20 August, 2014

Where We Ate in Samos (Summer 2014 - Part 2)


For the later part of our stay in Samos, we moved from Kampos Marathokampou to Kokkari and we had lunch on our way at Mytilinioi.

The village has a nice central square with a large platanos tree. Although there was some tavernas, virtually one one had any guest: To Magazaki pou Legame (which I would translate into "the small shop that we were speaking about").

It is a taverna as well as souvlaki place, so some young ones were eating only souvlaki wraps. We had a normal sit-down meal.

The food was OK, but generally salty. Probably the strongest selling point of this taverna is generous portion size and low price.

Here is a rabbit stifado (so we were told but, did not look like a normal stifado) served with risone pasta; enough to feed 2 of us.


We did not paid even 25 Euro and we were stuffed to death.

To Magazaki pou Legame- Το Μαγαζάκι που Λέγαμε
Central Square, Mytilinioi, Samos
Πλατεία Μυτιληνιών, Μυτιληνιοί, 83 101, Σάμος
(+30) 2273051264
http://www.tomagazakipoulegame.gr/



===========

As soon as we arrived at Kokkari and unloaded our luggage at a pension, we headed for Vathy to buy some gift for one of GH's Samiot cousin who just had a baby.

The merchants of Vathy was hosting a "White Night" (shops to remain far into the night) and there were several parallel events going on.

We saw local men cooking something called "Giorti". It is a sort of heavy porridge made of meat and barley.


I did not taste it, but smelled terrific.

But I picked up a free tiganita, which is fried bread. This one had some grated cheese on top.


The next day our lunch was at an uncle's house, but in the evening we went for a quick souvlaki in Kokkari, together with the uncle's family.

This is a place called 'Kokkari', and also known as 'Manolis' to the locals. Restaurants in Kokkari tend to be expensive because of foreign tourist trade, but this one seemed to be popular also with the locals.



It is located in the central (though small) square of Kokkari.


One day we had a breakfast in a cafe in Kokkari called Aelio. It is one of the shops on the seafront and serves homemade cakes and drinks.

Here is the breakfast set of 7 Euro, including one coffee. As a freddo cappuccino only cost 3.50 Euro, it is a good offer.



There was a plenty of bread, 3 jams (at least one was homemade for sure), cornflakes and milk, and a chocolate dessert. The quantity of bread was enough for two.

Regardless of so much interest they poured in the jams, the spread wasn't butter, but vegetable substitute. I do not understand the spirit.

And the chocolate dessert was too heavy in the morning; it would have been nicer if it were simple yogurt.

Aelio
Kokkari, Samos
Κοκκάρι, Σάμος
Tel. (+30) 2273 092898


And we had a lunch in a taverna called Kallisti in Manolates.

Manolates is a charming village in the mountain and many people come here just for a meal.

There are 6 or 7 tavernas and they are all good, we heard. But another Samiot cousin of GH chose this one.

The starters and pies were indeed quite good, although the main dishes looked only averagely good.


If you are in the norther part of Samos and have a car, a visit or two to tavernas in Manolates and Vourliotes is indeed a must.

Kallisti - Κάλλιστη
Manolates, 83200, Samos
Μανολάτες, 83200, Σάμος
Tel. (+30) 22730 94661

=========
There are many cafe-bars in Kokkari and one night we went out for a drink.

Here is Mojito and a glass of wine. Both of the glasses was really large.



The day of return, we had several hours to kill in the airport, because we had to return our car some hours earlier than the departure. When we rent it, the owner of the rent-a-car shop told us that we could keep it until the departure, but she changed her mind and called us to return the car even one day before the departure obviously because she got another client and did not have another car to rent.

The airport of Samos is very small and there is only one canteen as drinking/eating facility. And the price is really high, as high as in large airports of European capitals!

So I decided to go out to find something to eat. I walked about 2 kilometers under the sun to Chora and bought a peinirli from a pizzeria/taverna called Sinadisi.

It was 6 Euro (eat-in was 6.50 Euro) and was quite filling. The dough was fresh and plenty of cheese. I liked it.


The shop itself looks a bit shabby, so I won't recommend particularly anyone to come to eat here, but, if you like its style, why not?

It is on the right side of the main street coming from Pithagorio or Ireo to Chora.

