Rousta’s: Massive portions leave diners satisfied at corner of Greece in Llandudno


We didn’t have to travel far to discover the delicious favours of the Med. My stepdaughter Karen and I enjoyed real Greek food at its hearty best just a few miles from home at Rousta’s Restaurant, a family owned venue which this month celebrates the milestone of its first full year of opening.

Don’t be misled by the unpretentious exterior – this is a busy eat-in restaurant, café and takeaway offering a mouthwatering mix of home cooked traditional and modern Greek dishes. The extensive menu features meat, vegetarian and vegan options, but no fish or seafood.

Many familiar favourites such as stifado, dolmades, souvlaki, tzatziki, gyros, houmous and baklava are available, but what sets it apart from other Greek establishments is that it also provides some lesser known options handed down through the Rousta family over many years that you are unlikely to see elsewhere. Greek tradition means diners should never leave feeling unsatisfied, so be warned – go there hungry as portions are really huge.

Read more:Dylan’s Llandudno: The stylish seafront restaurant where diners get through 500 kilos of mussels every week

One dish can easily feed two people so sharing is a great option… and it keeps the bill down as well. Diners are even encouraged to take home their leftovers. Small in size but big in atmosphere and hospitality, Rousta’s is a real find, a genuine corner of Greece in Craig y Don, the quieter end of Llandudno.

The place functions on girl power, for its proprietor is Emma Rousta, an amazing young woman whose family have owned restaurants in and near Athens for 125 years. An enthusiastic and creative chef who was taught to cook by her parents and grandparents when she was a very little girl, Emma is the third generation of the Rousta family to be in the business and she is delighted to keep up the tradition.

Inside Rousta's
Inside Rousta’s

Kitchen queen, front of house and server rolled into one, it’s all systems go for the 24-year-old, who runs the place with just a little help from mum Barbara. I haven’t visited Greece for quite a few years and I was really looking forward to tucking into some authentic dishes.

Lively bazouki music was playing as Karen and I stepped through the doorway. A tantalising aroma of roasting meats, spices and garlic wafted our way from the open plan kitchen at the back of the room and we felt as if we had been instantly transported to a friendly taverna nestling beside the sunlit blue waters of the Med… magic.

Clean, bright and surprisingly spacious, with sturdy wooden tables and chairs spaced well apart, trendy industrial lighting and greenery, the restaurant is uncluttered and contemporary, with a warm relaxing vibe. There’s seating for up to 40.

Colourful pictures of different areas of Athens adorn some of the walls, but pride of place goes to a huge mural of the family’s former beachside restaurant in Sounion, a small seaside town some 40 miles from Athens famed for its wonderful sunsets and ruined temple of Poseidon. Although we were strangers, Emma greeted us like old friends, seating us at a reserved table near the window where we could people watch while waiting for our dinners.

Even on week nights the restaurant gets busy, and minutes later we were joined by a jolly party of six locals, followed quickly by several couples. Soon the place was buzzing with conversation and laughter.

Rousta’s does not have a drinks licence, so customers bring their own alcohol and are not charged for corkage. If you forget, there is a Co–op store just across the road with a good selection of reasonably priced wines and spirits.

Diners really are spoiled for choice with the variety of dishes on the menu, created from locally produced meat and veg with olive oil, honey, herbs and spices, pitta bread and of course, feta cheese, imported from Greece. There are hot and cold starters, oven and grilled dishes, stew and rice dishes, pizzas, burgers, desserts, soft drinks, teas and coffees including the house speciality – strong sweet Greek tea similar to Turkish.

Karen and I had heard about the generous portion sizes so we decided to share a traditional and very popular cold starter we both had eaten many times on Mediterranean holidays, then go for different mains. It wasn’t long before Emma arrived with an attractive wooden platter containing a dish of tzatziki – natural Greek yoghurt mixed with cucumber, garlic and mint – accompanied by warm pitta bread and fat black olives.

Similar to Indian raita, the tzatziki was creamy and refreshing, so much tastier than the versions found in supermarkets. Washed down with white wine I had brought with me, the dish hit the right notes… simple and gorgeous and nothing was left on our plates.

From the 13 stew and rice main courses containing either lamb, chicken, vegetables and fruit, Karen chose stifado. This was a complex concoction of diced lamb cooked in grape juice, tomatoes, shallots, carrots and herbs and served with saffron rice and lemon-honey salad.

Dishes at Rousta's
Dishes at Rousta’s

“The lamb is tender and juicy, and all the ingredients go together beautifully. the flavour is simply to die for,” Karen declared happily and having tasted it, I thoroughly agreed.

My main course was souvlaki, another house favourite. It consisted of slices of lamb and chicken marinated in herbs and spices, served with chunky chips, tzatziki, mixed salad plus a large chunk of feta cheese thrown in for good measure.

A man-sized meal if ever I saw one, but luckily Karen was able to help me. Slightly charred on the outside but soft and succulent in the middle, the meats were super, in fact the whole dish was as good as anything I had eaten in Greece… full marks to the chef.

Reluctantly Karen and I decided enough was enough, there simply wasn’t room for dessert, although we both would have loved to try the baklava, a calorific sweet consisting of layered filo pastry and nuts, served with whipped cream. In a short time Rousta’s Restaurant has gone from strength to strength, gaining an enviable reputation for its great choice of tried and tested food, friendly service and value for money.

Emma has introduced a call button system on every table to improve service and hopes soon to add an extra dimension to dining with live bazouki music. From start to finish dinner at Rousta’s was a delight – the real deal in every way and we can’t wait to go back for second helpings.

The facts

What we ate and drank

Tzatziki £5.50

Stifado £18.50

Souvlaki £19.80

Two containers 50p

Bottle wine £7.99

Total £52.29

Opening hours

From June 1, Wednesday-Sunday 5pm-10pm

Address and contact details

Rousta’s Restaurant, 12 Mostyn Avenue, Craig y Don, Llandudno, LL30 1YS. Telephone: 01492 864056

The details

Service: Friendly and attentive, but be prepared to wait if busy

Disabled: Access and toilet

Children: Welcome

Parking: Free on road

Takeaway: By collection only

Overall: Great food and value for money with feel good atmosphere



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