Taverna Agora
By Madeline Cook
Taverna Agora

Hoping to spend an early summer evening dining al fresco?  Look no further than the rooftop patio of Taverna Agora in downtown Raleigh. This Greek kitchen has perfected the art of outdoor dining with a beautiful greenhouse-style roof that cuts the glare of the sun while letting in those first rays of warmer weather.  You’d never know you’re right in the city as you sit among the treetops, surrounded by vines and an aesthetic that mimics the Mediterranean coast. 

Taverna Agora, with its blue and white color scheme, clay pots and open-air concept, evokes the pleasure of dining at a local taverna as one might on a trip to Greece.  In 2023, this restaurant celebrated 20 years of serving the Raleigh area, so you can count on predictably delicious and authentic cuisine.  A curated drink menu includes Greek wines and cocktails, each garnished with sliced fruit and herbs to compliment the flavors.

The taverna’s menu is robust, offering something for every palette.  When in Greece – er, Raleigh in this case, kick off your meal with the Sun-Dried Tomato Hummus.  This favorite appetizer is served with warm pita bread and fresh cucumbers, which, while tasty in their own right, are truly just a vessel for the hummus that will disappear too quickly!  Another fool-proof starter is the Handmade Spanakopita on flakey filo and stuffed with juicy (but never soggy) spinach, feta and other fresh herbs, presented on a base of savory mousse. 

As for dinner, the Chicken Penne Mykonos has become a staple on the menu (and at our table).  It must have to do with the amazing white wine lemon cream sauce which drenches grilled chicken, mushrooms and parmesan heaped over penne pasta.  We couldn’t believe the flavors bursting from the vegetarian Gemista, with smokey rice served in a slow-roasted bell pepper beside green beans and a decadent tomato sauce.  Finish off your meal with a slice of Limoncello Cake.  Not too sweet and bursting with lemony goodness, this cake is perfectly balanced by a tart raspberry sauce which will have you scooping up every last bite! 

The patio fills up around dinnertime (even on weekdays), so be sure to make a reservation if dining with a breeze is on your agenda!  And when patio seating is booked or weather doesn’t permit the rooftop dining experience, Taverna Agora also offers seating in a charming indoor setting under wooden beams which emulate dining under a pergola.  You’ll love getting your fix of Greek cuisine whether inside the cozy restaurant or upstairs on the roof.  Hours of operation are between 11:00 A.M. – 10:00 P.M. daily with brunch offered on Sundays until 3:00 P.M.  Check out the event calendar for other fun experiences hosted by Taverna Agora, and we’ll see you at 326 Hillsborough Street!

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