Paris Restaurants: Filakia
9, rue Mandar, in the 2nd Arrondissement. 01 42 21 42 88.
Open Mon–Fri, 11:30 a.m.–3p.m. and 6:30 p.m.–10:30 p.m.; Sat, 11:30 a.m.–10:30 p.m.
There is no shortage of Paris restaurants offering fast food, including a large number of luxury burger joints that have started to pop up all over town, but Filakia has to be one of my newest favorites. Here’s why: I love Greek food, and the various souvlakia served here are the most amazing you will find in the city. The word souvlakia traditionally describes meat (usually pork, chicken or lamb) cooked on a skewer but is now commonly used to name the mouthwatering creation of this same meat wrapped in a soft pita bread along with veggies and one of my favorite sauces on earth: tzatziki.
I dropped by this newly opened eatery one night with some friends (one of them Greek) and my ravenous appetite. I had been dreaming of dinner all day and had a surge of excitement when I finally saw the word FILAKIA (which translates as “kisses” in English) boldly written on the sidewalk chalkboard.
Upon entering I was greeted by a decor that was simple, inviting and airy. The white stone walls and pale aquamarine bar stools gave me flashbacks of the cute little stone houses with similarly colored window shutters that I saw while strolling through the streets of Folégandros last summer. The two guys behind the counter were bearded and casually dressed, immediately reminding me of the men I saw spilling out of trendy bars onto the streets of Athens on those hot summer nights.
After grabbing one of the menus, I found the prices to be quite reasonable: a souvlaki pita, a side dish and a drink for less than 11 euros, or two souvlakia and a drink for 14 euros. The choices of fillings included herb-roasted chicken, sage-roasted pork, beef cheek braised in honey-mustard sauce, chicken oysters in their juice, and zucchini feta balls. I went for the sage-roasted pork souvlaki with a side of lemon confit potatoes and an iced tea (as for drinks, Filakia loses originality points).
The pita was thick and soft, just like you get in Greece, and the perfectly seasoned pork was tender, juicy (yes, juicy, so watch out all you klutzy eaters!) and carefully combined with lettuce, cherry tomatoes and a hint of tzatziki. The potatoes were also beyond delicious, bursting with flavors of cilantro and roasted garlic that nicely contrasted with the very slight tang of lemon. I managed to try a bite of the zucchini-and-feta balls from my friend’s pita, and I’m convinced that those deep-fried wonders could turn anyone into a vegetarian. The only real downside was the portions, which were pretty small: only one skewer of meat in each pita, and quantities of potatoes and french fries that were fairly modest. I was definitely left wanting more!
Overall I thoroughly enjoyed my light dinner at Filakia. Located in the lively Montorgueil area of Paris, it is a great place to stop by for lunch or dinner, between shopping or barhopping. Just remember that if you’re looking for large portions, you won’t find them here, but you will satisfy your souvlaki craving until your next trip to Athens!
In a nutshell: a hip eatery where quality is respected over quantity, making it the perfect place to grab a quick souvlaki for dinner before a night out in Paris.
Price check: menu consisting of souvlaki, side and drink, €10.90; souvlaki à la carte, €6–7.5; sides €3; desserts, €2-3.
If Filakia sounds good, you might also like Blend, a chic and creative hamburger restaurant that also has a location in Montorgueil. Read the review.
44, rue d’Argout, in the 2nd Arrondissement.
Mon–Sat, noon–2:30 p.m. and 7:30 p.m.–11 p.m.
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