Taziki’s3439 Colonnade Pkwy Birmingham, AL
Taziki’s is pretty good – it’s inexpensive and fast which makes it a stand-out lunch contender. But, know that there’s really nothing ‘wow’ about it. We go there frequently because it plays the role of the-place-you-go-when-you-need-to-eat-but-don’t-want-to-argue-about-it. I will say that their pimento cheese sandwich is my favorite of anywhere else, but then again, it’s pimento cheese, right? It’s hard to get really excited about it. It’s got a nice little spice to it, giving it just the right amount of edge to set it apart. I also like that they add lettuce, which so few places do – it’s such a little thing but it makes so much difference. I’ve also had their Tomato Basil sandwich, which is good, but not great. There’s nothing really wrong with it except that it’s just boring – wheat bread, tomato, basil, and feta. The Veggie Wrap is decent, but I’ve had to special order mine without cucumbers, and, while the red pepper is tolerable, I don’t know that it really ‘goes’. However, without the red pepper, it might be dreadfully bland. Needless to say, that one isn’t for me. Hummus… yum. I would definitely recommend it, but get it to share because that’s a copious amount of food for just one person. The good news is that Taziki’s is very veggie-sensitive, having more than one or two things on the menu we can eat.
Atmosphere: When I wrote my first draft of this review and passed it on to Andy for response, he asked me if I really felt what I’d wrote. I said, ‘Sure, why not?’, with him responding, ‘But, we eat there all the time and it seems a little undeserved’. When I stepped back and read it again, I realized I was unfairly vicious. Taking into account what the place really is (get ‘em in, get ‘em out), that it’s really about getting fed, and not the dining experience, they’re probably doing exactly what they need to be doing. Being as objective as possible, there’s little visual interest, it’s tightly packed with tables, and, in my opinion, it feels greasy. To be clear, it’s not to food that’s greasy, it’s the environment – probably due to the use of butter and oil on the grill, which is mostly open to the dining room. My advice, try to sit outside if weather is permitting.
First, this place does not feel greasy inside. I think I understand what Melissa means when she says that, but it’s not a waffle house or anything. The decor varies slightly from location to location, but generally seems like they went for minimal-contempo, then threw in under-scaled “Greek” flare. So as Melissa said, the atmosphere is nothing to rave about, but you don’t come here for atmosphere.
The food is cheap and tasty, but it’s far from “traditional” Greek. I often get the Mediterranean salad (not on the menu) which is basically the famous Friday special for vegetarians (minus the pasta and the meat, add in chickpeas, sauteed pepper and a touch of some kind of candied nuts). The spicy pimento cheese is not spicy at all, but I agree with Melissa that it is hands down the best in p-cheese town. Hummus, we get it often but I think they “played-it-safe”. I would add more garlic and lemon juice. That said, it is great for sharing or if you are not sure you like hummus and want to try a “safe” one. All-in-all it’s a great lunch joint for vegetarians and non-veggies alike. Just be remember that most locations very busy at lunchtime on weekdays, so get there before 11:30 to beat the crowd.