Has it really been three years since Romeo’s Euro Café moved to downtown Gilbert? For more than a decade, I regularly stopped by its former strip mall location just north of Mesa’s Fiesta Mall to gorge myself on chef Romeo Taus’ pita sandwiches.
For more than a decade, I regularly stopped by its former strip mall location just north of Mesa’s Fiesta Mall to gorge myself on chef Romeo Taus’ pita sandwiches. When it closed to move, though, it somehow dropped off my radar.
Maybe the new location is too close to Joe’s Real BBQ, which tends to suck me in whenever I’m in the neighborhood. Or The Farmhouse, just across the street. Or the nearby Oregano’s.
Whatever the reason, I’ve never gotten around to checking out its new digs at Heritage Court, so last week I decided to remedy this and reintroduce myself to Euro Café’s eclectic, Mediterranean-influenced menu.
My first surprise is that the new ground-floor space appears to be about half the size of the former, with only a dozen tables. But historic Heritage Court has far more charm than a strip mall, and Taus and his wife, Janice, have created a warm, inviting space.
Exposed brick is covered with local artwork for sale. Shelves are stocked with bottled wine.
The menu, I’m happy to see, still includes more than two dozen of Euro Café’s signature pitas made with large, spongy flatbread. My favorite is the Alamo ($6.50), stuffed with grilled roast beef and onions, tossed in barbecue sauce and covered with cheddar cheese.
To start, though, I get my favorite Euro Café appetizer, deep-fried spanaki balls ($7) filled with spinach, rice, mozzarella and provolone and served with a chilled tomato sauce. Delicious.
Another highlight of the extensive appetizer menu is the greka platter ($10), baked feta cheese with green and kalamata olives, red peppers and scallions. It’s seasoned with rosemary and lemon, and comes with whole wheat pita chips.
There are a lot more entrees than I remember. A server recommends the pork Molise
($22), a pair of grilled tenderloins wrapped in bacon, which gives them a delicious, smoky taste and makes them very moist.
The pork is covered with honey-caramelized onions and a dark cherry sauce with whole cherries, and comes with a side of garlic-horseradish mashed potatoes. I definitely have a new favorite dish at Euro Café.
Of course, no visit would be complete without sampling from pastry chef Debbie Harvey’s decadent dessert case, one of the East Valley’s finest. Fun monikers include The Morning After ($6) — white sponge cake soaked in sangria with blackberries, white chocolate mousse and rose petal chutney — and Dark Desire ($6), a cake made with bittersweet chocolate, cocoa and chocolate ganache.
I kick myself for not getting to Euro Café’s Gilbert location sooner. You can bet it won’t take another three years for me to return.
Romeo’s Euro Café
Where: 207 N. Gilbert Road, Gilbert (just north of Elliot Road)
Open: 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. daily
Prices: Appetizers $4-$10, salads $8-$14, pitas $5.75-$7.50, pastas $14-$18, entrees $17-$22, desserts $2-$6
Information: (480) 962-4224 or www.eurocafe.com.