The Gardenia, situated just a minute from the market square, is an outstanding restaurant and takeaway. The catering business has occupied the same premises since 1924, but The Gardenia name was established in 1949. It’s since become a Cambridge institution. This friendly, relaxed Greek diner offers something to suit everyone and all dietary requirements, with a host of Mediterranean fare and specialities that you won’t find anywhere else. The ancient recipes have been handed down through the generations, and owner Mr Vasilis Anastasiou discovered many of them in old Greek books when studying at university in Athens. Today, he creatively mixes and matches over 300 ingredients in his inventive dishes.
Arguably more exotic herbs and spices are used here than anywhere else in Cambridge, and the menu will satisfy all tastes. The vegetarian and vegan selection is extensive, and halal food is served, even though Vasilis himself is Greek Orthodox. From simple black olives, mezze dishes and plain burgers with mayo to freshly cooked falafel and succulent chicken souvlaki (a signature dish), the choice is infinite. Pastourma, halloumi burgers, tzatziki, lamb souvlaki, calamari and Greek salad are other favourites, and the baklava and yoghurt with sweet honey will round off your meal a treat. Pair with a glass of retsina or ouzo if you fancy something stronger. British fish and chips are also available – the delicious cod fillet is divine – or alternatively, stop by for breakfast or coffee if you’re in the area. Don’t be surprised if you see a queue out of the door at 3am – the food really is that good, the prices are reasonable, and halal needs are catered for. You will leave feeling satisfied and very well looked after.