The Acropolis is missing, but Ballard’s Plaka Estiatorio still reminds me of Plaka, the historic neighborhood in Athens. Fresh olive tree branches fill vases, and big bins of eggplant and herbs line the open kitchen. Ourania Tziotis and her parents, Katerina and Yiannis, buzz about the dining room with plates of Greek specialties, made from scratch.
Their signature meze, octopodi ($18), is a generous curl of octopus marinated in white wine and red wine vinegar, and braised in whole onions, black peppercorns, fennel, bay leaves, oregano, anise, coriander and celery stock. Pair the perfectly chewy octopus with a crisp Macedonian rosé, and you’ll practically hear the bouzouki’s twang. Ballard, 5407 20th Ave. NW; 206.829.8934; plakaballard.com