Welcome everyone Sandra in Spain - FlamencoI’m Sandra Piddock, and I’m a freelance writer, dividing my time between Spain and the UK. I’ll write about anything that interests and/or challenges me, and I like to focus on the lighter side of life whenever possible.. Read more
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Restaurant review: Lanterns Greek Restaurant, Cornwall Street, Plymouth

Although there are all sorts of cuisines available at a great price and quality near my home in Algorfa, I’ve yet to unearth a good Greek restaurant within driving or staggering distance. I mentioned this to my friend Glenys a few years back on a visit to Plymouth, and she took me to Lanterns, advising me to ‘Prepare to be amazed.’

The first time we road tested Lanterns together, it was coming up for Christmas, and the place was heaving with office parties, etc. So we were delighted when they cheerfully squeezed us in between two groups. They warned us that we would have to wait a while for our food, but brought out some home made Greek bread and a bottle of very nice house rose to keep us going.

Although Lanterns is a very busy restaurant in the middle of Plymouth city centre, the staff never seem pressured – in fact, they seem to enjoy themselves just as much as the diners – many of whom eat there at least once a week.

We really enjoyed our food, but because I spend a lot of time in Spain, we didn’t return for some time. Almost a year, in fact. As we walked in, the two lovely waitresses greeted us like old friends, and remarked that it had been a while since they’d seen us. With Glenys and I, it’s ‘Once seen, never forgotten,’ and they started reminiscing about the great evening we’d all had on our last visit.

The highlight of that first evening was when the group to the left of us were getting a bit too full of Christmas spirit – and wine, and beer – and started effing and blinding. It didn’t bother us, but one of the party told them in a stage whisper to ‘Pipe down, or you’ll offend the lovely ladies sitting next to us.’ I couldn’t resist it – I stood up, leaned over the dividing screen between us, and said, ‘Hey, no f***ing swearing if you don’t mind – you’re putting us off our dinner!’  That set the seal on the tone, and all of a sudden, we were extra guests at everyone’s party.

We’ve tried a couple of other Greek restaurants in Plymouth over the years, but nothing matches Lanterns for atmosphere, food quality, portion size and value for money. The first couple of times, we ordered starters, then realised there was way too much food for us, so now we tend to go for a main course and a dessert – if we have room, that is.

A couple of nights ago, we had a rather unpleasant experience at the Notter Bridge Inn near Landrake. Long story short, after waiting for almost an hour for our food, we were thrown out as ‘liars and troublemakers,’ because we had the temerity to ask why people who had come in after us were being served first. If you want to read the whole sorry story, you can find it here.

We decided to go to Lanterns, and as usual, we were welcomed with open arms – such a contrast to our treatment at the Notter Bridge Inn. Once again, we were given lovely fresh home made bread to take the edge of our hunger while we waited for our meals. I went for my favourite Lamb souvla with a tasty Greek salad, rice and tzatziki, while Glenys chose belly pork with rice and vegetables.

Previously, we’ve tried the moussaka, beef stifado, mushroom stroganoff, grilled chicken, kleftiko and the range of kebabs. Everything we’ve ever had has been cooked and presented to perfection, and we’ve invariably needed to ask to have some of the meal packed to take home. This is an old menu, but it will give you an idea of the range of food on offer.

Lanterns offer a 3 course lunch menu, as well as an early bird evening menu between 5 and 7, as well as their extensive a la carte collection.All their desserts are home made too. I couldn’t resist the Banoffee Pie, even though I’d only managed half of my lamb souvla. I asked for a ‘small’ portion, but as you can see from the pictures, it wasn’t that small! It was, however, the best Banoffee pie I have ever tasted – and I’ve tasted a lot over the years.

Do yourself a favour if you find yourself in Plymouth, and check out Lanterns. You won’t be disappointed, and you won’t need to take out a second mortgage to eat there, even if you go a la carte. We normally pay around £40 for two main courses and a bottle of wine – slightly more if we have a dessert, but usually we share one between us. Maybe we’ll see you there soon!

You can find Lanterns at 88 Cornwall Street, Plymouth PL1 1LR. Metred parking is available outside, and there are two nearby off road car parks. Phone 01752 665516 to reserve your table, or enquire about availability for special celebrations. Tell them Sandra in Spain sent you!

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