Filakia is authentic Greek food in the heart of Paris.
The beauty of living in a major city is the cosmopolitan aspect of cultures, not just of food but the friends you acquire and the culinary experiences this leads to. Discovering foreign food native to my friends is perhaps one of my most exciting past times, so I was offered to sample some Greek fast food with a Greek friend, I took the offer like a shot.
He took us to Filakia, who specialize in souvláki, a folded up pitta (specially imported from Greece because no other pitta will suffice), that contain a variety of fillings depending on what you fancy. They offer a set menu deal, either one souvláki with house fries and a drink for €10.90, or two souvláki and a drink for €14 etc. (see all the combinations on their website, details below), or you can order à la carte.
We both got rather excited and perhaps over estimated our appetites, and ordered two souvláki, a beer and fries to share (which came to €17.50 each). I chose the vegetarian souvláki and the lamb whilst my friend opted for the beef bifteki and roast pork. I started with the vegetarian one and it was delicious, the spinach and feta had been deep fried and served with salad and a traditional Greek dressing, in the fluffiest pitta I have ever encountered- very unlike the pittas you encounter in England or the falafel takeaways in le Marais.
I recommend this one to all the vegetarians and non-vegetarians reading this. Though it is a simple combination and one I employ a lot in my own cooking at home, this was a different spin on spinach and feta and also very delicious. The house fries were perfect too, and I think a lot can be told from an establishment’s house fries.
By contrast, my second souvláki was somewhat disappointing. To start with, it had obviously been contaminated with another meat (of what I am not 100% sure though I suspect it was chicken), because the first part was certainly not lamb.
As a result I struggled to enjoy it properly as it made me rather uneasy not really knowing what I was eating. It was ok, but not as good as the vegetarian one and I was very off put by the ambiguous contents of my second souvlaki.
My Greek friend echoed my sentiments, he confirmed that the pittas were perfectly reminiscent of his childhood culinary memories but was less enthused about their contents (even less so than I) but still enjoyed it.
I will not chalk this up to a defining Greek experience, however it is after all fast food, not Michelin star cooking, for what it was it was perfectly decent and a great place to have a bite and head to one of the many busy bars nearby after. I would go again, but perhaps avoid the meat.
And incidentally, Filakia is Greek for “little kisses” – so lots of love!
Address: 9 rue Mandar, 75002 Paris.
Metro: M3, Sentier
Phone: 01 42 21 42 88
Hours: Monday to Friday, 11:30 to 15:00 and 18:30 to 22:30
Saturday, 11:30 to 22:30
Bank Holidays, 11:30 to 15:00