Sinadisi - Συνάντηση
Chora, 83100 Samos
Χώρα, 83100, Σάμος
Tel. (+30) 22730 91330

=================

One thing I thought interesting about the restaurants in Samos is that almost all the names are spelled in English (Latin) characters and not in Greek. In other places I know, the names are usually spelled both with Greek characters and Latin characters. Not so for many restaurants in Samos.

I guess this shows how much the restaurant business here is depending on foreign trade.

Even so, we managed to find normal - authentic - Greek food served in the Greek way. I guess there are lots of tourist traps, but still, a bit of research can leads you to right places.

15 August, 2014

Salamina Excursion


About 2 weeks ago we went to Salamina island with our car.


The purpose wasn't to go to beach, but to take a friend of mine from Japan to a monastery called Faneromeni.

With 3 people in the car, we paid 7 Euro for a ferry ride. It takes about 15 minutes to cross the sea. The boat from Perama arrives at a town called Paloukia.

The distance from Paloukia to Salamina is about 2 km and they are almost continuous.

It was impressive how rough the people drive in Salamina. As if there is no traffic law.

After some search, we found Faneromeni Monastery.


It is a still very active religious centre and many Christians visit here. Now it looks post-Byzantine, but its history should date back earlier. My friend came to visit to see the wall painted icons in the main church.

Here is the opening hours.


But you should mind that the main church with beautiful wall painted icons is open only during liturgies. We managed to enter, because GH explained to the keepers that my friend came all the way from Japan and she did not know that, but if you are casual Greek visitor, you might be told to return (as we were told by a nun at first).

This is a sea in front of the monastery. There was no one swimming here.


The friend, unfortunately, wasn't feeling well and we did not swim. So we went to Salamina town for lunch.


We stopped at an ouzeri called Porto Leone. The food was just averagely good, but it was cheap and the view was nice.


We should go back to find a nice beach (although studies say that the sea around Salamina is not clean enough for swimming as many beaches around Attica).

Attic Moon @ Syntagma


If someone asks me to pick up only one favourite cuisine, I would probably take "Chinese". The Thai comes close second, but as the Chinese cuisine so full of variety, probably I can find something close to Thai in Chinese cooking anyway.

It is a shame that GH prefers Greek cuisine to any other.

But, sometimes, I manage to convince him to come to eat something else. The excuse this time was that I had found a discount coupon.

The Chinese restaurant, Attic Moon, opened some months ago at the location of Diros restaurant used to be, in Xenofontos Street. It is fairly close to the other Asian restaurants in the area, like Furin Kazan, Dosirak, Koi and East Pearl (the one that moved away from Piraeus).


The interior is simply and nicely decorated. There was a strong smell of food in the dining area; I think they need a stronger ventilator in the kitchen.


The menu consists in Chinese and Thai food, but I do not trust in Thai food served in Chinese restaurant of Athens, so we did not order any Thai dish.

Here is a Tsingtao Beer for GH. I guess it was about 3.50 Euro. We paid 5 Euro for the beer and a bottle of water, but I do not know the details as the receipt for the drink was not issued (I got the receipt for the coupon, though).


Here is chicken satay (3.80 Euro). Satay is a Malay dish, but considering that the Chinese use "Satay sauce" (which can come in a jar) I guess it has been adopted in Chinese cuisine.



In any case, these chicken skewers were different from what I expected. What I expected was marinated and grilled chicken on skewers, served with satay sauce while here the chicken was dusted with fine bread crumbs and deep-fried. The sauce I guessed was 'Satay sauce'.

They were fine as they were, but just not the chicken satay I know. And I wanted them to be served piping hot, not lukewarm as they came.

The Spring rolls were pretty average (2.70 Euro).


This is sweet and sour pork for GH (7.50 Euro). I did not like much the sweet and sour sauce here, because it was as if ready-made. Otherwise fine.


Here is Kung Pao Chicken for me (7.50 Euro). There is plenty of chili and pretty hot. It contained a healthy dose of ginger, which GH passionately dislikes. But what can we do?


Normally the chicken in Kung Pao should be diced and not sliced as this one. And the meat should be cooked in a very strong heat while the chicken here is casually stir-fried.

