31 October, 2012

2nd Visit to Mono @ Plaka


We returned to Mono in Plaka in a Friday afternoon (we had a day off). Regarding our previous visit, click here.


It was not exactly a lunch time (it was around 4 o'clock) and there wasn't much people, although there were steady trickles of patrons, some foreign some Greek.


The menu has not changed since our last visit in May. They had 2 "today's dishes", but they were just two kinds of fish.

The waiter asked if we wanted bottled water. Probably we could say "no" and could ask for tap water, if we did not want it..

On the table there are olive oil, balsamic vinegar, salt and spice mix including pepper.


Again, the waiter asked us if we wanted bread. We said "yes", but we could have said "no" if we had ordered, for example, a risotto. It was a nice gesture.

For two slices of bread and some glissini sticks, 1.50 Euro per a head is a bit expensive (but, hey, we don't eat that much bread).


We ordered just one appetizer "Sea", which is a salad of raw tuna, cucumber, mango and black sesame.


I did not think that tuna was enough fresh to be made into sashimi, but, still it was delicious. Portion size was a bit small, though. 8 Euro.

This dish reminded me of a similar appetizer I had eaten at Kuzina in Thissio. It was made of salmon instead of tuna and cost €14 in 2010. I wonder if they still chage the same price.

GH ordered "Lamb". According to the menu description, it is "Rack of lamb served with sweet potatoes & tomatoes a la Provencal €15.


I found it very dry and hard, but it was because GH ordered it "well-done". I believe lamb roast should be eaten "pink". But, whatever, it wasn't my dish. The tomato thingy and potato were very nice, though.


I ordered a rib eye steak medium-rare and it came medium, I think. The meat wasn't not as good as wagyu beef, but still, it was the first satisfactory beef steak I managed to eat in Greece (because, in Greece, there is no aged beef). €18 is normal price for a good quality rib eye.

We wanted to order Pistachio crème brulée, but they did not have it. A classic one, instead. 6 Euro.


Evidently, the caramel crust was made to order and it was still warm, while the lower custard was chilled. Nice.

We had also two espresso (€1.50 x 2) and a glass of wine (€4). The total bill came to €59, but I could claim 30% discount from it and paid €45 incl. tip.

Expensive, if it were a taverna, but it isn't. To be fair, we should rather compare it with, say, Eat at Milton's or Kuzina. From this point of view, it is a good value for money restaurant.

Mono
Benizelou Palaiologou 4C Plaka, Athens,
+30 210 3226711
http://www.monorestaurant.gr/

26 October, 2012

Oinoberdemata @ Gazi


Last Sunday afternoon, we visited Oinomberdemata in Gkazi. It is a relatively new restaurant (maybe 2 years old?). Although it is fairly close to the centre of Gkazi (Keramikos Metro Station) and to Pireos Street, it is somehow hidden and I wondered if it could survive when it opened.

And here it is, alive and kicking.


There are two seating spaces. One is the semi-outdoor space where we seated (below). It can be closed with large glass screens in the winter.


And the other is indoor space, which is decorated in retro, pastel style (below).


As you see, it is clean and pretty.

Upon seating, we were invited by the waiter to come and see the mageirefta (cooked food). There are some stewed meats, oven cooked vegetables, and various side dishes. GH here went crazy and would have ordered 5 or 6 dishes if I did not stop him.

Anyway, they have also menu and tis oras (cooked to order grill), so don't get over excited and read the menu as well at your table.

As drink we ordered a half kilo of red wine (4 Euro) which was decent house wine.

I like the fact that on the table you can find all the condiments.


We liked the warm bread.


Oinoberdemata salad was a sort of Caesar's (6 Euro). Due to generous quantity of croutons, it turned out to be quite filling.


In the magreirefta counter, there were traditional Greek dishes and some modern Greek ones, like curried squids and chicken with Philadelphia cream cheese. This is also a rather modern Oven baked crepes filled with spinach (6.50 Euro).


Flour, cheese and cream sauce cannot go wrong in the oven! Very nice vegetarian dish.

And chick peas with leek was also delicious (6.50) and in generous portion.


As you can imagine, we were full at this point. But we had already ordered a main dish: veal biftekia served with fried potatoes (alternatively we could choose rice).


