & Drink: 4.0

Service: 3.0

Atmosphere: 3.0

Value: 3.0

Chris H. silver reviewer 28 February 2012

A nice local restaurant serving good quality Greek food. The owners are always friendly and they always try to accommodate people even when they are busy. I tend to order lamb souvla which is always tender and tasty. Although they have certainly gotten busier following their Channel 4 adventure, they still have not forgotten the basics.

Food & Drink: 5.0

Service: 5.0

Atmosphere: 5.0

Value: 5.0

Andy F. 08 November 2010

Hi We went for a birthday celebration at the weekend. It was amazing. The service was superb, but the food, WOW. It is without doubt the best Greek food I have ever eaten. all the starter (and they never seem to stop coming we simply made, but full of flavour. The calamari was the freshest, and best I have ever tasted, anywhere in the World. The mains were massive, and again so tasty. The staff were great, very helpful and attentive. It was a real delight. I will be back for sure, and cant wait to take some Greek friends and show off about the place. Well done. Brilliant Franksy

Food & Drink: 0.0

Service: 0.0

Atmosphere: 0.0

Value: 0.0

Michael R. 12 July 2010

Its the first time I have had those artificial crab sticks included in a mezze starter along with tinned tuna and a load of beetroot!! absolutely crap. The mousaka was rubbish as was my partners calamari. We saw the women but there was no way she was doing the cooking and you get a bill plus 10% which should be optional. All in all a complete dining disaster from start to finish.

Food & Drink: 4.0

Service: 4.0

Atmosphere: 4.0

Value: 5.0

Nicola C. 11 June 2010

We love Retsina although some people we know seem simply not to ‘get it’. They clearly have no taste. I must confess that as we're well known here, we always get a big, hearty welcome and as my husband's father always used to say … 'the best restaurants are the restaurants where they know you best" . Run by the Minos family, it's very much a family affair with Mum Zita in charge of the kitchen and son Menos at front of house although from time to time, they swap roles. Until it did so well (coming third) in Channel 4's The F Word last year, tables were easy to come by. Since that well deserved success, it's wise to book ahead as these days the place tends to be packed out particularly over the weekend. The food is always beautifully cooked and the portions bounteous. This is simple, unpretentious fayre at very reasonable prices. The whole grilled seabass and large grilled prawns are some of the best I've eaten in England whilst the souvla (of whatever variety) and generous mixed grill are my husband's favourites. Typical Greek-Cypriot starters are all home-made and delicious, ranging from the ubiquitous taramasalata to more ambitious spanagopita, falafel, dolmathes and lots more. The wine list is limited but there are a few French options if Greek wines aren't your bag. My husband (the wine connnoisseur) happens to love Retsina – the wine. I think it's evocative for him – there's really no accounting for taste. If there's any room for improvement, I feel the desserts could be a little more adventurous but then that suits me because I could without the calories.

Food & Drink: 4.0

Service: 3.0

Atmosphere: 3.0

Value: 4.0

Junglefresh. gold reviewer 02 April 2010

Why am I writing this review ? Not because this is an existential piece of self examination, but because I disagree with quite a lot that Food Fiend has written – not that I doubt her experience or sincerity but, simply put: my experience and hers are quite different. I have posted a number of reviews of restaurants my wife and I frequent which are within walking distance of where we live. We used to come to this site for romantic candle-lit dinners when Conrad's Bistro used to be here in the early 1970ies and we were both very young and, basically, penniless. When, a couple of generations later, Retsina opened here, I confess I was not a fan but I have slowly been won over. To the point that my overall opinion is that the food here is incomparably better than, say, Lemonia which is closer to where we live. True, Lemonia has a cracking atmosphere and a congenial setting , but here the food is in my view cooked on a far less industrial scale and with much more care. The results are as similar and cheese and chalk ! I was among a party of six friends of long standing last night. Often we meet up with one or both of our sons here for dinner on Sunday nights. The place was last night, and is normally, full – or nearly so – at 8.30pm when we tend to arrive. It seems obvious that six friends catching-up with each other are likely to enjoy themselves, so the likely success of the evening was always a probability which the food enhanced rather than detracted from. We had a bunch of starters, the usual suspects: humous, tarama, haloumi, pastourman… all these were reliably produced, and tasted as expected. The Chilean Sauvignon blanc and the Argentinian Shiraz Cabernet were reasonably priced and eminently drinkable. How much more can you ask for ? I normally have chicken souvla, which runs out early because it is slow cooked and SOOOO tender… and not bulk produced (a definite tick in the box). Two people had that last night and enthused ! My wife had the chicken kebab which she always looks forward to and was not disappointed by. One of the guys had the liver and onion which looked excellent (and I don't eat offal if I have a choice) and was pronounced to be just that. I had the lamb stew with spinach – which I found melted in the mouth, had no fat, and both tasty and subtle at the same time. True, the next table full of late twenties lads was loud – but restaurants (especially this sort of Levantine cuisine) are to be enjoyed: you can keep the funeral atmosphere of the more traditional restaurants for your maiden aunt (I haven't got one). Lastly, this is a family run restaurant and familiarity does not breed contempt. Regulars are appreciated and well treated. I recommend that (if you have read this far) you become one.

Food & Drink: 4.0

Service: 3.0

Atmosphere: 3.0

Value: 3.0

Food fiend platinum reviewer 31 March 2010

There are quite a few foodie places in Belsize Terrace and we decided Greek food was the meal to try this time round. The place was half empty though it was still early evening so i wondered whether id made a mistake. I then spotted what looked like an F word trophy next to the till – so my anticipation grew! I later found that this place was in the semi final of the show but didnt get put through due to lacklustre service… Anyway – we had two starters – spanagopita (feta cheese and spinach parcels) – simply delicious and filling. The other starter was plain humous – nothing impressive in the least, actually having a weird aftertaste, like the olive oil was off or something. Not worth having at all. The mains then arrived – absolutely massive. I had the lamb souvla – diced lamb, with tzatsiki – this was almost £14, plus you had to order sides. My friend had the kleftiko – similar price but came with sides. When they arrived – id never seen anything like this – huge and delicious. I was stuffed after just a small amount and took the remainder home. I think this will serve me for lunch for the next two days – plus it was delicious. My friend's kleftiko was similarly lovely – melt in the mouth tenderness – i half wished id had that though again, huge. These were meals to share, not for just one normal person (and i love my food!) We passed on puddings – looked quite tacky a la the ones you seem to see in cheaper chinese restaurants on laminated menus! Overal the bill for two huge mains, two starters, a side and a glass of wine came to £45. I agree the service was lacklustre and the place was half empty when i left – but gave the overall rating because of the mains alone.

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