Indianapolis is quickly becoming one of the hottest food cities in America. A destination for true foodies who are interested in everything from fine dining to food trucks. This column will put the spotlight on one of these local hot spots to help get the word out and share in the love of all things food.
Review by Dustin Heller (@eatindywatchindie on Instagram)
We live in a fast-paced world where our dining experience is often dominated by fast food drive-thru windows and at-home door delivery services. Convenience is often times an essential part of our eating choices, so why not spend our hard earned money on fast food that is not only delicious, but…wait for it…healthy! Wow, shocker, right? Taziki’s Mediterranean Café is a fast food restaurant that adheres to their mottos of “Live the Good Life” and “Eat Healthy”. They are a breath of fresh air in the greasy, fatty cloud of smog that is fast food.
The Taziki’s origin story began in Alabama in the year 1998 when owners Keith and Amy Richards (not that Keith Richards!) returned home from a dream vacation to Greece. They enjoyed the healthy, community-focused Mediterranean lifestyle so much that they wanted to bring a taste of that to their community back home -- hence, Taziki’s was born. Indy’s first Taziki’s opened just a few short months ago at Keystone at Crossing (4025 East 82nd Street) and is already leaving its mark on Hoosier foodies.
Not only is the food packed with inspired Mediterranean flavors, but everything they serve is super fresh. There are no fryers or freezers on the premises and they get produce shipments seven days a week. That is unheard of for a fast food joint. Taziki’s truly embraces the Mediterranean lifestyle which emphasizes healthy eating, friends and community, and plenty of exercise -- and it shines through in every aspect of their business. The menu is loaded with tasty eats, but I’m here to let you in on my four items that you “can’t miss”:
Beef Tender: The “Beef Tender” is a sandwich that is found on the Mediterranean Deli section of the menu and it should be in flashing lights. I would hate for anyone to miss it because of the simple name. The perfectly grilled beef is tender, juicy, full of flavor, and piled high on a Kaiser bun with grilled onions, melted Swiss cheese, and a dreamy horseradish sauce. Since it is close to Halloween and all, can’t you just imagine Frankenstein ordering this sandwich, and upon taking his first bite uttering the words: "Mmmm, Beef Tender!"
Herb-Roasted Pork Loin: The loin of the pig is that area between the shoulder and the back legs, and is typically the leanest and most tender cut. The herbs paired with the pork give this dish a remarkable flavor, but the real showstopper is the famous Taziki’s tomato chutney aioli. The tender pork dipped in the aioli is a match made in heaven -- and that’s not all. To complete the feast, the pork loin comes with a side of grilled asparagus and your choice of roasted new potatoes or basmati rice. The only thing missing is a view of the Mediterranean Sea.
Whipped Feta: My regular readers already know how much of Feta junkie I am. So when I saw whipped Feta on the appetizers menu, I was all in. Feta is a crumbly cheese made from sheep’s milk that is very common in Greek food. With a tangy taste and a grainy texture, feta is an excellent cheese to serve whipped with fresh pita bread. Whipping the feta keeps all of that delicious flavor, but adds another level of creaminess. The secret to this dish is the honey drizzle on top which adds an element of sweetness that is truly delightful.
Grilled Lamb Gyro: You didn’t think I’d get through a “can’t miss” list at a Mediterranean cafe without mentioning lamb, did you? If you did, shame on you! Lamb is a staple in Mediterranean cuisine and a good gauge on the quality of any self-respecting Mediterranean restaurant. You could substitute the word “gyro” for “lamb” in the previous three sentences and it would fit perfectly. I guess what I’m saying is that a lamb gyro is pretty much the perfect Mediterranean dish. The pita is stuffed with the grilled lamb and garnished with Taziki sauce, tomatoes, mixed lettuce, and grilled onions … the stuff of legends.