Written by Amber Tompkins, Food Editor
Photography by Chris Redd, Chief Photographer
If you’re looking for a place downtown to have lunch or dinner, Feta has options for you. Owner and chef, Dimitri Pomakis is a native of the Greek islands and grew up eating the recipes he now so passionately prepares. Dimitri believes that the food Feta serves should speak for itself.
Feta opened its doors in November of 2012 and it has been a delicious four years. They have a plentiful menu, offering a selection of appetizers, salads, Mediterranean entrées, pizzas, calzones, pasta dishes and delectable desserts. Everything is made fresh in-house and is prepared with authentic Greek love. Feta prides itself in using only the freshest of ingredients, some of which are locally sourced. The Salmon, for example, is wild caught and pan seared, skin side down and served on a bed of Greek potato hash – a delicious blend of chopped potatoes, zucchini, peppers, cherry tomatoes and onions, all seasoned with salt, pepper and oregano. If you’re looking for something healthy yet indulgent, you will want to try the roasted beet salad which is plated so beautifully you might feel bad cutting into it. Roasted beet slices are layered with a feta mousse and served atop a bed of spring mix with mandarin segments, toasted almonds and a few slices of red onion to balance the flavors.
Feta has won the hearts (& taste buds) of many Ocala locals and downtown business associates. On their lunch menu, you can find what is called a Tattookah Pita – a creation ordered so frequently by the neighboring tattoo parlor Dimitri decided to pay homage by putting it on their lunch menu. Though it may not be the most conventional Mediterranean meal, this pita which comes with chicken, hot sauce, and a blend of mozzarella and white American cheeses is ordered quite frequently. Everyone is family at Feta!
For an appetizer, you cannot go wrong with the fresh hummus, which is brought to your table in its own mortar and pestle and is made of nothing more than fresh chickpeas, roasted garlic and olive oil served with warm pita bread. The freshly ground chickpeas give the hummus a texture that is unlike anything you buy in the grocery store.
Though it is nearly impossible to choose a favorite entree at Feta, I am partial to the Pastichio (past-E-keyo) – a penne pasta mixed with ground turkey, feta cheese and a savory pumpkin custard that is baked until golden bubbly. This menu item began as a seasonally featured dish but became so popular and highly requested that it is now on their permanent menu.
If you’re a traditionalist wanting to enjoy a gyro, the Soutzouk pita is Dimitri’s version of the classic favorite. He creates a mixture of ground beef and lamb which is formed into patties and cooked on the flat top, giving the meat very bold flavor. If you’re indecisive or just want to try a bit of everything, the Greek sampler comes highly recommended. This is a combination dish consisting of Mousaka (eggplant, potato, zucchini, tomato sauce with ground beef, bechamel and a savory custard), Pastichio, Dolmades (grape leaves stuffed with a mixture of seasoned ground beef and rice), Spanakopita (spinach, feta, ricotta and tzatziki in phyllo dough), Chicken Souvlaki (marinated chicken skewers with onions, peppers and tomatoes), Tzatziki (sauce made of Greek yogurt, fresh dill and cucumbers) and a small greek salad which comes with ham, romaine lettuce, olives, tomato slices, feta and Greek peppers.
Feta offers tempting promotions from 3pm to 6pm where all beers and wines are BOGO by the glass. Wine is half price when purchased by the bottle. The wine selection offered at Feta includes authentic Greek wines, some of which you would otherwise have to travel to Tarpon Springs or even Greece to experience! OM
RECIPE: WILD CAUGHT SALMON
Feta Mediterranean Cuisine has a reputation for using the freshest ingredients, often locally sourced. Their Wild Caught Salmon is a popular dish for Feta patrons and now you can attempt to recreate Demitri’s famous dish at home.
8 – 10oz Wild caught salmon fillet, skin on
salt, pepper, oregano
extra virgin olive oil
lemon juice, fresh squeezed
1 idaho or 5 fingerling potatoes
white wine, 2 oz.
De-bone and fillet whole fish. Coat your cast iron or diamond plate skillet with a blend of canola and olive oil and heat skillet to very hot. Season salmon fillet with salt, pepper and oregano on both sides. Cook salmon, skin side down until the skin is crispy. At this point the fish is cooked about half way through. Flip fillet and cook for 30 seconds. Finish in the oven to preferred temperature. Drizzle with Extra Virgin Olive Oil and freshly squeezed lemon juice.
For the Greek potato hash boil potatoes, skin them and then cube them. Caramelize your chopped veggies in a skillet and drizzle with EVOO and garlic, add potatoes and 2 oz. of white wine to reduce the sauce. Add freshly squeezed lemon juice for acidity.