They were traditional Greek biftekia with lots of herbs. Nice, but not the best, according to my taste.


No free cake or liqueur.

The total bill came to 32.50 for 4 dishes. If you are persons of normal appetite, 3 dishes between 2 persons would be sufficient.

ΟΙΝΟΜΠΕΡΔΕΜΑΤΑ
ΜΕΓΑΛΟΥ ΒΑΣΙΛΕΙΟΥ 10 & ΣΤΡΑΤΟΝΙΚΗΣ
ΓΚΑΖΙ, ΑΘΗΝΑ
210 3411461-2

Leaving Gazi, we noticed that a new fast food joint opened on Pireos street.

It is called Gazozen and looks like gas stand.


I don't think I would stop here for fast food (because I do not eat fast food normally), but I liked the look very much.


21 October, 2012

Το 25αράκι @ Glyfada


Last Sunday, we found ourselves in Glyfada. GH said we should have a burger in Hard Rock Cafe, but, to our surprise, it was closed.

He said we can eat wherever I liked, so I decided to try To 25araki (read: ikosipedaraki) where I could claim 30% discount.

They have tables both outdoor and indoor. Usually GH prefers to eat outside, but it was so hot and shiny he agreed to go inside.


The indoor space is simple, clean and spacious. It was about half-full.

As soon as seated, we were given a bottle of mineral water, so it was an obligatory order. 2 Euro.

And after having placed our order, we got pieces of bread and dip.


1.50 Euro p.p. is expensive for price of bread, but we did not really mind, as they were really good.

The waiter dictated us some "dishes of the day" that were not on the menu. I don't quite like the way, because I cannot know how much they cost when I order (that is the point for them!). It is too risky in a restaurant where I have never been, so I ordered from the menu. Irritatingly, 2 of the 4 dishes we ordered were not available.

The food generally was rather expensive, except for some basic dishes. For salads, you should pay 9 to 10 Euro.

Here is Nisiotiki salata (island salad) with cherry tomatoes, cucumbers, spring onion, mastelo cheese, and pickled caper leaves.


The mastelo was bit over-cooked, but otherwise it was al; right. But 9 Euro for this Horiatiki PLUS? Really?

On the other hand, the small fish of the day, maridakia (whitebait), was cooked perfectly, generous in portion and cheap.


On the menu, it was 6.50 Euro, if I remember well, but on the bill it was only 6 Euro. Even in a cheap fish taverna in Piraeus, a plate of maridakia costs at least 5 Euro and the portion is not as generous. An absolute bargain.

We had also fried potatoes (GH's order, needless to say) for 4.20 Euro. They were cooked well, but probably the potato was not the right kind. Very disappointing.

We were pretty stuffed at this point, but we had already ordered another plate: linguine with karavides (Greek scampi). GH had all the karavides cleaned, which I did not approve, because the shells of the shellfish were important element to enhance the taste.


The karavides tasted very fresh, but were there were sands in the meat. As pasta, it was not as perfect as the one ate at Thalassinos in Tzitzifies (that one also included sands).

After the meal, we were offered liqueurs. As much as we wanted to drink! A shame that I am not a drinker.


Besides, we had a large glass (500ml) of Alpha beer and the total bill was about 50 Euro before the discount.

To drink wine or beer with some dishes of mezedes, I think this is a valid place, but with these chips and pasta, I do not feel like relying on it as a restaurant. I'd better try again to know if I like the place or not.

ΤΟ 25ΑΡΑΚΙ (To Eikosipentaraki)
Artemidos 3, Glyfada, 16674
Αρτέμιδος 3, Γλυφάδα, 16674
Tel. 210 8944112


17 October, 2012

What We Ate in Meteora Area - Skaros, Kalambaka


The last day in Kalambaka.

Breakfast at the hotel. For some reason, there was no fresh bread this morning, but we got a "tost (famous Greek cuisine - toasted sandwich with cheese and sometimes ham)". The breakfast at Galaxy Hotel was perfectly fine for this class of accommodation (the hotel has 2 stars).


We first visited Agios Nikolaos & Varlaam Monasteries that were closed the day before. We got overwhelmed by the number of visitors at the latter; there was several groups of Americans coming from Cruise boat. It is very difficult when it happens at any historical/ archaeological sites.

And we started an excursion for countryside.

