Kava Neo Taverna is a tiny Greek restaurant that opened barely two months ago to the day on a quiet corner in the South End. I first started writing about the new restaurant late last year and eagerly awaited their spring opening. In my opinion, no other restaurant opening in recent memory has so consistently heralded so much praise from so many and if you only read the first few sentences of this review, I’d like you to know you should go and check it out. The space is cutely decorated, includes a tiny outdoor patio and knowledgeable staff that are friendly and helpful if you are unfamiliar with Greek cuisine.
Most of Kava’s menu is small plates that are so delicious you will want to try a few. Their current menu has nearly twenty small plates you can have on your own or share that range from $6 – $16. On our recent visit we tried several small plates (all in the name of research) for this post.
The Feta Psiti is served warm with feta wrapped in phlylo that is liberally sprinkled with sesame seeds and then bathed in honey; it is sweet and light to the bite. I found myself using my fork to ladle more honey over the phlyo and warm feta before eating it. Barely a sesame seed was left on the plate.
Following the sweet psiti we were served Spanikopita. I love this traditional Greek dish and this too was delicious and surprisingly large, despite the fact that we consumed it so quickly. Our dish was served at room temperature and although I’ve usually had this served warm, on such a warm summer evening it was a welcome surprise.
The grilled octopus turned out to be my favorite small plate of the evening. Sprinkled with salt and drizzled with olive oil the slightly smokey flavor of the grill combined with the seasonings perfectly. I will absolutely order this again.
Before sharing our main plate, we ordered one of the four salads on Kava’s menu. The roka salad shown above comes dressed in a lemon vinaigrette with arugula watermelon and walnuts. It was light, refreshing and perfect for a summer evening dinner.
Kava also has five entrees ranging from $20 – $32, including a mixed grill of lamb, chicken and sausage; lamb chops (of course); grilled sea bass; beef short rib; and mousaka (shown above). The mousaka is served in a large, colorful bowl hot from the oven. This was the best mousaka I have had in recent memory and will be a staple for me later this year when the weather gets colder.
With so many mediocre restaurants openings lately, Kava bucks the trend and is a most welcome addition, but the tiny tavern takes no reservations and can be tough to get a table. Should you go and find there is a long way, give them your number and head over to Boston Chops to grab a drink at their bar. You can relax comfortably while you plan on what you want to order and wait for them to text you that your table is ready.
Kava Neo Taverna is open 7 days a week until 11PM and located on the corner of Shawmut Ave and Union Park in the South End at 315 Shawmut Ave.