11 years of authentic Greek Food — Byzantio
Some fellow Houston Bloggers and I were invited by Kubis a Houston Web Design agency specializing in marketing, web design and mobile development to a private tasting consisting of generous portions of Byzantio’s top menu picks. Byzantio is an authentic Greek restaurant known for their “Greek food with a Twist.”
Byzantio is a family owned business. Owner Ilias Giannakopoulos was born in Greece and has 30 years of restaurant experience under his belt. He and his wife Dora, a native Houstonian, decided to open up a business and introduce this new concept of “Greek with a Twist” to Houston. Byzantio opened in 2003 and incorporated a full bar, authentic Greek food and a full gourmet coffee bar. Totally a “one stop shop!”
In addition to the authentic Greek food, the venue itself is pretty amazing. Believe it or not, this used to be their residence and it truly felt like a “home away from home” because the family is so welcoming.. I loved that!
The decor for the evening was super cute with Greek name tags for the guest and note cards that had various Greek to English translations for common words. After spilling my water all over the table, the floor and my date I learned the word “Vlakas” means “Jackass”….
Prior to my visit Byzantio wasn’t even on my radar, so when I was approached to attend this event, I jumped at the opportunity. I love Greek food.. or what I thought was Greek Food. Byzantio opened my mind and palate to a few new things!
We started with 3 appetizers: The Spanakopita, A Trio of dips — Hummus, Tzatziki and Kafteri, and lastly Bougiourdi or “greek fondue”. Being the eater that I am I have clearly tried the first two items more times than I can count at various Greek, Mediterranean and Lebanese restaurants but never Bougiordi.
Bougiordi is a blend of feta and kasseri cheeses atop fresh tomatoes, diced serrano pepper & drizzled with olive oil that is then baked to perfection and served piping hot with fresh breads. It was freaking delicious and a perfect treat to pair with the cold weather.
Following the rounds of apps the entree and salad were served. The greek salad was your typical salad but the entree was the star of the meal in my opinion.
The entree consisted of Chicken, Lamb and Pork Kalamaki with Baked Lemon potatoes and Pastitsio (Greek Lasagna) — a Greek and Mediterranean baked pasta dish including ground beef and béchamel sauce. The lemon butter on the potatoes was amazing and the meats had a great bite and char to them. The Pastitsio reminded me of mac n’ cheese with meat. I can see kids digging it.
I wouldn’t typically order a plate with 2 starches but this presentation offered us the opportunity to try the various traditional Greek items. We were so stuffed that we took our food home and it was even better the next day! Following the meal we were presented with gift bags that contained the restaurants special Baklava. Hands down the best I’ve had thus far. It wasn’t too sweet and wet with syrup like most, but crisp and chewy. YOU MUST TRY THIS! There is no picture because I ate it too fast..
The meal ended with a toast of SKINOS Masthia Spirit Liqueur. Matshia is a brandy based liqueur made from “mastic” the resin of the Mastic Tree more commonly known as “the Weeping Tree” — native to the Mediterranean region and produced on the island of Chios. In the Byzantine Years, mastiha was exported as a luxury good and was used a cure for bellyaches.
I am horrible at taking shots. I have had experiences where gagging and choking have taken place, but for some reason I threw caution to the wind and took it like a champ. It was THE BOMB. Mastiha is very flavorful and sweet. Its smoothness was reminiscent of a sweet licorice schnapps. It came with a very nice bite at the finish. Coincidentally, Mastic means “to chew or to gnash the teeth”…interesting.. I love learning & trying new things!
With great specials Byzantio should be your Midtown/W. Gray Happy Hour spot. I can’t wait to go back and try some of their other menu items and specialty cocktails
Byzantio is very chill with a great patio for warm days. It has that “cheers” vibe where everyone knows your name. The family and staff were very accommodating and we had fun learning about the various cuisine and touring the restaurant. The walls are lined with photographs that contain a ton of history about the family and the restaurant itself.
In addition to their specials Byzantio is a great venue for private events. They have a built in DJ booth and sound system, great bartenders, indoor/outdoor seating (which can be configured to meet your needs) and a private parking lot!
403 West Gray
Houston, TX 77019
HAPPY HOUR Weekdays 4pm – 7pm
Monday nights – Trivia & Fun @ 8pm
Thursdays night – Belly Dancing @ 9pm