Melbourne is made up of a few main diaspora communities – the Greeks, Italians and Chinese – and they each have a precinct that they call home away from home. And every time I come back to Melbourne I would come to the Greek precinct to have a really good Greek meal.
Between Swanston and Russell Streets on Lonsdale Street, there is a concentration of Greek restaurants and shops. This is known as Melbourne’s Greek Precinct. I used to go to Stalactites, which has been there forever. But this time I wanted to try something else.
Tsindos has been serving traditional Greek food for decades. Three generations in the family. Established in 1975 by Harry and Eleni Tsindos. Then run in 1984 onwards by Eleftheria and Fred Tsindos and is currently run by Harry Tsindos Jnr, whom made me felt very welcomed when I dined here.
I came without a reservation, it was the first evening I was in Melbourne after two long years. They were very accommodating, making out a seat for me at the bar counter.
To get the meal going, I ordered some dips to go with the pita bread and a ice cold greek beer.
Traditional home made dips
melinzanosalata, tzatziki, tarama
The mix dips came with all three of their home made dips – melinzanosalata which is an eggplant based dip with olive oil and tomato, tzatziki which is the classic greek yoghurt with garlic and cucumber dip, and tarama which is salted cod caviar blended in stale bread.
My favourite was melinzanosalata. The grilled eggplant combined perfectly with olive oil, salt and chopped tomato, shallots and garlic.
chicken skewer, keftedakia, lamb cutlet, greek sausages, lamb and chicken gyros
What better to have a taste of everything that is on offer in a greek restaurant than to order their mix meat platter. Tsindos meat platter is priced according to the number of persons sharing the platter, but that does not meant that if you are dining alone (which I was then), they will short change you on the number of items in the mix. No no no. What I got for AUD 39 would be the same as for four persons but portioned accordingly.
You get one each of chicken kebab (skewer) that has been marinated with yoghurt and spices, keftedakia (greek meatball), lamb cutlet and greek sausages on top of a bed of lamb and chicken gyros with a side of greek salad with feta cheese and some sautéed potato. A lot of meat for one person. My favourite was the gyros with the burnt bits of fats from the lamb thrown in for good measure.
This restaurant is a great way to experience a bit of Greece and its lively culture. With friendly Greek speaking staff, an array of traditional Greek dishes to choose from and a warm, welcoming environment, Tsindos is the perfect place to dine.
And every weekend on Friday and Saturday, the section of the street would come alive (again after a long hiatus) with street performances just like a greek summer night along the coastal towns along the Aegean Sea.
Tsindos Traditional Greek Restaurant
197 Lonsdale St, Melbourne 3000
Tel : +61 3 9663 3194
Visited in Mar 2022