Sherman's Food Adventures: Royal Oak Restaurant

Royal Oak Restaurant

I'm sure you've noticed all the newer restaurants that I have blogged about recently.  Well, let's be honest here - people like reading about the latest spots to open because they want to know if they are worth going to.  But what about the long-standing joints that have been around for decades?  It goes without saying that people have either heard of them or have already eaten there.  So yah, not the sexiest places to blog about.  Yet, they always remain somewhere in the back of my mind and are an option when the situation presents itself.  Yep, that was the case when we needed a family-friendly spot to celebrate Girl Smiley's birthday as it was also close by to her house.

It's not like I haven't wanted to try the place out over the past decade and beyond, but recent reviews have indicated that it has gone downhill and things weren't the same as before.  I try to ignore those to find out myself.   As part of what the dishes ordered, we were served both Greek and Caesar Salads to start.  They featured fresh veggies where the Caesar was dressed just enough.  We found the Greek salad to be under dressed though.  To get a taste of the menu, we got a medium half and half Pizza consisting of the Royal Oak and the Meat Lovers.  Underneath the considerable amount of melted cheese was layers upon layers of meat.  It was more like a pizza sandwich or a quasi-deep dish.

For the kiddies, they wanted pasta so we got the Baked Spaghetti and Meatballs as well as the Baked Penne Carbonara.  These were both the large size, but the portions were rather modest in my opinion, especially for the price.  However, the spaghetti was acceptable though being just a touch soft while bathed in a balanced tomato sauce.  We added meatballs and they were meaty and moist (yet small).  When it came to the carbonara, the penne was pretty much cooked to death.  Think soft and then one more level past that.  Hence, it was our least favourite dish despite the ample bacon and flavourful creaminess (yes, not an authentic carbonara, but that is not what they serve here).  As with both pastas, there was a layer of ooey gooey melted cheese on top.

Okay, onto the main event, the Greek Dinner for 2 consisted of spanakopita, calamari, lamb chops, moussaka, chicken souvlaki, rice, lemon potatoes, tzatziki and pita bread.  Although it was $52.99, this was more than enough food for 4 people, let alone 2.  Beyond the portion size, the food was quite good.  I particularly enjoyed the moussaka as the meat was tender and well-seasoned while the bechamel was creamy and not too firm.  The souvlaki was charred and tender.  One thing that stood out was the thick and garlicky tzatziki - perfect for dunking the crispy and tender calamari into. For good measure, we also had the Roast Lamb which came in a generous portion.  It was fatty and succulent while well-seasoned.  On a side note, the lemon potato was really tangy which didn't bother me one bit.  Ultimately, this dish along with the platter and pizza won me over.  I thought they were all well-executed and a good value.  On the other hand, the pastas lagged behind.  But I would come back for the Greek food.

The Good:
- Greek food was on point and well-portioned
- Service was friendly for us (unlike the online reviews)
- Lots of toppings on the pizza

The Bad:
- Pastas were meh and overpriced

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