The Continental: Not So Suave
Brightly lit and decorated with international flags and Greek landscapes, the family-owned Continental is a long-time student favorite conveniently located on University Way, only a few blocks away from the University of Washington Campus.
The blue and white décor along with the tall front windows gives the restaurant a comfortable, friendly atmosphere well suited to chatting or passing time away with a bottomless cup of coffee and a piece of baklava. The length of its hours along with its convenient closeness to several bus stops and business centers make it a good breakfast or late morning coffee stop, and a wide range of patrons seem to linger throughout the day. The place is clean and orderly, comradely without being effusive.
Is enticing atmosphere and friendly service enough to carry a restaurant when unaccompanied by flavor, though? Bland and unimpressive food is the main strike against this otherwise pleasant Greek restaurant. The food, unfortunately, takes less Greek than an Americanized version of Greek cuisine, in which the flavor has been removed, made inoffensive as bread in a nursing home. Limp Greek potatoes had little to recommend them and generally the restaurant's menu has more to offer carnivores than vegetarians.
Menu items that stand out include the lentil soup, the chicken souvlaki, and the grilled feta cheese platter. The presence of alcohol on the menu also adds to its appeal for those who like a glass of wine with lunch or dinner. The Continental offers a catering service as well that includes a wide range of Greek wines.
Given the wealth of options in surrounding blocks, this may not be your first or even third pick for lunch or dinner. But the Continental does have something to offer that other restaurants on University Avenue don't. Skip the entrees and instead grab one of the delicious, honey-drenched, nut-dredged pastries to go, including several varieties of baklava, apple puffs, galactoboureko (custard enclosed in phyllo), kataifi (shredded phyllo dough in honey), and revani (semolina cake with orange syprup), all of which are made there daily in the shop.
Linger wistfully by the register looking at the shelves of desserts and you may find yourself sampling a walnut-studded tidbit drawn from the case and sliced up for distribution on the spot by a smiling clerk. Or, if you're homesick for the shores of Crete, browse through the small but select gathering of Greek groceries just past the pastry case.
Posted on February 17, 2012 by Cat Rambo