Accordingly I did not recognize this dish as classical Kung Pao Chicken, but, again, it is still OK as sliced chicken stir-fried with vegetables, peanuts, and chili.

We ordered also two portions of steamed rice (1.50 Euro per one).


I think it was Thai Jasmine rice and quite good.

Maybe this is wrong in the Chinese manner book, but this is how I like to eat casual Chinese food.


We were given 2 fortune cookies at the end.


Message for me was "Someone is speaking well of me". Well, thank you.

All in all, it wasn't bad, but I wasn't satisfied with the cooking skill and method. But it is in Athens and in Syntagma, so I'd live with it.

Attic Moon / 名月楼
Ksenofontos 10-12, Syntagma, 10557, Athens
Ξενοφώντος 10-12, Σύνταγμα, Αθήνα
Tel. +30 210 3227095
http://www.atticmoon.com/

10 August, 2014

Where We Ate in Samos (Summer 2014 - Part 1)


We went to the island of Samos in late July for 7 days 6 nights. As usual, I will write a quick note about where we ate during the trip.

This time we traveled by air, because it did not look worthwhile to spend 2 days on ferry as we were not bringing our car. As the ferry ticket for car is quite expensive, if you are not staying at the destination island more than a week, it is often cheaper to rent one on the island.

So our first stop was Pythagorio, near the airport, probably the most touristic town of Samos. The number of restaurants here was impressive.


As we wanted to continue for our destination quicker, we just stopped for a crepe in a cafeteria by the sea. It was called Time Out Cafe.


The staff was friendly, but there was nothing attractive about this crepe. We did not find even Wifi signal. This one is to avoid.


Then we arrived at our 1st place of stay, Kampos Marathokampos (pronounced Kambos Marathokambos) in the afternoon. We were too tried to get our shabby rent car - which did not have powersteering! -  to go anywhere far, so we tried to go to a taverna called The Ballad of Salome and Bill which was highly ranked on Tripadvisor.

Then, when we found it, we saw more people at a taverna next-door called Ioanna and changed our mind.

And surprise surprise! We met one of GH's uncle eating here. He and his family live in Kampos, so probably he knew how to pick good (or/and cheap) tavernas.

The food actually was pretty good and portion was generous. Here is a plate of keftedes for 6 Euro. It was served as a starter, but could easily filled one person's stomach.


We ordered also horta, oven-baked spaghetti, and an aubergine dish. Dessert was on the house. The food bill came to 22 Euro (which does not include drink, because the uncle paid our beers) and the receipt was duly issued.

I would have returned, if we were staying more days in Kampos.

By no means it is a gourmet restaurant. The place serves everything from those dishes to souvlaki, pizza and pasta, but is a comfy taverna by the beach, quite convenient during holidays.

Taverna IOANNA - ΙΩΑΝΝΑ
Main Street of Kampos Marathokampos, Samos island
Κάμπος Μαραθοκπάμπου, Σάμος
Tel. 22733 00205

===========

We were told by one of GH's cousines that a taverna called Kleopatra is also good Kampos. It is one of the older tavernas in the area. We did not have chance to visit it this time. Maybe next time.


One evening we went to Ormos Marathokampou (which is a port of Marathokampos). GH says that Ormos used to be more popular than Kampos, but now the it is the other way around. Ormos is a quiet fishing village with several tavernas and hotels. We were told that there was a good fish tavern (something like "thalassies hantres"), but our destination was a pizzeria called "Pizza Cave".

The most original name for a pizzeria.

It was just because GH used to eat here often when he was little and he enjoyed a lot.

Here it came. This is a Special pizza in Large size. 10 Euro.



Unfortunately I did not see what was special about it and it was not even large. They used a vile tasted processed meat, which killed even the basic harmony of cheese and pizza crust.

Personally I won't come back.

Pizza Cave
Ormos Marathokampos, Samos island
Tel. 22730 37443


========

For GH's memory's sake, we went to also Votsalakia Cafe-Taverna in Votsalakia, near Kampos Marathokampou, not for food, but just for a drink.

The taverna shares the name with the breach in front. I do not have the address, but you won't miss it, if you come to Votsalakia Beach.

GH ordered a strawberry lemonade, which, if I remember well, was 3.50 Euro.