Our destination was a Byzantine church in Dolianá, but the more important objective was a drive in the countryside.

We stopped at Kastaniá for a coffee. The place was called Pindos Hotel and Taverna. There were better looking places for coffees at another piazza, but there was a construction work going on and the noise was not bearable.

We wanted cake or something, but the only sweets they had was spoon sweets. These were spoon sweets made of walnuts.


I have never eaten spoon sweets of walnuts and I had an idea that it should be walnuts in syrup. As you see, it wasn't. Evidently the fruits are collected and treated while they are still young and the shell is not yet formed. Inside, I could recognize usual nuts. They were handmade and were excellent.

Here we had a chat with an elderly woman who should be one of the owners. We heard she speaking Vlahika, but she spoke also Greek. She said that nowadays the countryside is deserted and there are so few people living there. In older better days (i.e. before the crisis), people used to come from Kalambaka and other towns nearby, but now it stopped.

The road to Dolianá goes through mountains and forests. We did not actually go to see Doliana village, but we did visit the church which has 13 turrets.

And we had late lunch at a road-side taverna. She did not many things and dishes were cold to lukewarm.

Galotyri.


Galotyri is like a mixture of yoghurt and feta and eaten in Thessaly and Magnesia. This one wasn't as good as the ones we ate in Pelion.

Fried keftedakia (meat balls) in tomato sauce.


Good, but were totally cold.

Fasolada (white bean soup).


OK, but lukewarm.

GH was very disappointed in the cold dishes, although I was less so, because they were at least palatable.

At the end, the lady-owner offered us spoon sweets made by herself (not that she gave us only two, but we ask her to give us only two, because we were already stuffed).


These were tomato and fig, both excellent. These handmade spoon sweets are much better than those sold in jars.

Then we went back to Kalambaka. As there still was light, we visited also the nunnery of Agioi Theodoroi just outside Kalambaka. It was built in Meteora monastery style and contemporaneous, but not at all touristic.

In the evening, we were not really hungry, but I really have to make a last effort to get to another restaurant I have wanted to revisit for a long time.

It is called Taverna O Skaros. But it is not taverna at all, it is a grill restaurant (psistaria). The major difference between psistaria and tavernas is that in the former there are only grilled meats as main dish, while in the latter you can get also casserole & oven dishes. If you are a vegetarian, don't go to psistaria.

It was Saturday night and there are quite many people eating.


Starters are tzatziki and cucumber-tomato salad. We got also bread and half kilo of red wine.


These were just OK, but it was not the point.

The point is this: grilled meat!


These are kontosouvli of pork and lamb. I wanted only lamb, because I knew it was good (for me it was a revisit), but GH wanted pork as a safer option. The lamb of Skaros is rally incredible, it is juicy, sweet and crispy. I have never eaten better lamb anywhere else in Greece.

The bill for all these were 22 Euro, and Mr. Kostas the owner wanted only 20 Euro.

It is not something I can eat everyday, but once I am in Kalambaka, it shall be a must-visit restaurant.

Ο Σκάρος - O Skaros
Odos Trikalon
Kalambaka
(+30) 24320 24152

How to find it: Starting from Kalambaka town centre, walk down the main street (Kalambaka-Trikalon) toward Trikala direction. On the left side of the street, you will find Divani Meteora hotel. O Skaros is just away (20-30 metres maybe?) from the hotel, left side of the road.

In Kalambaka, if I had more time, I would have tried a taverna called Dionysos (in the photo below) in centre and one called Paramythi at the opposite end of Trikalon Street.


These two looked rather promising. Or I will try also Kastraki village in the evening.

I hope my record helps those who have plan to visit Kalambaka.

13 October, 2012

13 Euro Menu @ Giannakos, Agioi Apostoloi

[This I wrote about a month ago and am publishing it only now; sorry].

Two weekends ago, when it was still hot, we went to Agioi Apostoloi (Kalamos) for swim. The fact was that only GH swam, but it is not an issue here.

It was the 3rd or 4th time to be in Agioi Apostoloi. And on arrival, we went to Dolce Gelato for a waffle and ice cream. I like ice cream in this shop and 1 scoop costs only 1.30 Euro. Not to miss, when we are there.

Then GH went for a swim.

