Review: Anna’s Restaurant

Hubby and I used to love Anna’s Restaurant, and thought it was hands down the best Greek food in Columbus. Unfortunately, we had an experience with the food last time (a dish being sent back 3 times – first underdone, then burnt, and then tough) that had left a bad taste in our mouth, and kept us away for a while. After some really good Greek food in Cleveland a few weeks ago, we decided to give it another try locally.

Appetizers were wonderful. We ordered the Anna’s Combo, which according to the menu has “two dolmathakia (ground meat and rice in grape leaves with lemon sauce), tyropita (cheese phyllo turnover), spanakopita (spinach feta phyllo turnover), tomatoes, feta cheese, olives, served with hummus and the house tzatziki. It also came with gyro meat, which wasn’t listed on the menu.

This combo is so big it takes two plates to hold it all.

I’ve been craving hummus for a while, and Anna’s is excellent, rich with tahini and olive oil, and with a subtle bite because of the paprika sprinkled on top. It goes well with the soft, still warm pita bread it’s served with. Their dolmathakia are the best I’ve had locally – most local restaurants only have vegetarian dolmathakia, which I find underwhelming. The avgolemono sauce on top complements them perfectly, creating an interesting contrast with the beef-lamb mix. Their tzatkiki is fantastic, with a bite I couldn’t identify, and it went well with everything, from the spanokopita down to the gyro meat.

Hubby opted for an extra order of the dolmathakia because two just weren’t enough to sate his craving for them.

I have absolutely no complaints about the appetizer portion – they couldn’t have been more perfect.

Our problems started with the entrees. I ordered the pastitsio (baked macaroni and ground meat with a bechamel sauce on top) – according to the menu, it comes with lemon potatoes, green beans, fresh rolls, and choice of soup or salad.

My soup was great – nice creamy flavor with pieces of rice and chicken, with the lemon being very subtle.

But when my entree came, here is what I was presented with:

Um, ok. Pastisio – check. Lemon potatoes – check. Green beans – have suddenly turned into eggplant, which I hate unless well hidden in another dish, or breaded and fried. Rolls – completely missing.

The manager comes over, and I ask very politely – isn’t this supposed to come with green beans? “We’re out” And rolls? “We’re not baking any more tonight, but we might be able to find some pita”. OK.

Needless to say, if I had known this, I would have probably ordered something different, as these two items were half of the reason I ordered pastitsio in the first place.

Hubby was quite pleased with his choice, which was Lamb Kokinisto, described as “succulent lamb pieces cooked very slowly with tomatoes, scallions, fresh herbs, and finished with a special Greek wine.” He said the lamb was quite tender, and the flavor was good, but the overall vibe was more Italian than Greek.

For dessert, hubby and I shared a piece of galaktoboureko, which is a farina-custard filling wrapped in phyllo. I love this stuff, but unfortunately, I remember that it used to be much better.

Needless to say, overall it was pretty disappointing. Service was spotty, with us having to track down our waiter by roaming toward the kitchen area several times, and things would have gone a lot smoother if they had warned us ahead of time of the items they were out of. Considering the fact that they hadn’t, some sort of concession, like giving us the entree at the ala carte price, or giving us dessert for free, or even a sincere apology rather than shrugged indifference would have gone a long way toward making us return to their restaurant. Considering they were aware of the bad experience we had last time, this is even more true than usual.

It’s a shame, though – because they used to be so good. Their food still is. They’ve fallen into the disturbing trend I’ve noticed with several other Columbus restuarants – indifference. Too many places these days stop cooking fresh food at a certain cut off point. While I can understand the economics of it from a restaurant manager standpoint, this is the type of thing that will drive customers away in droves. If you have hours posted, make sure you treat your customers at 8:30 the same way you treat your customers at 6:00.

I usually visit a place at least twice before I give a critical review, unless the offense was so glaring the first time, that I won’t go back. In this case, I went here for years, and the last few times, it’s been consistently bad, either with food or service. Maybe I just have bad luck here. So overall review? Used to be great, but now inconsistent food and service. When it’s spot on, there’s no better. Unfortunately, it hasn’t been spot on in my last few visits.

If you'd like to go: Anna's Restaurant, 7370 Sawmill Center, Columbus, OH 43235, 614-799-2207.

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6 thoughts on “Review: Anna’s Restaurant

  1. Heather

    I understand the complaints about the service at Anna’s. My husband and I have been going there for years, at least several times a month, and we have always kind of joked about the horrible service. However, this is a small family-run business with Anna being there 7 days a week to run the place. The same people are cooking all the time-overall the staff is very small. But the food is always amazing, and although they may run out of things later in the evening, it is understanable with a place like this that might as well be run out of Anna’s own home kitchen. That is what we love about this place, it’s complete authenticty, freshness and personality. You could always go to Applebee’s or McDonald’s right before they close and get whatever you wanted–but who knows how long it’s been prepackaged, frozen and sitting uner a heatlamp. Anna’s is the best, I would take it any day despite the slow service and occasional menu changes that might occur.

  2. Dan

    I ran across this review and the subsequent response, and felt very compelled to add my two cents worth. My family as well had frequented Anna’s many times since it opened, and as others have stated, tolerated the sometimes spotty service because the food was always first rate. However, I must profess that our last few visits – one very recently after a long haitus – were very disappointing due to the indifference of the staff. I do not agree with Heather; while I empathize with the hard working, family atmosphere of the place, that is no excuse for not extending the courtesy of letting patrons know when an item is no longer available for the evening, or sincerely attempting to right a wrong. We have experienced the bad end of both at Anna’s on more than one occasion and it is wearing very thin.

  3. Cindy

    I just visited Anna’s Restaurant this past weekend. The food was great, the service was fine, I got pita refills and ice tea refills promptly, Anna even came over to see how everything was. My waitress did forgot my lemon chicken soup though, that was my only complaint.

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