I arrived in Athens 36 hours ago and am loving the city! I tore out of my hotel at 7:30 wanting to get to the Acropolis just before it opened, got distracted…
I hit the Acropolis at dawn, missed the Greek Army raising the flag over the city by minutes. DRAT!
But the Acropolis was its usual magical self. This time the Erechtheion spoke to me the loudest. The caryatids were just emerging frpm the shadow of the Parthenon on my second circuit…
Wait, this is a food web site! So far my best culinary experience has been the Brettos Distillery in the Plaka. 40 different liqeurs and a great host/bar tender. I started w a cherry and cinnamon liqeur that was sweet but balanced. I mentioned that my taste in ouzo was a bit uninformed and the host brought me a small taste of the house Green Ouzo which was outstanding. I bought a 200 ml bottle of the Green and one of the Lemoncello.
View from Brettos seating.
Then i toddled off to Victory for lunch where a very sweet waitress (owner?) tried to figure out what dish i was describing. I was trying to get a version of keftedes (meatballs) served in a rich gravy but got the meatballs with Fench fries and a deconstructed Greek Salad sans Feta Cheese. I ordered poorly and it is on me.
Then i just walked around the Plaka/Monastaraki area and into some dodgey areas then back to Art Eden for dinner. My waiter was an enthusiastic Cuban expat. I tried to be upbeat about his former home but he was having none of it. I ordered Spetzofai (spicy greek sausage and peppers in tomato sauce) with an Alfa beer and he chatted w a fellow Spanish speaker to one side of the cafe. I used my very, very basic Spanish to thank him and his Latino friend burst out laughing. I had not understood their conversation but the friend assumed i did, i believe. Kind of amusing regardless.
Then i meandered home through the Sunday evening crowd to home at the old but comfortably reno’ed Attalos Hotel just up from Monastaraki Metro.
Athens has a bit more graffiti than it did 4 years ago but it seems to have weathered Covid better than the more touristy parts of SE Asia, like Bali and Ao Nang.
Monastaraki is bit more weathered but the same crowds. So i will enclose a picture of Monastaraki Square after a rain shower when it is most definitely NOT crowded. LOL.
Gorgeous, and living vicariously through your reports!
I haven’t been to Greece since 2007, and I miss it so much. I had been planning on visiting in 2020, and have no idea when I will finally be able to visit.
Enjoy your stay.
@ZivBnd I was about to put out an APB for you since there hasn’t been a dispatch in quite some time! Glad to hear from you! I loved eating in Greece - one of my favorite places for eating (although I did find it’s easy to make bad choices with the overwhelming number of eating establishments that all look pleasant). Thanks for the report (and the scenic non-food photos). Continued fun and safe travels.
I f you are still in Athens… go to Seychelles restaurant, Keramikou 49, Athina 104 36, Greece.
If they have the octopus with pickled okra get that, but otherwise look at the photos on Google Maps and order anything that looks amazing (and it all looks amazing).
Also, you might want to go Miran charcuterie and try the camel.
If you’re interested, check out some of Akis Petrezikis’s restaurants . He’s a popular TV chef, that Greeks in Greece and the Greek diaspora follow. I have used many of his recipes.
Kitchen Lab Café
BTW, I love how you got those dogs to pose as sentries.
Echoing others, relieved to hear from you! These pics are so fun to see, always happy to have non-food pictures as well as food ones. Enjoy Greece!!
I have been visiting Naxos for a couple days and though the charm is different it is just as much fun as being in Athens.
Naxos is a small but relatively well off island that has beauty, business and seafood on its side. And oregano. And lamb. And Kitron. Did i mention Sheftalia sausage and roasted peppers already?
Lamb? Ouzo? Vegetable patties i ordered because they sounded healthy?
Double epressos w tiny chocolate croissants for 4 Euros?
Confusing pathways that shift like the stairways at Hogwarts?
OMG I am green with envy! That lamb looks spectacular. Is that skordalia in the jar next to it or … mustard?
I have to admit that i do not know. It was a mild mustard but it had a touch of garlic too. I think it was a local version of mustard.
Kozi is a well known locals place with a strength in the roasted or grilled meat department. The owner is a good sort, he still meets just about every visitor to take their order.
This is the view from outside the cafe.
I missed the golden hour by about 5 minutes with that photo. The colors were incandescent from the inside as i finished my meal.
Sure beats the PA boonies in the dead of winter.
Steve, i got to Seychelles before i left Athens and had a very nice meal. I started w the herb new potatoes and had the grilled pork chops for the main.
They did not use a regular menu, it was a daily printout version with almost no seafood on it, not sure if that is a supply issue or what.
The potatoes were homey and rather good with some hard cheese i did not recognize and olives, plus the herbal seasoning was spot on. The pork chops were grilled just right and seasoned just so. And the “small caraffe” of ouzo had me reeling a bit as i left.
All in all, a very nice cafe!
It all looks so good, and confusing pathways are the best kind! It’s living off the 'grid. ’
Found a real gem on Santorini! Pelican Kipos is a garden style cafe with outdoor seating that looks like a real pleasure, if the temps were a bit above 49 degrees. I sat inside but it is still a charming place.
I ordered the scalloped potatoes because you can seldom go wrong in Greece with potatoes. Except for their fries/chips which are usually less than optimal.
Anyway, i asked the waiter about choices for a main, the octopus or squid? Given the former was 22 Euros and the latter 15 I thought i knew what the advice would be. Shockingly, he advised me to go with the cheaper dish and it was freshly caught and well prepared. And the Fix Dark beer was a nice brew, kind of porter’ish and rich. Then they threw in some dessert thingy that resembled a firm yogurt with thick brown syrup on top. I did not have time to tell the waiter that i normally do not eat desert. Somehow it disappeared despite my lack of desire for dessert.
Walked about Thira a bit, what a gorgeous view. The town itself is a bit of a work in progress though.
Photos do not do the vista justice.
That is my ship, the Blue Star Chios down there.
Gorgeous. I spent many, many summers all over Greece in the 80s, and this brings back fond memories. Santorini wasn’t nearly as touristy back then as it is now, but I suppose that could be said about pretty much anywhere.
Dat squid, tho!
Back on Naxos, ever since i arrived i arrived there, i was feeling like someone was watching me. I took a photo of the city and caught one of the spies.
Once he knew his cover was blown, he strolled out of cover like he owned the place.
Later on, one of his camoflauged colleagues snuck up on me at dinner. Her coat was a cunning match for the stone flooring. She really did sneak up on me while i was having a lamb dinner, politely tapped her sheathed paw on my leg and startled me out of a years growth…
A last shot of Naxos.
I so love your reporting! Careful of those spies…
Order some loukamades!
And a Frappé (medium sweet with milk= metrio me gala) or a Fredo.
Glad you’re enjoying your trip.
Odd that you would mention a Freddo. I have been working my way through coffees due to the moderately chilly weather so i thought, hmmm, a Freddo Capuccino sounds good, not realising it is an iced capuccino. So i sat out in the cold wind drinking my iced coffee. LOL!
But i have also fallen under the spell of baklava and some other Greek desserts. I am not a sweet eater, or i was not a sweet eater until last week…
Loukamades? More desserts? I hope not! I have gained weight since Covid and if i start eating dessert at my age the results might not be good.
I have been trying to find these light colored meatballs that are lamb or veal (or both) that are made using some form of avgolemono soup as a sauce, i believe. Simply delicious but i do not know the name of the dish. The tourist trap cafe i used to get them at is under repair so i can not get them there.
Is it just me or is this sauce missing a syllable?
Another quiet view of Thira.