For those who live, work, or play south of the Fraser, Primerose may be a familiar restaurant. The Mediterranean-Greek spot has been, in some form, part of the community in South Delta (and, for a spell, in White Rock) since 1980.
Initially launching in Tsawwassen, Primerose shifted operations to Ladner in the late 90s, on Highway 17A on the other side of Highway 99 and outside of the community’s more centralized village. That’s a long time for a restaurant to kick around, when you think about how brief a restaurant’s tenure can be.
In 2015, Primerose’s original owners packed it in, leaving the door open for a next chapter in the restaurant’s story. Ready to take the door were Sia Adjudani and his wife Maria. The couple, who drew much success with Maria’s New Westminster spot Taverna (itself now with new ownership), have put their heart, souls, and hands into every aspect of the operation, giving Primerose a new lease on life.
Adjudani is a congenial gentleman who is equally at ease with the patrons he warmly greets and checks on in the dining room, whether they be truly young–like my preschooler–or simply young at heart. He splits his time between a full-time downtown Vancouver Monday to Friday 9-5 gig and the restaurant, where Maria is in the kitchen, too.
The Adjudanis, who are also parents to a young daughter, run the restaurant like a family, and treat their guests–many who are frequent diners–the same. Even while we’re chatting about what Primerose has done in the community, with events like the summertime classic car show they host in their lot, and their emphasis on preparing food fresh and to order, Adjudani gets called away to execute part of a gentle April Fools’ Day prank the staff is trying to pull off amongst their ranks before the dinner rush. (It goes off well, and there is much laughter in the air.)
When we get back to the food, though, Adjudani and the plates in front of me, are all business–in a good way. A mound of freshly fried calamari dusted in just the right spicing comes with a housemade Tzatziki sauce for dipping. The rustic Greek-style salad is dotted with biting feta, and features veggies that Adjudani points out aren’t cut until it’s time to plate.
One of Primerose’s best sellers is their Kleftico (Roast Lamb), a New Zealand lamb shoulder which sheds its tender, saucy strands of meat like a skinny dipper at the lake’s edge on a hot summer night. The platter comes with the requisite sides, like the aforementioned salad, a traditional potato, rice, their special housemade pita with a bit of an Italian bent (it’s got a bit of Parm on it, and is a bit more like flatbread).
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The menu offers a span of Greek fare, from Spanakopita to a smattering of Souvlakis and Moussaka. But you’ll also see how Primerose gets the Mediterranean in its name, with Italian dishes like pastas and a Caesar salad, and even Spanish touches, like chorizo (sausage). It’s hard to say where the Bison Ribs fit in, but Adjudani attests they are a popular dish, and those kids who aren’t up for the grown up flavours and portions can even get good ol’ chicken strips (though the ample portions and approachable flavours are worth a shot for a growing palate).
On the sweet side you can finish off with Baklava, or even Apple Pie and ice cream, or you can check out a more traditional Greek dish like Bougatsa, which is flaky filo pastry enveloping warm vanilla custard like a mildly sweet dessert burrito, topped with icing sugar and cinnamon. Dive in, and make sure you’ve got extra napkins.
The Adjudanis have much to be proud of as they continue to usher Primerose into its current chapter in Delta, with a patio prime for summer hang out, weekly specials like “Date Night in Greece” menus and Prime Rib, the return of the car show this July, and a welcoming vibe.
Address: 220-6165 Highway 17A, Delta (Ladner)
Facebook: The Primerose Mediterranean Restaurant