Friday, June 2, 2023

Greek Breakfast at Ithaki: First Impressions

Ithaki, a mainstay of Ipswich for about 25 years, moved to Peabody last year. This Greek restaurant, owned by Petros Markopoulos, has a very good reputation, and it's now located on Route 1, next to the Holiday Inn. It serves breakfast, lunch and dinner, although I strongly suspect that most people aren't aware that it has breakfast. I attended a wine dinner there recently (of which I'll be writing about in the near future), and the food was excellent. And yesterday, I decided to enjoy breakfast there.

There were only about six people dining there yesterday morning, which is a major reason why I don't believe many people know of their breakfast service. I've also spoken to a number of people and they too were unaware. Ithaki's breakfast menu has plenty of the usual breakfast dishes, from Pancakes to Omelettes, French Toast to Eggs Benedict. However, a number of dishes have a Greek flair to them, such as a Greek Omelette and Breakfast Gyros. Prices generally range from about $11-$16, with a few dishes priced less and a few higher. 

We began with one of their starters, the Bougatsa ($11), house-made milk custard wrapped in phyllo, and finished with cinnamon and powdered sugar. I was pleased that they used restraint with the powdered sugar. The warm Bougatsa was delicious, with crispy phyllo and a creamy, sweet custard filling, accented by the cinnamon. It's certainly large enough to share and is a nice way to start breakfast. 

I opted for the Strapatsada ($16), which is made with two scrambled eggs, braised tomato, feta, house cured pork, and tirokafteri. Strapatsada, which is also known as Kayianas or Menemeni, may have been brought to the Greek islands in the Ionian Sea by Sephardic Jews during maybe the 18th or 19th centuries. It's considered a rather simple dish of scrambled eggs and tomatoes, but the version at Ithaki is elevated and impressive. First, there seemed to be more than just two eggs in this hearty dish, and they were within a tasty, savory, and slightly sweet, tomato broth. Second, the pork was very tender and delicious, easily breaking apart under my fork, and adding a salty edge to the dish. Third, the tirokafteri, a spicy feta spread atop the dish, was also excellent, and I spread much of it on the warm toast. I'll also note that this is a Gluten Free dish. Highly recommended!

The Greek Benedict ($17) consists of thick English muffins topped by an ample portion of house-made lamb hash and Hollandaise sauce. It's also accompanied by a side of crisp home fries. The lamb hash was superb, meaty and tender, spiced just right. I'd order that hash as a side the next time I dined here. The poached eggs were cooked perfectly and the Hollandaise was fresh and delicious. Definitely a top notch Benedict dish. And the home fries were cooked well too, tender with a nice crispness to the exterior. Another winner of a dish.

Prices are reasonable for the quality and quantity of the dishes. I saw some other dishes, such as the omelettes, and they too contained an ample portion of food. The other diners, who sat relatively closely to our table were very happy with their breakfasts too. I'd definitely return here for breakfast again, and I hope to spread the word that they do serve breakfast and its worthwhile to dine there. And if you do have breakfast there, at least one of your party should order that Strapatsada.

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