You might say that it is because we go only to cheap restaurants and I can answer it is VERY TRUE. I will return to this point a bit later.
The restaurant we visited was a fish tavern in Tzitzifies (Kallithea, Athens) called Thalassinos. Tzitzifies is not one of the hip places of Athens, but there are quite a lot of noteworthy restaurants for some reason. Thalassinos is one of them.
From outside, it is unpretentious, at the best.
When you enter inside, your impression would certainly change. It does look more ... expensive. In this photo there is only one couple, but in later hours, more and more people arrive (and unfortunately the hall got filled with cigarette smoke!).
The menu is quite long, but some of the items are not offered everyday. Your waiter will explain to you what are the "today's dish".
There are many meze dishes, while what they define as "main dishes" are only big fishes, which are very expensive as in every fish restaurants in Greece. However, they don't mind us ordering only mezedes, so nothing to worry about (I did not see any table with large fish).
The bread was served with a sort of tomato salza with fine bulgur. The waiter warned us that it was hot, we did not understand any hint of chili. It was probably because I have an Asian tongue and Greek Husband's have been accustomed to my cooking little by little in past years.
We did not order any "salata" (dips for bread or raw vegetables) variety and got only boiled stamnagathi.
First meze was garidoprasopitakia (small pies with prawns and leek).
Excellent crunchy fyllo pastry and nice flavour of filling with sweet leek and flagrant dill. I usually do not like fried pitakia (small pies), but these convinced me.
Next meze, seafood kokoretsi.
From the name I expected something rolled & sliced dry food, but turned out to be tomato stewed seafood (squids, octopus, prawns and sliced mushrooms). We were not impressed at the first look, but on tasting it, we were duly impressed by the strength of flavour.
Fried potatoes would have gone very well with this dish, but the restaurant does not offer normal patatoules (they have fried match-stick potatoes), so we did not order it.
There are three varieties of pasta and we ordered one of these: spaghetti with seafood.
It turned out to be linguine with vongole and tomato sauce. It was evident that they use very high quality tomato to make the sauce. Even though some of the clams had sands and it was slightly over salted, it is a pasta that I would expect to eat at a good Italian restaurant and not at a Greek taverna.
The total bill came to 50 Euro & below is the details:
Bread x 2 = 1.80 Euro
Stamnagathi = 6 Euro
Garidoprasopitakia (4 pieces) = 7.90 Euro
Seafood Kokoretsi = 14.90 Euro
Spaghetti = 14.90 Euro
1/2 l. white wine = 4.50 Euro
As you see, the prices are relatively high, but not too high. I would say that the kokoretsi looks too expensive for what it is, even though the dish was good.
If I were told to pay what I would think it worth, I would have paid 45 Euro. For the same question, GH said he would have paid 40-45.
The reality, however, that I paid only 35 Euro because I had a discount card which entitled me to pay only 70% of the final bill.
For this price, we will certainly return. It is an example that research helps a lot to get a good food for affordable price.
Thalassinos / Θαλασσινός
Lysikratous 32, Tzitzifies (Kallithea).
(Λυσικράτους 32, Τζιτζιφιές)