With its white-washed walls, rustic floors, and straw chairs one can easily mistaken the few yards from the brick sidewalk to the front door as the 4,000 mile flight from Boston to Greece. Aqua glass bottles of water perch on taverna tables. The walls are lined with black and white photos of Zorba the Greek's soulful smile, and other familiar faces from Greek Hollywood and beyond. When evening sets in, the soft glow above the sparkling, marble bar transports its patrons to the Greece we long for, or see in our dreams.
Kava Neo-Taverna, named after the Greek slang word for wine cellar, is nestled in a quiet neighborhood in the South End. The bar’s shelves, strung with woven rope and adorned with familiar Greek charms, house impressive, authentic Greek spirits. Fix, a favorite beer of Greece, and traditional Ouzo liquor and Tsipouro brandy dominate the menu. Delectable wines hail from the islands of Santorini and Crete and cocktails are fresh, light, spins on European favorites and Greek loves combined.
Traditonal Lavraki (sea bass) is prepared exactly as it should be: served whole, grilled in the authentic lemon and olive oil flavors of our childhood, on beaches around the gems of the Mediterranean. Order mezedes, to share for the table, and feast your eyes on the bursting reds, yellows, and greens of a Horitatiki (village) salad, with a sprig of fragrant oregano for garnish. The htapodi is tender and juicy, and tastes of Aegean shores. It’s the octopus we’ve had under the shade after hours in the waves, the salt kissing our skin.
Everything on the menu is superb, but other favorites include the Stifado, beef short with cipollini onion and a rich demi glace. Its unique flavors come from the clay pot it’s baked in, marrying the aromas of the vegetables and meat together. With spices and produce imported from Greece as much as possible, it’s hard not to taste a traditional, rural garden in every morsel.
Kava is about more than the flavors bursting from its white, Greek-island dishes. It’s about the experience. It’s nostalgia, a dream, an August dusk on Paros Island. Kava has captured the quaint feeling of a traditional Greek “magazi,” in a bustling American city. Both soulful taverna and chic, wine bar, it’s the essence of not just Greece, but Ellada.