COURTESY OF NATALIE WU
Wu enjoyed Cypriana’s Classic Hummus & Wood-Baked Pita Bread.
Want to impress your date? Are your parents in town? Or do you just want to splurge and enjoy a meal that’s a level above the restaurants on St. Paul Street?
College campuses aren’t typically associated with fine dining options. They mostly include a mix of fast food chains with clogged lines of students in a hurry to get to their next class, or they offer overpriced, inauthentic ethnic food. The restaurants on St. Paul Street are certainly no exception.
So the question remains: What do you do if you want to experience fine dining, without making the journey all the way to the Inner Harbor?
The solution: Make a reservation at Cypriana, one of Baltimore’s best Greek and Mediterranean restaurants! With 4.6 out of 5 stars and 530 reviews on OpenTable, you can rest assured that your bellies will be satisfied.
Located right around the corner from the Broadview Apartments on the north end of campus, Cypriana is within walking distance. The Blue Jay Shuttle frequently makes stops there. I visited for the first time this past weekend, and I fell in love with it.
The building is well-lit and stylish. The first thing you see upon entering is an ornamental bar. It offers a dazzling array of local and imported wine, as well as chic homemade cocktails if you’re 21 and over.
The service at Cypriana couldn’t be friendlier. In fact, the manager himself checked in on us since we were first-time customers!
Now let’s get down to business: the food.
The recommended course is two small plates, an entree and a dessert. For my boyfriend and me, this was more than enough to share, especially since we chose the more filling options. It eases pressure on the wallet a bit too if you’re paying out of pocket.
We started with the Classic Hummus & Wood-Baked Pita Bread. You might wonder, why would I pay between $9 and $13 for hummus and pita here when I can buy it from Giant? The answer is simple: The stuff at Giant isn’t fresh or authentic.
The pita at Cypriana, on the other hand, comes out hot and puffed. The hummus is fashionably presented with black nigella seeds, olive oil and smoked paprika. It’s far less sweet and salty than Sabra’s and of much higher quality.
Our next small plate was the Mousaka of Cyprus, a mix of ground beef and lamb, zucchini, and potatoes stuffed in layers of eggplant, served with a side of tarragon sauce. This dumpling-like dish was small but filling, and I couldn’t get enough of the tarragon sauce. The sweet, creamy side was definitely my favorite topping at the restaurant.
For the less adventurous eaters, try not to run out the door when you see Pork Belly and Butt on the menu. They aren’t common in American supermarkets or dishes, but don’t use that as the barometer of tastiness. In fact, Pork Belly and Butt is one of the restaurant’s most popular entrees!
Two hearty chunks of roasted meat are served alongside fresh tabouli, a Mediterranean salad, and crispy Cyprus fries with dill-Greek sauce. My recommendation is to take small bites and mix all three together.
Finally, we finished the night with loukoumades, fried Greek mini-doughnuts drizzled with honey syrup, cinnamon and pistachios. The dessert features six loukoumades, each on a skewer. The crispy doughnuts go well with a cup of coffee — helpful if you have to study after your meal!
I was more than impressed with the quality and authenticity of the food. Don’t worry, the authenticity bit is Greek-friend approved.
Overall, Cypriana is a great place to go if you’re willing to splurge (please look at prices ahead of time) and chat with others over great food. I don’t recommend going alone, and given the normal clientele, I’d avoid showing up in sandals or ripped jeans. Lastly, its popularity means that it can get busy. Make a reservation ahead of time, especially on weekends!
So what are you waiting for? Head on over to Cypriana and enjoy an authentic Greek dinner tonight.