25 August, 2012

Ambakas @ Gazi

Friday night out in Gazi.

I intended to try Asty 68, but found it closed due to summer vacation.

Passing in front of Gazohori which is expanding even more (it looks more like an "area" than just a "place"), we arrived at a relatively new Cretan restaurant, Ambakas, which was empty at 8 o'clock in Friday evening. We saw only 3 other patrons during 2 hours we were there.

It is a small restaurant, a half of the tables were on pedestrian walkway and the other half inside. We seated outside. It is one of the back streets of Gazi and I don't think it is particularly attractive. The interior decor looked much better, but good Greeks should eat al fresco.

On seating, they brought us a bottle of mineral water, two small glasses of tsipouro, and this dip & dakakia (small Greek rusks).

And pieces of bread in a bag. These looked like home-made.

The menu is printed on the paper that is used as place mat. There are a wide variety of Cretan appetizers (mezedes). Besides, there are 5 or 6 salads, about 10 Cretan main dishes, and also grill dishes. I don't think there was any fish, but there were many dishes that did not contain any meat. I would say that there is a good range of choice.

We ordered only 3 dishes, but could not clear them all.

First, Cretan salad, which was a variation of Greek salad.

What is Cretan about? It contained mitzithra instead of feta and there were some pieces of small dakos. And small & dry Cretan small olives. Vegetables were crunchy and I liked it, although 6.50 Euro looked a bit expensive.

After a while, we got the appetizers. This is mixed appetizers for 2.

The presentation was really beautiful and the price also really good. I cannot say that I liked all of them, but some of them were quite sympathetic. I liked particular the keftedes made from fava. It cost only 10 Euro and we got stuffed only with these and bread. Very good buy.

But we had already ordered one main dish; "Cretan" pork souvlaki (9 Euro).

I thought that the souvlaki should be a safe choice, but but I was wrong. The pork had unpleasant smell of pork and contained some sinew-ish hard parts. The potatoes were either double-fried or boiled before frying.

After the meal, they offered us two pieces of cakes on house.

These were like ravani, but contained green grapes. Very good.

With a bottle of Alfa beer (3.10 Euro), the total bill is 30.60 Euro. The food did not convinced me totally, but for this price I might come back to try something else.

Ambakas (Άμπακας)
Ikarieon and Orfeos 34
Gkazi, Athens
Tel. 6949 731675

View Larger Map

19 August, 2012

Zafiro @ Attiko Alsos, Athens

To avoid the heat of the empty Athens, we went to Attiko Alsos, also known as Alsos Galatziou. We have never been here before.

Just before arriving at the park, we saw many Ethiopians evidently coming out from the church. I knew that there is an Ethiopian community in Patission area, but not this one. Impressed. I hope they too open a restaurant; I love Ethiopian food.

Anyway, Attiko Alsos is a park that occupies a hill in Galatzi area and there are lots of trees.

Inside the park, there is small football court and some playing tools for children. It seems to be an ideal place for a family picnic.

What do you think this box is?

This is supposed to contain bags for dog-droppings. There are many of these in the park. Ok. All are empty and, considering the current economic climate, there is very little chance for these to be refilled, but I have never seen such an attempt in Athens and surprised.

There are some points in the park where you can command panorama of Athens. In the photo below, you can see Lycabettus Hill and Acropolis.

Just in front of the cinema "Theo Aggelopoulos", there is a cafeteria called Zafiro.

There is a good view of Athens. The prices are rather expensive, if not exorbitant. It serves mezedes after 7 o'clock in the evening. The prices of mezedes looks all right, maybe to balance that of the drinks.

I asked a diet coke. To our surprise, the waiter told us they don't serve either Coca Cola or Pepsi Cola. What they have is Epsa Cola (3.60 Euro).

We ordered also a club sandwich.

It contained poor quality ham, cheese, boiled chicken breast, bacon, lettuce and tomatoes. Very average, if not under average. The fried potatoes were fresh, but undercooked. Price 8.60 Euro.

The place is supposed to have WiFi, but when we asked the waiter the password, he told us that he did not know and he did not want to ask the other staff because nobody knew it. How strange.

We want to go back for a light meal in the evening without expecting great food or great service. Just for the view.

13 August, 2012

Seaside Lunch in Petalidi

On our way home, we stopped at Petalidi for lunch, because it sounded attractive to eat in front of the sea one last time.

