Character's Taverna offers traditional and unique greek dishes in an European atmosphere.
Like the other reviews the food is ok,largish portions. So you will have some to take home. The specials are Greek or Italian. We stuck with Italian and the meals were good.
The bonus is that they have free parking at the back which is a rarity downtown and makes up for a lot of things.
Service was friendly. I'd go again.
We've seen this place before and heard some good reviews from friends so we decided to try it out.
The inside of the restaurant is pretty nice, doesn't look as big as it actually is from the outside.
It took no time for our server to greet us after we sat down but once we ordered the service was pretty good.
As you probably know, most Greek food plates are the same; in that retrospect the prices are on the higher end for Greek food fare but I definitely felt that it was worth it. We all ordered platters:
Roast lamb platter
Chicken souvlaki platter
I liked how it felt like it was a 2 course meal even though you paid for one item (the platter) because first they served the greek/caesar salad, then your platter. The platter came with your usual pita, rice, potato, main item, and mixed veg. Everything was pretty good, no complaints at all.
We decided to get dessert so we shared 2 - the Ek Mek and chocolate bougatsa. I order Ek Mek whenever possible because no dessert company makes Ek Mek, so I respect restaurants that have it on the menu cuz you know someone actually made it from hand. The Ek Mek was pretty good, would definitely order it again, and the chocolate mousse was your average dessert ordered from some dessert company.
All in all, we liked this place, it's probably the best that we've found close to our house, and we'd definitely come here again for our Greek food fix!!
I only go there for lunch and always order the meal size calamari. At $9.50, it's a real steal.
Humungous portions and oh so tender. Not fishy smelling, not hard, not rubbery, but very fresh. Melt in your mouth, but not like pasta -melt- in- your mouth. The plate was so big they didn't even fit the greek salad on there. I remember the greek salad used to be on the same plate. Now,it comes in a separate dish.
The roasted potatoes were done just right and piping hot. The greek bread was also on a side dish too. The greek salad had ripe, fresh meaty tomatoes and a good amount of feta cheese on it.
For $9.50, you can't complain about the meal. Service was very good too, but it wasn't busy at lunch, and they still had two waiters on duty. Not the best of ambiance, but it certainly is better than others.
I notice alot of big groups go there for lunch, as the last time I went there (Feb) there were also large groups, as was just recently.
Shall not be returning. I am amazed at how this place can survive with so many easily superior alternatives nearby.
Food: This place is definitely not Greek. Hello...Curries, Spaghetti Bolognese, Chicken Cordon Bleu, NY Steak, Quesadillas with Tandoori Chicken, Caramel Apple Cheesecake?! Agree with one of the reviewers - this place definitely has an identity crisis. Menu is extensive with multiple personalities. Last time I checked, India or the US were nowhere near Greece or part of Europe for that matter. We regretted the moment we were seated but felt bad leaving after perusing the menu. We ordered something we hoped would be "safe" - 2 souvlakis - lamb and chicken. Both were dry and chewy. Flavour was smokier than I liked and it was clear the grill had not been cleaned in a while. The sides were bland - rice pilaf was plain rice with frozen veggies, lemon roasted potatoes were dry and lacked lemon flavour. Food did not seem very fresh - how can it be with such an extensive menu of disparate dishes?! Food inventory and turnover is worrisome with such an extensive menu - a little bit of everything on hand just in case there is an order for Baby Back Ribs or for Tikka Masala Chicken or Miami Penne!
Service: A little bit slow and disengaged but no major complaints - again, the menu explains it all.
Value: Although prices are comparable to similar menu items elsewhere, value is contingent upon overall experience and quality of food - so I would have to rate this as poor. Especially since one can hop across the street for decent Greek food or up the block for Indian food (note, distinctly Greek or Indian - not some crazy mashup).
Ambiance: This place is tired and didn't seem very clean. Trying very hard not to think too much about my dinner...
I found the food tasty, well-presented, and adequately sized. The service was v good: friendly but discreet. Quite a good atmosphere after dark. The patio is great on sunny days. Not the end-all in west-end dining, but definitely worth the money.
Went here with my family for a birthday dinner. Greeted by the proprietor as soon as I came in, it's a real Greek restaurant where the owner mingles and jokes with the guests, and comes to fill up your coffee himself. I like that the restaurant has an indoor area, an outdoor patio, AND a covered patio that is fully enclosed with a glass roof. Beautiful smell to the restaurant, and the as I said, the staff was very attentive and friendly.
We had calamari and one of the kind of prawns for appies, I like their former a lot - their calamari is real, not the diced crap most places sell. The main dishes had by my party were salmon skewers, the rib dish, and 2x Spaghetti Bombay. Everything was enjoyed, but I especially enjoyed the Spaghetti Bombay... it was really the best spaghetti I ever had! And a huge helping as well, I couldn't finish. Their garlic bread is fantastic as well - unlike most Italian/Greek restaurants, their garlic bread is whole wheat. The menu also has a selection of Indian cuisine.
Had a great time with great food, will return!
