It's Greek to Us

Flaming cheese comes to Grand Lake

After so many high-profile restaurant openings, a new family-run Greek joint is a refreshing change.

Ikaros, in the Grand Lake neighborhood of Oakland, doesn't have the aspirations of, say, Kokkari. But what it lacks in fine-dining touches it replaces with spirit–groups of Greek-speaking diners laughing, eating, and slapping the table in raucous enjoyment next to you.

You'll have what they're having: rice-filled dolmades with a thick yogurt-herb sauce ($7), a trio of dips (choose from eight, including an exceptional tzatziki and a creamy, smoky melitzanosalata; $13), or a gyro, the warm pita overstuffed with well-seasoned lamb and beef and sauced with a yogurt-cucumber mixture. Plus, good news for those who like theatrics: The restaurant ensures that flaming cheese ($8) is alive and well in Oakland.

Pair the rustic dishes with an icy-cold bottle of Mythos beer ($5). Should you still have an appetite, a honey-slicked diamond of baklava ($4)–a trifecta of crispy, gooey and flaky–guarantees a sweet finish. Opa!

Ikaros Greek Restaurant, 3268 Grand Ave. (at Elwood Ave.), Oakland; 510-899-4400