While he was swimming, I looked for a nice place to eat using Foursquare. In Athens, there are several softwares that I can use to look for restaurants, but out of Athens, I found Foursquare most useful.

The best looked to be Giannakos, so, when GH finished swimming, that was where I took him.


And I saw this.


13 Euro per person for a set menu of either meat or fish/seafood. The one for 18 Euro is with garidomakaronada (spaghetti with king prawns).

This is the view from the restaurant: sea and Evvia island. It is situated conveniently in front of large parking.


And this is the view of the terrace. It is also very pleasant.


The prices were rather expensive. Fried potatoes in olive oil were 8 Euro which we found over-the-top (there were normal fried potatoes for normal price, too).


As we were not sure what to expect, we decided to order the set menu of meat.

Bread was served with olive paste enhanced with rosemary.


Starters were tomato & cucumber salad, tyrokafteri (there was a few choices here), and fried potatoes.


They were all pretty fine.

For the main dishes, we ordered a pork chop and ...


biftekia (burgers of veal mince), all served with more fried potatoes.


The pork chop was very think and there were only 2 biftekia, but both tasted fine. I suppose if I had ordered these from the normal menu, the portion had not been so small. At least I hope.

Even though the portion of meat was small, after having eaten bread, salad, and fried potato, not that we had much space in the stomach and it was all right.

The menu should have included a dessert, but the waiter tried to ignore it, so I had to remind him. He admitted that it was and gave us yoghurt with spoon sweets.


This was nice, too.

The menu included also a drink (either half kilo of wine or a bottle of beer). The total bill was 26 Euro, of course.

It was good value of money, but you should fight a bit to get it all. But now that we saw the quality was good, we'd rather go back to order from normal menu.

Giannakos
Seaside road, in front of the public parking
Agioi Apostoloi (Kalamos)
Tel. 22950 81249

Γιαννακός
Παραλιακή οδός, έναντι πάρκιγκ Αγ. Αποστόλων, Κάλαμος
Τηλ. 22950 81249


What We Ate in Meteora Area - Gardenia, Kastraki


The second day in Thessaly.

Of course, we went to see monasteries. In and around the monasteries, there is no restaurant or taverna, so we bought a snack from Kalambaka.

I got a huge peinirli. I ate a half during the sightseeing and the other half in the evening.


On the first day, we visited Agios Stefanos, Agia Triada, Roussanou and Megalo Meteoro. As it was a Friday, Varlaam and Agios Nikolaos were closed.

After these 4 monasteries, we went down to Kastraki to look for a taverna called Gardenia. I had a tip-off from an acquaintance of mine and wanted to visit it for a long time.

The taverna is close to the central church of Kastraki.


I have not been to Kastraki before; it is a cosy village with lots of tavernas and hotels. If you prefer a quiet place to stay, Kastraki is a better bit than Kalambaka which is a big and busy centre of this area.

Gardenia was a small family-run taverna (of Plakias Family evidently), which also has some rooms. We arrived quite late in the afternoon and there were only 2 other tables occipied (one elderly foreign couple was staying at one of their rooms).


The menu was small and nothing particularly interesting: usual appetizers, usual oven or casserole cooked dishes, and usual grilled meat. Ah, wait, there were pork kebabs that sounded rather unusual, but we did not order that.

Bread (1 Euro) and beer (3 Euro).


Tzatziki (2.80 Euro).


The cucumber in tzatziki tasted like pickled. Not like stale, but just pickled. First it tasted strange, but eventually I liked it.

Excellent horta (3.50 Euro).


It was a horta of summer, Vlita.

And Gemista (stuffed tomato and pepper) (5.80 Euro). It was a vegetarian version and there was not meat.


The stuffed rice was cooked perfectly and it was enjoyable over-all.

And pork souvlaki (7 Euro).


Meat was huge and freshly grilled (I saw the man putting the raw meat on the grill, so it is certain). Not particularly impressive, but again, tasty.

At the end the owner treated us with ravani cake and ice cream.


Delicious.

The bill was 23.10 Euro. We left satisfied.

In general, the tavernas in Kastraki looked more promising than in Kalambaka (and probably cheaper).

Gardenia - Γαρδένια
Kastraki Centre (Find that church and look down the street in front; you will find it)
Tel.: (+30) 24320 22504
http://www.meteora-plakias.gr/


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