New locale, same food - delicious

TAKEOUT

Cypriana serves very fine fare with great efficiency

July 10, 2002|By Tom Waldron | Tom Waldron,SPECIAL TO THE SUN

In the beginning, Cypriana was a simple sidewalk stand - an efficient chicken-grilling, falafel-scooping operation with devoted customers.

After growing in popularity, Cypriana moved into a narrow space on East Baltimore Street, then expanded to a second shop in a food court a few blocks east. Now those two outlets are closed and Cypriana has moved into - dare I say? - an elegant space on the northwest corner of Baltimore and Calvert streets.

Located in the lobby of the Sun Trust Building, the new Cypriana Cafe features light-colored wood and lovely tile decorations in Mediterranean shades of dark blue, pale yellow and aqua. Out front, metal tables are arranged under umbrellas, giving the corner a nice feel.

The good news is that Cypriana continues to churn out fresh, tasty food at reasonable prices - with stunning efficiency. On our recent visit, we placed our order outside to a server who used a tiny hand-held computer to beam it inside. By the time we got our bearings inside, the fairly big order was ready.

Cypriana's signature dishes are its stuffed pita sandwiches - featuring a main ingredient mixed with lettuce, tomatoes, onions, cucumbers and fresh tzatsiki sauce. Our chicken pita ($5.95) was delicious - nicely grilled pieces of white meat nestled in the gooey pita. The falafel pita ($5.95), also good, featured a falafel made of ground chickpeas, cilantro, parsley and spices, and was served with a dressing of lemon, tahini and hot sauce.

A spinach pie ($4.75) was a generous portion of flaky crust, stuffed with a creamy spinach filling. A Mediterranean tuna salad ($7.25) was romaine lettuce topped with a nice serving of tuna - dressed up with small bits of red pepper and green onion -- with parmesan cheese and blessedly little, if any, mayonnaise.

We weren't sure what to make of a pizzalike pita melt, which featured feta cheese, thin slices of tomato and a lot of oregano. At $5.25, it was overpriced.

One change in the new space: Cypriana recently began opening at 7 a.m. to sell muffins, bagels and coffee.

Parking in the heart of downtown is, of course, a chore. But Cypriana is an easy walk from the Inner Harbor and many offices - and well worth the trek.

Cypriana Cafe

Food: ***

Service: *

Waiting area: ***

Parking: *

Where: 120 E. Baltimore St., Baltimore

Phone: 410-837-7482

Hours: 7 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Friday

Prices: Pita sandwiches, salads and side dishes from $4 to $7.25

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