As a diehard Perenn Bakery fan, I’ve been waiting to try Claio Rotisserie since it opened. The husband-and-wife duo behind the Reno bakeries debuted the Mayberry Landing restaurant earlier this year, offering up a completely different menu than they are typically known for – but with the same Instagram-worthy aesthetic.
Claio is a Mediterranean restaurant located by Caughlin Ranch. The inside features sleek white benches and natural woods with romantic dim lighting and pops of pale pink shown in the pillows adorning each table setting and the dried flowers placed next to the candle on every table. There is also an outside patio that wraps around the building for those warm summer nights we are all anxiously awaiting.
Claio serves both lunch and dinner Thursday through Monday. The restaurant opens at 11 a.m. daily and closes at 3 p.m., before reopening from 5-9 p.m. for dinner service.
While Reno is no stranger to quality Mediterranean fare, Claio isn’t like the fast casual gyros and shawarma we love. Instead, it’s an elevated dining experience without being stuffy. The menu is filled with lamb and chicken, fried cheese and hummus. You can, however, get a falafel served with a harissa rose yogurt if you choose (both vegan and gluten-free).
The lunch and dinner menus differ. The first offers snacks and mezze as well as three entrees from the rotisserie. On the dinner menu, you’ll see more entrees, but the same snacks and cocktails.
For drinks, Claio likes to stick to its offerings instead of meeting every diner’s whim. Luckily, there are several signature cocktails with obvious cultural influence. The Old Athens tastes like a twist on the Old Fashioned, not quite as strong and with a bold taste of cinnamon. The cocktail uses a Greek Ouzo rinse to create some of that flavor, finished with rye whiskey, cinnamon, honey and orange over ice.
Spritzes are also a popular menu item, with an option for a classic made with aperol or campari or the Hugo Spritz, which features elderflower, lime, prosecco and mint with the option to add gin.
The wine list stays true to the restaurant’s influence, offering plenty of Greek wines. If you haven’t heard of the varietals, a snappy explanation of its key characteristics should make ordering easy.
The food, of course, takes center-stage. I recommend a starter of Pickled Seasonal Vegetables, served cold and washed in vinegar. Every table is also set with the most delicious collection of green olives, clearly marinated in an olive oil concoction that makes them irresistible.
Fried Halloumi is the famous fried cheese Mediterranean menus typically feature. This variation includes wildflower honey, cracked black pepper and fennel pollen.
For dinner, both the Mary’s Organic ¼ Chicken served rotisserie style and the Keller Craft Rotisserie Lamb are show stoppers. The first features a whipped tahini, red onion, sumac, lemons and pine nuts while the lamb is adorned with labneh, braised fennel, peas, mint and a charred bit of artichoke.
I recommend the Crispy Schmaltz Potatoes with either side, roasted and served hot with chicken schmaltz and oregano. It comes with a toum sauce, a traditional garlic side, but I personally prefer dipping the potatoes into the refreshing tzatziki sauce instead.
The dessert menu is presented at the end of the meal, an enticing collection of dishes that are hard to say no to. The chocolate cake has a tahini-inspired flavor that offers an interesting twist. It’s also lighter and airier rather than dense and decadent. The cheesecake is a showstopper that will have you licking your plate. It is, however, the Greek donuts served with ice cream that are the restaurant’s go-to.
While dining in allows guests to enjoy the cozy ambiance Claio offers, it isn’t easy to get a table. Busy evenings mean you may be turned away at the door if you didn’t come with a reservation. To combat that issue you can choose to pick up instead. While you’ll be missing out on the surroundings, the food is what you came for anyway, and Claio promises the most adorable pick-up window for orders, opening into the bar.
The last point worth mentioning is advertised on the menu but may not become obvious until the end of the meal. Gratuity is priced into the menu items so there’s no need to tip at the end. If you forget, the absence of a pen after you pay is a clever reminder.