Jim’s Greek Tavern first opened in 1980, and its charm has endured. In a city with countless dainty wine bars and finicky degustation menus (we love them), Jim’s has persisted due to its distinctive style and ambience. Simple, generous, flavourful Greek food is on the bill here - and the no corkage beer, wine and anything-in-between BYO policy don't hurt either. Two large rooms in white brick with soft blue details encapsulate the Greek patriotism that this restaurant is all about. Service is a medley of brusque, smiley or cordial – but it's always professional. Their ability to service over 200 guests on a busy night is just one of the things they’ve perfected in 40-something years.
The Panagopoulos family have been at the helm of Jim’s since its establishment and the impudent and jocular way in which the staff converse with each other personifies the family feel. Although there is a menu, you won't be offered one when you arrive. Instead, the waiter will reel off dishes by their principal ingredient, “fish, lamb, salad” – it's best if you just sit back and nod. Although this does mean you play a version of roulette with the bill, the gargantuan portions and aforementioned free corkage mean you usually break even.
Food comes out at a frenetic pace, and the waiters will usually be ferrying several plates of a singular dish to surrounding tables. Saganaki arrives in a heavy-bottomed fry pan with a thick slice of lemon. It's nutty and salty, but its appeal is temperature reliant so you’ll want to move quickly. An assortment of dips and a heaving bread basket arrive in quick succession – taramasalata, tzatziki and baba ganoush. They are all wonderfully garlicky and moppable, and the pickled carrot and octopus, and white bean salad they’re cushioned by are flavoursome and more-ish. A hot plate of battered calamari is welcomed with open arms, although not as crispy as you might like it's well cooked and seasoned. Any hunger-based aggression over food supplies will quickly diminish – as the dishes will just keep coming.
Juicy lamb cutlets with raw onion and the quintessential Greek salad with lavish chunks of feta. The whole pan-roasted snapper is flakey and tender topped with herbs and a compulsory wedge of lemon. The beauty of the food at Jim’s is in its simplicity. Discernable ingredients are fresh and respectfully prepared – this is honest, unpretentious food. Just when you think you can’t possibly eat any more, a colossal plate of perfectly pink lamb skewers arrives. Robust and meaty, you’ll make the room you didn't know you had.
Lazy ceiling fans and melancholy Greek music paradoxes with the lively, convivial atmosphere of the venue. The open kitchen is boisterous but efficient, churning out dozens of plates at a time. Jim’s has been a solution for group dinner predicaments for years, and this is the best way to enjoy the venue. Whether for a celebratory meal, or the first stop on a night out, Jim’s is all about enjoying yourself – and they make it so very easy.