It's all about greenery and Greek and Mediterranean flavors at the Veranda Char House. Ferns, potted trees, buckets of flowers and charming streetlights adorn the eatery's courtyard-like rooftop deck, which amusingly overlooks the McDonald's parking lot across the street. Veranda offers a refreshing escape from downtown, a hideaway to sample a frozen cocktail and nibble on a kabob. Free, plentiful parking and cheap prices don't hurt, either.
If the weather turns chilly, head downstairs to the ranch-style dining room, filled with more foliage and a spacious bar. Hellenic atmosphere is everything at Veranda: Grecian pillars even surround the kitchen's order window. Though the bar is large and there are plenty of TV-tuned regulars, it's not the main focus of the grill. Veranda is definitely a family-friendly restaurant with an attentive wait staff and accommodating management; no one seems to mind if diners decide to move their dinners indoors after drinks upstairs.
Veranda specializes in satisfying the appetites of carnivores with a menu heavy on steaks and scintillating chicken kabobs. The lovers' plate for two costs $35, but includes a 16-ounce New York steak, baked butterfly shrimp and a grilled chicken breast. For those watching their wallets, try the souvlaki or the feta-covered burger for under $8 each. There's also a thorough selection of martinis, including an appletini, pomegranate martini and a Starbucks-flavored mochatini for $8. Need a pick-me-up after your meal? Try a super-strong Greek coffee or one of Veranda's frozen cappuccinos.
Average cost: $31+
Centerstage Reviewer: Katy Nelson