Mediterranean rock sculptures create Greek atmosphere at Gardens of Salonica

Sam Flumerfelt, staff writer

Rated best authentic Greek food by Minneapolis-St. Paul Magazine for eight years and second best Greek Restaurant in America by Zagat in U.S.A. Today, Gardens of Salonica, located in Northeast Minneapolis, attracts customers to experience the food and serene atmosphere.

While Gardens has aspects of a modern restaurant, the window walls give the feel of an outdoor Greek Café. The loft-inspired building gives an open atmosphere to the restaurant as it reveals the cream-colored walls and woodwork. Rock art, charcoal drawings, and wooden sculptures, by Zoram Mojsilov, a northern Minnesotan artist, are scattered throughout the restaurant creating the feeling of an art gallery.

Known for its Boughatsa (meat or vegetables rolled in filo dough), Gardens of Salonica’s most popular dish is spinach Boughatsa. This combination of spinach, feta cheese, and a hint of lemon results in a harmonious symphony. Their other best-selling entrées are the traditional Gyros and Mousaka (eggplant).

The traditional Greek appetizer of pita bread and tzatziki sauce (strained yogurt accompanied by onions and other spices) satisfies the customer as they browse through the Greek dishes of braised lamb, Pastitsio (Greek lasagna), Spanakopita (spinach filled filo role), and the traditional Greek salad. Gardens of Salonica uses locally grown organic foods to create all of their masterpiece dishes.

After eating an authentic Greek meal, the apricot cream, chocolate hazelnut, and lemon cream Boughatsa are hard to pass up. Other traditional Greek desserts include Kataifi (almonds and walnuts rolled in shredded filo pastry drizzled with honey), the well-known Baklava, and Galatoboureko (cream and eggs in filo with a hint of orange). For those who are less adventurous, simple vanilla ice cream is a good resort.

The restaurant began when Cretan emigrant Larazos Christophorides and his wife, Anna, met at the University of Minnesota. Located at Como student housing on the University of Minnesota campus, Anna rolled hundreds of lemon cream BoughatsaTM per day.

After many raves from their peers, Anna and Lazaros decided to open an authentic Greek restaurant, called Boughatsa Inc., their trademark of things wrapped in filo, a tissue-like paper dough. Boughatsa Inc. soon became Gardens of Salonica, a favorite destination of the locals.

With locally-grown produce and authentic Greek food, Gardens of Salonica will surely keep you and your wallet happy. With prices ranging from $4 (appetizers) to $18 (two meat skewers of Makaronia Me Herinos) Gardens of Salonica surely makes for an authentic Greek meal in your neighborhood.