We saw an Italian and a taverna, and Greek Husband chose the latter in the photo below. Anyway, later we so other restaurants on the seaside and there is a plenty of choice here.


Bright blue chairs.

The taverna was called Galazia Akti and had small fish as well as meat and stewed/oven-cooked food (magirefta).

We ordered a feta-free version of Greek salad which was excellent with fresh vegetables.

And fried potatoes. Potatoes absorbed a bit too much oil, but very good nevertheless. No bad smell of oil.

Fried squids were rather disappointing, being so thin and lacking in flavour.

On the other hand aubergine paptsakia (halved aubergines with meat sauce and white sauce baked in oven) were much better. Aubergine was meltingly soft and sweet.

With a coke and a bottle of beer, the bill was around 27 Euro, if I remember well. We did not leave tip, as they did not give us receipt.

In front of the restaurant, there was this strange section of seafront where it looked as if the cement block fell down.

There was quite a lot of fish and crabs around here and we enjoy watching them.

11 August, 2012

Taverna Dionysos @ Finikounda

We have been to Messinia, Peloponnese for 5 days.

We were ones of those lucky "30%" of Greeks who could go for a summer vacation trip and more lucky "7%" of the Greeks who could afford to pay for accommodation.

Of course these statistics are bullshit. It does not explain at all how our neighbourhood in Piraeus is so empty and almost all the people around us go to (or have been to) somewhere for vacation, either because they have money to pay or they have a country house(s) to go.

Anyway, about the historical sites, beaches and cultural monument, I am going to write in the Gate to Greece website. Here I write only some random info.

During our trip we stopped at Finikounda (In Greek, it is spelled Φοινικούντα, and nt is pronounced "d") in the evening for dinner, because we had received a tip that Finikounda has pretty busy night life.

And it was true.

Finikounda itself is a small village. I imagine at least some of the people in Finikounda in the evening should have come from the hotels in the neighbouring areas like Koroni and Methoni, like ourselves.

We did not know how Finikounda was like and drove into the central Finikounda (we did not intend to, but it wasn't prohibited either). Having got scared after running amongst the pedestrians, we parked at a paid parking (2 Euro for as many hours you like), but we could have parked just outside the centre, for wherever you park, the centre is probably not very far.

As so many of the small village centres, there is only one main street in Finikounda which runs along the coast like. In the central part of the main street there are souvlaki places and cafeterias and tavernas are toward the both ends of the street.

The most famous one is Eleni's in the photo below. This restaurant should command a nice view in the afternoon and there were really many people. The menu looked interesting..

But we were put off by the live Greek music being played. We were not in the mood to listen to Monastiraki-like Greek folk music so we settled in a nearby taverna-psistaria called Dionysos which had some tables along the seafront.

Dionysos has grilled meat dishes, stewed food (magirefta) as well as small selection of seafood/fish.

As starters, we ordered tzatziki and horta (Vlita) which were both very nice.

I got rolled chicken staffed with vegetables and cheese.

It was somewhat salty, but the chicken tasted pretty good.

Greek Husband got an mussakas in earthenware.

He liked it very much, while I thought that it was overcooked. (You might ask what I mean by "overcooked", to which I answer that, as the Greeks use veal/ young beef - real beef is very rare here - to make meat sauce, it does not stand to be stewed many hours).

The portion size of moussakas was enormous and it would have fed both of us.

At the end they offered us 4 small pieces of watermelon.

Together with a half kilo of white wine (we liked it) and a bottle of fizzy water, the total bill came to 27.30 Euro.

The bill breakdown is as follows:

White wine (500 ml. ca.) 3 Euro
Fizzy Water 2.50 Euro
Tzatziki 3 Euro
Horta 3.80 Euro
Chicken 6.50 Euro
Moussakas 7.50 Euro
Bread 1 Euro

We would be happy to return, when we happen to be in Finikounda. Besides some of the people around us were evidently returning patrons, which means that this place probably is not a bad choice in Finikounda.

After the dinner I stopped at a ice cream palour.

I don't have the name because he did not give me the receipt.

I found it too sweet, but evidently I have strange taste as far as ice cream concerns. One scoop cost 1.50 Euro.

And here are some pages about Messinia in Gate to Greece.