The Place: El Greco Mediterranean Café, 1592 Main St., Sarasota; open Monday-Saturday for lunch and dinner, Sunday for dinner; (941) 365-2234.
The Fare: Greek and Mediterranean favorites plus pizza.
The Drill: A facelift and name change have brightened up this downtown stalwart considerably, but the best news is that there now are sidewalk tables under a shade canopy.
The Bottom Line: El Greco built its rep on its gyro, that meld of thinly sliced lamb and beef on pita bread with raw onion, tomato and yogurt-y, cucumber-y tzadziki sauce. El Greco’s housemade version of this classic sauce, which also graces its souvlaki, is an exemplar of the form. In a word, yummy.
At lunch, the gyro comes either as a platter for the big appetite, the meat stacked high on an open-faced pita accompanied by rice pilaf and your choice of a small Greek salad or cup of soup for $8.95, or in the familiar sandwich form, suitable for rolling up and eating out of hand, for a mere $5.50. Both are good deals, as is the lunch portion of chicken with basil and tomato ($9.50), which combines a marinated grilled chicken breast smothered in goat cheese garnished with sun-dried tomato and fresh basil with an excellent vegetable medley and rice pilaf, plus the soup or salad option. Many other salad, sandwich and pasta choices are available for 10 bucks or less. And if you’re in the mood, El Greco has an excellent selection of imported beers priced at $3.75.