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“Good food, poor service”

Mezze - Cafe Varelli
Ranked #136 of 1,497 Restaurants in Antwerp
Certificate of Excellence
Price range: US$15 - US$20
Cuisines: Greek
Dining options: After-hours, Reservations
Restaurant details
Dining options: After-hours, Reservations
Reviewed 9 August 2013

Café Varelli offers an interesting and delicious menu of mezze (think tapas, but Greek). The food is great, but don't try to each order your own dishes. Mezze are meant for sharing, and the food arrives randomly and with sometimes long intervals in between, so it only works if you order a collection of dishes for the table. This is great though, as it offers you a chance to sample all the different mezze, and there is plenty of variety to choose from.

The atmosphere is cosy and relaxed, but I suggest getting a table outside, as the acoustics inside turn all the chatting into a bit of a hullabaloo, to the point that it may at times be difficult to understand the people you're sitting with.

The service is the main reason Varelli only gets an average score in my book. The waiting staff are always running to and fro hurriedly, but one gets the impression they are not doing their job very efficiently. They forget things, have to run back and forth to get stuff they left behind, can't fidn the person for whom the dish they're holding was meant, and so forth. It's often not clear who is waiting which table and the staff seems to be trained in ignoring customers that want to order an extra bottle of water, or ask for the bill, or ask them anything in fact. What's worse, when you finally do get their attention, they might tell you they'll help you, and then they won't. And worse than that? They can get rather rude about it.

I would advise ordering everything you'll need at once, rather than asking the waiting staff for anything, because they'll treat you like an annoyance, but that's sort of difficult with mezze. I suppose that on a good day, with better staff, Varelli would have gotten a far higher score from me.

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4  Thank Arno_Meijfroidt
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Reviews (107)
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17 - 21 of 107 reviews

Reviewed 6 August 2013

Varelli, a nice cosy restaurant on a good spot in Antwerp.

The food is very good and well priced. You can choose a lot of different small dishes all with good fresh tastes.

I would recomend this to everyone who loves Mediterranean Cuisine!

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1  Thank Sven D
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 25 June 2013

Varelli offers greek style "mezze" (small dishes) which are placed in the center of the table and shared between the diners. I went to this place with my wife for my birthday. We had to wait five minutes because our table was not cleared yet, even though we made a reservation - they run a double service most nights. Once seated all went smooth. They serve a choice of dishes in small portions and the waitress recommended about 5 for 2 people. We took lamb burgers, vegetable pita, grilled seabass, eggplant with feta and pork sish-kebab. They brought 2 to the table and the rest followed in steady succession as we quietly munched away. It all tasted fresh and not cliche-greek (fat, olive oil ...) very light and balanced flavours with surprising seasoning of mint, parsley and coreander. We finished our 5 dishes and ordered two more so that says enough. When the check came it was also not a disappointment. Not super cheap, but real good value for your money. A fine place, but make sure to reserve because it's popular.

2  Thank Peter N
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 11 March 2013

Remember your holidays in Greece, Cyprus, Lebanon or any other of these places? Great places to be except when it comes down to the food: mezzes are a good way of spending quality table time but they have the annoying habit of all tasting the same after a while. Therefore I went with a certain apprehension to the above address in the heart of Antwerp. Turns out to be quite an excellent address: Mediterranean food the way it should be: small hearty portions which don't leave you feeling like you've just devoured a ton of bricks. The specialities are a real treat and change regularly. Also check out the Greek wines: no Château Headache here to be found but ripe clean tasting reds with fantastic tannins. You won't regret coming to this place, except when you haven't brought cash along: they don't accept cards!

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2  Thank peterlissack
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 21 August 2012

Trendy place with a relaxed atmosphere, offering a nice selection of Greek mezze that will please the meat and seafood addicts as well as vegetarians. Service is friendly and prompt. The place was rather crowdy, yet the kitchen managed to get our orders on the table very quickly. The food is not haute cuisine, but it is very well prepared, honest and tasteful food. Recommended!

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2  Thank LucVanBogaert
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC

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