Cafe Vasiliki


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Update: This restaurant has closed

A Caveat

Summary: An extensive salad bar is not enough to raise this Hayward restaurant from coffee-shop mediocrecy.

Cafe Vasiliki is a run-of-the-mill coffee-shop that is best known for its extensive salad bar. And it was because of the salad bar that our friend Regina suggested we meet there for dinner on a Tuesday night in May 2005.

The coffee-shop is typical for that type of establishment, with booths of different sizes and a counter where the salad bar is located. In addition to the salad bar, it has an extensive menu of all-American dishes with a few Greek dishes that pay homage to its name.

I decided to see how well they could do Greek cuisine and went for the chicken souvlakia ($13). It came with my choice of soup or a trip to the salad bar, rice and grilled veggies. That day's soup was turkey and I was served a huge portion. It tasted like what it was: a creamy turkey soup. It wasn't anything special but Mika liked it. The chicken wasn't too appealing either - it was white with grill marks (adding turmeric to the marinade would have given it a nicer yellow flavor, but it wouldn't be very Greek I guess), and was pretty dry. The lemony flavor was nice, though nothing out of this world. The garlic bread it came with had too much oregano. All in all it's not a dish I'd order again.

Mike had the lasagne ($10). It didn't taste of the ground been and sausage it was supposed to have, but he liked it anyway. It also came with soup or a choice of a trip to the salad bar (he chose the latter).

Boris went for the Chicken Monterey ($12), a boneless, skinless breast of chicken marinated in similar spices as the souvlakia, broiled and topped with cheese, mushrooms and avocado. He thought it was pretty good, it wasn't dry, and it was flavorful enough. He said he couldn't complain.

Regina decided on the salad bar ($8.50 for unlimited trips). The salad bar was truly impressive. It offered many pre-mixed salads, including a variety of green salads and pasta salads. It also included dolmas (good) and slices of spanakopia (not that good), baklava and lemon cake. Mike and Boris each took a trip to the salad bar, but were a bit disappointed; just one trip wasn't enough to find the items they liked most. But even Regina wasn't overly impressed. Overall, she liked it, but definitely wasn't doing cartwheels over it.

Service was fine, though they were very slow to come to bring and get the bill - even when half of our party was outside with a crying baby. In all, I see no reason to go back. Regina and Boris who have been there for breakfast, say it was just OK.

Cafe Vasiliki
25202 Hesperian Blvd.
Hayward, CA