This restaurant has been in Vancouver longer than I have. In the eighties it served up decent greek food, in the nineties it was a bit heavy on the garlic and the oil, early new century not too bad but lacking a bit of ambiance. My husband and I were regulars here in the eighties, we could walk there from our place on the hillside. Just last week we were in the mood for a bit of something different and decided to give the old haunt another go. Well some things only get better with age. No problem getting in without reservations, it was a Sunday at about 6:30. Were seated at a table immediately ... but the service after this point was very slow. Nearly 15 minutes went by before we could place our drink order. We ordered a bottle of Australian red (under $30), which did come quickly after the order. Perhaps we arrived in the middle of a shift change. Placed an appy order for the Kalamari (must have) which was so much better than we remembered it. Only a couple of 'tents' mostly 'tubes', served piping hot with lemon wedges and a generous portion of tzatziki. This came out with two piping hot pieces of pita bread, fresh form the oven and smoking hot. Delicious. For dinner we each ordered an entree, the Kleftori lamb for the gentleman and the Dolmades for myself. The lamb was advertised as a shank but came out as a braised 3 rib rack with a generous amount of meat attached to it. Well received and well eaten, he is still talking about this lamb days later. The Dolmades dinner is very large, six well seasoned perfect little bundles in a nice sauce. (I remove the leaves before eating). Both entrees come with the same sides; steamed carrots tossed in butter, broccoli florets (a bit long in the stalk), rice and roast lemon potatoes. Neither of us could finish our meals - either we are eating less or they have bumped up the size of their portions. So, food was terrific. No garlic breath in the middle of the night or the next day. The service could have been a bit better when we were first seated although progressed toward nearly efficient as the evening wore on. Value for the food is incredible, plan on taking some home with you or split an entree and a couple of entrees. Ambiance was good - they still have belly dancers on the weekends (not Sunday). Place was very clean and recently had some upgrades. Objects of interest in and outside of this place. Will certainly be going back soon.
I wanted East Indian but my Husband wanted a Lamb dish and not Lamb Curry so after the line ups everywhere were too long we decided to go to Characters, no line-up no waiting, how strange. After reading the menu my husband ordered Lamb shank and I had the spaghetti Bolognese instead of the East Indian food on the menu. We didnt know what to expect with all the choices, Greek, Italian, East Indian. Well it was more than delicious. My husband is a Lamb Shank freak, and we drive sometimes all the way to Laguna Blue in New Westminster just for the Lamb Shank, well no more, he just loved it. And I had the Spaghetti Bolognese it was really good and so much of it, I ate till I was stuffed! We asked the waitress "how come this place is so empty while the food is so good"? She said that most people dont know what to make of it, with all the variety available. Well they just do everything fantastic and we have been back there twice in the last 2 months. Good food and large portions and good service! You just cant ask for more.
Went here last night because friends from out of town didn't want to wait for Stephos line.
Having warned them that this restaurant is not pure Greek, but has also, Indian (presumed owners), & Italian on the menu we went inside because it did look quite spacious & was promptly greeted by staff.
The food: everyone on our table ordered something different dish (greek, italian, indian) and we were all pleased at the quality & quantity of the food).
Only thing dissappointing was the Nan bread we ordered was just really PITA & basamati rice for our indian entree was the same greek rice on the roast lamb.
I can say withtout a doubt my roast lamb dinner is much better than Stephos (not exactly a hard feat to pull off, read my Stephos review), however it is 30-40% more expensive.
Service & Ambience:
no complaints about service, was always prompt & attentive without being smuthering. Ambience however can be improved, surroundings were clean, but there was annoying techno dance music played in the background (perhaps they want to be an after hours club also?).
Cooking is solid, perhaps they would be an ideal candidate for the show "restaurant makeover"
I dined here with my husband late one Saturday night after a movie. We were very hungry and there were not too many choices around at 12:30 AM.
We were sat at a table by a very indifferent woman whose interest was not in her work. We ordered Calamari right away but it took about 15 minutes for it to come to our table and it wasn't that busy. We thought it was below average and flavorless. I ordered the roast lamb and my husband asked for the lamb Souvlaki. Both were dry and bland and not very nicely presented...and overpriced! There are better places around within meters of this place that offer much better food for cheaper prices. We were hungry so we ate it and did not complain but it was unsatisfactory. Not much enthusiasm from our server either and I don't think much would have been done if we had brought it to her attention.
Oh well. Best way to tell a restaurant you don't like it is to stop going there.
This Indian/Greek/Italian/North American place doesn't know what it wants to be. As the previous poster said, nothing is very good on the menu... although a few of the curries/sizzlers aren't bad. Make sure the calamari is FRESH!
Seems like there's one woman who owns and usually serves us here, and you get the vibe that she is watching over everything at all times. There's also a slick, hairless waiter who tries waaay too hard. Other than that, I've never seen another server working more than once there... it's got to be a high turnover for a reason.
The patio can be decent in the summer, though, and occasionally there is good live music.
The greek salad was actually not too bad. I have never had such bad Calamari or Humus before. The calamari was undercooked and the humus was tasteless and lumpy. I have ordered from here before and do not remember it being this bad. It was very difficult to place my order. The owner actually delivered and when I mentioned this he made as sexist comment, inferring that it was because she is a women. I will not be ordering from here again.