I ordered a scoop of ice cream, which was only 1.50 Euro. I checked also their food menu and the price looked reasonable. Wifi was working fine, as well. Nice place to chill.


And following a piece of advice from a cousin of GH's, we visited a taverna called Chrisopetro, one of the first taverna you see coming into Kampos from the East.

It has a nice view to the sea and is a fish tavern, but has also various meat dishes.

We ordered Spaghetti Del Mare for 20 Euro for 2 persons, following the cousin's recommendation, but I found it disappointing. The spaghetti was overboiled and most of the seafood looked frozen. The only good thing was 2 large karavides on top.

That said, all the other dishes were fantastic. Here are boiled green beans and zucchini flowers stuffed with rice.


Also Marathopitakia (which were more like marathokeftedes) were good.

I asked our friendly waitress what were the ingredients except for maratho (dill) and she replied:

"Ah, I do not know. You have to ask the chef, because he is the one who cooks".

She said it in a good humour, but it was one of the most unprofessional remarks I have ever heard from restaurant serving staff.

The totall bill was 40.50 Euro because of the expensive and disappointing spaghetti, but you can get away for much less.

Chrisopetro
Kambos Marathokampou, Samos, 83102
Tel. 30 22730 37248 / 31304
http://www.restaurant-chrisopetro.gr/

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And the last but not the least. These are biscuits called paksimadia portokaliou which we bought from a local bakery called Veremvetsos in Kampos.


They do not look much, but had very nice flavour from sasame, orange peel and anise seeds (or something of the sort). I enjoyed them very much and I wish I could find the same in Athens.

Here is the end of the 1st part, because I have got tired. The 2nd part continues soon. :)

09 August, 2014

Bowling Center Piraeus by Ladokolla @ Kastela


When I came to Greece for the first time, maybe around 15 years ago, one of the place I visited with the family of GH - then my boy friend - was that restaurant-bar at the top of Profitis Ilias hill in Piraeus.

It commanded a beautiful view of Athens and its coast and was very cool although it was in the middle of summer.

It was undoubtedly a nice place, but the price was absurdly high.

The Greeks in the period of economic crisis stopped paying their precious euro for the view and it was closed down some years ago.

Then this year Ladokolla - a restaurant group which runs several grill tavernas in and around Athens - took over the management and it reopened the place under the name of Bowling Center Piraeus by Ladokolla.

Good for them, because it was one of the best location in Piraeus and it was a shame to let it lie as it had been done recently.


This is the seating area. It has both indoor and outdoor space, and it is huge! Even though, the outdoor space filled up around the time we left and it was only a weekday (Tuesday, if I remember well).


As we had booked a table, we got a table just by the edge of terrace. It is recommended to do so, if you want to have a good table.


Many people were just having their drinks, but we went for a meal as I had bought a discount coupon.

The menu features various grilled meat as well as pizza and pasta. There are also salads, mezes, seafood and some oven cooked food (mageirefta). The prices are reasonable; not as cheap as the other Ladokolla restaurant, but at the same level as at normal tavernas.

Also coffees are reasonably priced; 3.50 Euro for a frappe or freddo cappuccino.

We ordered as follows.

This is something like feta souffle', mixed with bits of vegetables and chili. Nice, but too salty for my taste.


And BCP (Bowling Centre Piraeus) salad. Apart from lettuce, it includes pomegranate, cheese frakes, croutons and small pieces of dried fruits (apricot, maybe). Nice enough.


The main dishes were less satisfactory. Here is grilled chicken breast. The taste of the meat was fine, while the size of the meat is almost as same as that of 1 quarter of pita. Because of the abundant carbohydrate, it fills the stomach, but that was it.


This is chicken souvlaki. Again a lot of carbo, but the amount of meat looked slightly better here.


With a bottle of beer, the bill came to 35 Euro. The receipt did not come, either for the 15 Euro coupon or for the beer.


It is a nice place to be, but I do not think to be coming back for food.

Bowling Center Piraeus by Ladokolla
Profiti Ilia Hill (or Chanion and Ierou Lochou), Kastella, Piraeus 18533
Λόφος Προφήτη Ηλία (Χανίων & Ιερού Λόχου), Καστέλλα, Πειραιάς 18533
Tel. +30 210 4122336
http://bcp.gr/

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