A Walk on the West Side

By Cindy Hemper

For a piece of sunny Greece, a taste of the Middle East, or a culinary nod to Italy look no further, Bistro 26 located at 3557 West 26th Street takes you on a tour of the Mediterranean and back to the States all in under a delicious hour.

For the past two years George & Angie Gourlias have been serving up a fantastic menu that includes all of your favorite American dishes along with food from Mediterranean region that are truly a kiss and a tickle to your taste buds.

Summer was made for food like this, dishes that float on the edge between healthy and mouth-watering while their menu tempts you to abandon all restraint and dig right in.

Mediterranean cuisine is typified by its flexibility, its range of ingredients and its many regional variations. Fish dishes are common as seafood is prominent in many standard Mediterranean recipes.

Olive oil and garlic are widely used in Mediterranean cuisine. It is widely believed that Mediterranean cuisine is particularly healthy. Grilled meats, pita bread, hummus, and falafel are very popular forms of the eastern cuisine.

From the moment I walked in, I was made to feel at home, as bistro was immaculate and beautifully decorated. Bistro 26 boasts an elegant atmosphere, yet maintaining a casual dining experience for its patrons.

Shortly after being seated, I was quickly served in a relaxing, softly illuminated dining room with a great choice of music playing in the background.

To start, the Crab Cakes were spectacular, some of the best I have ever had. Next came my Greek Salad, simply exceptional. Normally, a Greek Salad is made with Green Bell Peppers, instead, as a pleasant surprise this salad came with Red Peppers.

As an Entrée, I chose their Pan Seared Tilapia, which was served with capers, and seasoned rice and all were done to perfection. As a side, I ordered the Fries, which were light and crispy without even a hint of grease.

Just as a side note, Tilapia is a kind of White Fish also known as the Swimming Fish and is the common name for nearly a hundred species of cichlid fish from the Tilapiine Cichlid Tribe. Though all fish is good for you, this particular species is one of the healthiest and a dish full of flavor and nutrition.

Finally yet importantly, I tried the Baklava, with a perfect balance of flavors and ingredients that made for one of the best pieces of authentic Baklava pastry I have ever had.

With every bite its obvious the chef takes pride in and has a passion for food while still taking the time to visit the dining room, making sure the customers were all happy with the food.

With outstanding service and marvelous food that is reasonably priced and being nice enough for a date, quiet enough for a business meeting, and comfortable enough for the family or friends to get together, Bistro 26 is without a doubt, an Erie must taste place.