Dishes here are as authentic as-can-be; think party-sized platters and mezze feasts, showcasing traditional souvlaki, gyros, moussaka and homemade dips, roasted stuffed peppers, slow-cooked lamb and pulled pork pittas and sensational Greek-style salads with homemade tzatziki – the best we’ve tried. Gluten-free options available.
8 Bigg Market, Newcastle, NE1 1UW; kafeneon.co.uk
A family-run restaurant (the owners originate from Crete) and takeaway in Lanchester, specialising in fuss-free, home-style dishes, made in the most traditional of ways. It’s Greek, calorific comfort food at its best; stuffed pitta wraps, smothered in tzatziki or Greek yogurt, with thick-cut chips, Greek-style pizzas, baked pasta and meatballs, giant lamb chops and a divine range of starters. Our picks? The stuffed vine leaves, hummus and feta pastry parcels, pan-fried saganaki and king prawn ‘zorbas’.
21 Front Street, Lanchester, County Durham, DH7 OLA; yannisrestaurant.co.uk
Acropolis Greek Taverna, Middlesbrough
Brothers Fotis, Xristos and John bring a taste of Athens to Teesside through their hearty portions of traditional meats and spectacular seafood, and inventive veggie-based dishes. The menu isn’t massive, but what it lacks in size it makes up for in flavour; lamb cooked in a traditional clay baker ’til melt-in-the-mouth tender, oven-baked seabass and aubergine, king prawns in Ouzo and garlic and mounds of roasted Med-style veg. A visit without dessert would be tragic – the ‘kantaifi’ (layers of filo pastry, rolled with walnuts and soaked in honey) is a must-order.
141 Linthorpe Road, Middlesbrough, TS1 5DE; acropolistaverna.co.uk
Stalida Greek Taverna, Hexham
Eat here and be transported to Mykonos. Hexham’s most popular Greek spot was purposely decorated to mimic a traditional taverna and the menu shows off the stuff served in the owners’ by-the-sea restaurant in Crete – dishes that have been passed down through generations with love. The silky sardines, mussels with feta, charred pork skewers and deep-fried courgettes get our vote.
9a Battle Hill, Hexham, Northumberland, NE46 2AJ; stalida.co.uk