Hours: Open for lunch from 11 a.m., Monday through Friday. Diner to 10 p.m., Monday through Wednesday; to midnight Thursday; and to 2:30 a.m. Friday and Saturday nights, when entertainment starts at 9:30. Closed Sunday.
Atmosphere: Greek festival.
Price range: Greek night entrees from $5 to $12.
Credit cards: Visa and MasterCard.
Reservations: Suggested for weekends.
Special features: No cover and no minimum; highchairs; free parking; wheelchair access.
The belly dancer flirted with our 12-year-old son, the band leader dedicated a Greek song to our daughters, the dance floor was not crowded and the menu was varied enough to please all six of us. And the prices were reasonable.
The Rena, a Greek restaurant with exotic dancers, international singers, a live band and folk dancing with audience participation, is located in Rockville on Twinbrook Parkway, a two-mile stretch of road between Rockville Pike and Norbeck Road. Along this road there is a mixture of tree-shaded houses, government buildings and a few stores and shops. The Rena is an exotic addition, as unexpected as an orchid in a vegetable patch.
Formerly the Village Pizza restaurant, the establishment still has pizza available in the front room, but not in back where the entertainment is.
My husband selected a Greek salad ($4.25) and spanakopita ($4.75). The salad -- fresh greens, feta cheese, black olives and even anchovies -- was huge. Spanakopita -- spinach and feta cheese spread between layers of phyllo dough -- was good.
Our other entrees were moussaka ($6.25), chopped sirloin steak ($6.95), stuffed grape leaves ($6.10) and beef stifado ($7.95).
My daughter and I shared the stifado, which was excellent. Slices of braised beef were served in a rich tomato sauce. Our waitress was very obliging about our sharing an order and provided leisurely and friendly service. She urged us several times to "be sure and join in the dancing -- we will teach you."
The moussaka -- eggplant layered with lots of spicy ground beef and covered with cheese -- was delicious. It was served with thick slices of bread and a medium-sized salad.
Chopped sirloin was cooked and served as ordered -- well done with absolutely no sauces -- and it was enormous. Our daughter, who ordered it, could not finish it, and turned the remainder over to her brother, who had ordered the grape leaves. His grape leaves, covered with a creamy white sauce, were finished by his father.
We ordered beer for the adults and sodas for the children, and settled back to enjoy the show, which began around 9:30. It included a belly dancer, two singers and a band that played both American and Greek dance music.
The entire evening cost $60, including tax and tip, which we thought was a good buy for complete dinners for six and entertainment.