28 June, 2013

Moustakias, or a Fossil of the Good Old Days @ Kastella, Piraeus

In one weekend afternoon, we decided to explore Kastella in Piraeus.

And we stopped to eat something. We could have gone to Rigas (rather good psito-taverna), but decided to try a new place just for a change. Close to Rigas, there are some tavernas, new and old, and we entered one called Moustaias, just next to Rigas. We were seated outside, but there was also many indoor tables in a rustic decor.

The waiter (probably one of the owners) did not bring us the menu and he told us what they had. The choice was extremely narrow. Starters were 3 or 4, salads as well, and the mains were all grilled. Although it calls itself a taverna, they did not have stews (mageirefta) at all.

We ordered, then tzatziki, boiled vegetables, and grilled bread as default.

Boiled vegetables were varied and quite good, but tzatziki had too much cucumber and watery.

Fried potatoes were fine.

I ordered grilled liver.

Not bad, but some pieces had unpleasant bloody smell.

Probably they should have cooked a bit more. I like my steak on raw and bloody side, but for the liver, I prefer it to be more thoroughly cooked.

GH ordered kotopoulo paidakia (grilled chicken) which was described as their specialty by the waiter.

Well. Not bad (not that it is easy to go bad for grilled chicken), but nothing special. What was more scandalous - that we found out later - was that this cost 10 Euro. 4 small pieces chicken for 10 Euro could be all right in pre-crisis era, but not any more. It was just a rip-off.

At the end another waiter (who should be another owner) offered us either yogurt or hand-made ice cream. We opted for the second and after quite a long wait, these turned up.

Strange thing was they were not cold any more, let alone frozen, but still were keeping their shape. I should not complain about something they offered for free, but it was not my thing. And do you see the Greek flag on top? There is a stamp in red "Kerasma" meaning something they offer for free. I have never seen anything like this before.

In the end the bill came to surprisingly high 36.55 for what we ate and the waiter told us to pay 37 Euro. Again I never seen any waiter who told us to pay more than what was written on the receipt.

Softy GH left even a couple of Euro as tip, but I did not think they deserved more than 45 cents.

Most of the patrons looked familiar to the shop. Probably these people do not try new places and keep on coming to here just because they and their parents have been here for years and believe it is the best. Some Greeks are very conservative.

But of course we do not have to follow their steps.

Idis 10, Kastela, Piraeus, Greece
Tel. 2104119569

Ίδης 10, Πειραιάς, 18534

15 June, 2013

Krasopoulio tou Kokkora @ Psyrri

Visited Psyrri after some time. In general trend, Psyrri is in decline and shops tend to close than to open. This time we made a stop at Krasopolio tou Kokorra, one of the older establishments in the area. Although it is in the centre of Psyrri, somehow hidden in a back street, so you need to know where you are heading.

I was interested to try their 10 Euro menu for bread, starter, salad, main and dessert and it was what we ordered. At the start, we were offered one menu with seafood and the other with meat, so we ordered one from each. This is the seafood menu (you can click to enlarge).

But after we placed the order, the waiter came back to tell us he made a mistake and there was not seafood menu on the day. So we ordered to meat courses. How the waiter of small taverna could made such a basic error? It is not clear.

For the 10 Euro menu, the salad is served in individual portions. It was lettuce, shredded cabbage and carrot with honey (and mustard, I guess) dressing.

The vegetables were crunchy, but the dressing was way too sweet and they put too much of it on GH's bowl. I would have preferred normal Greek vinaigrette, meaning olive oil, vinegar and salt directly on the bowl.

Starter was falafels, 3 small pieces per person.

They had some chili in it and were tasty. Regardless of the strangely artificial shape, they tasted like homemade.

One of the main was kotomakalonada. Chicken stewed with tomato and mushroom served on Greek style soft spaghetti. Those who used to Italian al dente spaghetti complain about how Greek ones are over-boiled, but I believe that to eat the spaghetti in Greek way, they need to be much softer than al dente.

They tasted good. But it is a dish difficult to go wrong.

Another main dish was pork steak with balsamico and honey sauce.

Two very thin pieces of pork (neck, I guess) were served with half Arabic pita and fried potatoes. Acceptable as a part of 10 Euro menu.

For this particular menu, you do not enjoy the abundance of food, but you get reasonably full combining bread and wine.

Dessert (included in the menu, but in many tavernas in Greeks, these stuff are served free) was semolina halvas with chocolate, which tasted like chocolate pudding.

And a small glass of sweet spicy wine on the house.

Together with half a kilo of wine (5 Euro), the bill was 25 Euro. The receipt was shown to us, but then taken back to inside, supposedly to use for other customers.

My personal conclusion was that I would prefer to pay 10 Euro more to eat better (even at the same place), but when the budget is limited, it is a good thing that you can control how much you are paying. (The truth is that I knew already my conclusion more or less from the start, but I did not feel hungry and did not want to spend much and then not to be able to eat).

As the food was not bad, we could have go back to try a la carte, but as they did not give us the receipt, now probably we won't go back. GH and I are both salaried employees of private sector and we do need to collect all the receipts to be able to get tax return. Not in a mood to help others to avoid tax.

To Krasopoulio to Kokkora
Karaiskaki and Aisopou 4, Psyrri, Athens
Tel. 210 3211051

Καραϊσκάκη & Αισώπου 4, Ψυρρή

Before arriving at Krasopoulio for dinner at 8, GH wanted have a coffee and we looked for cafeteria.

Strangely he started to complain the coffees were too expensive (he usually do not mind pay quite a lot at cafeterias) and we left from the 2 first cafeterias we were seated.

So I took him to Via Calma in Kalamiotou Street 16, just in front of excellent Melilotos restaurant. I knew the place because the owner guy made "friends" with me on Foursquare.

Here frappe costs 2 Euro, Freddo Cappuccino 2.80 and Cold Chocolate (in the photo) is also 2.80. Might be the best deal you can get from a cafeteria at the heart of Athens. Recommended.

12 June, 2013

Walking along Zisimopoulou Street @ Palaio Faliro

Today I had a chance to walk along Zisimopoulou Street in Palaio Faliro. In case you do know it, it is a long street spattered with tavernas.

I started from the intersection of Zisimopoulou and Agias Triados where I found a new large restaurant called Kebaptzidikon Kyr. Aristos.

Something reminded me of Kebabzidiko Barbadimos, but this is more spacious and looked a bit modern.

Walking toward the direction of Syggrou Avenue, I noticed the old Syrian restaurant Ghazi did a bit of face-lift, if not a total make over. Now it is called Sahara, but it keeps the old name, too; if you look very closely, you can read it under the current name.

I won't call it a renovation, but not it looks much less scary (you now what I mean if you know the old Ghazi).

Lemoni kai Rigani was under construction.

I believe it is part of a small chain.

The photo is awful, but this is a relatively new restaurant called Magikes Katsaroles (Magic Casseroles).

And it is already closed for summer and reopens in September (at least it is the idea).

I have totally ignored this restaurant called To Kοloraki until today.

There is no trace on WWW. How is this possible?

A nice fat cat relaxing in front of his house.

This is a fish restaurant called Bouillabaisse (ΜΠΟΥΓΙΑΜΠΕΣ).

I have been curious about this place, but I have never been to, because I read it was expensive (35-45 Euro per ahead only for food). It looked pretty nice with many tables. It has also a garden for those who prefer to eat outside (i.e. most of the Greeks).

This is another well known restaurant called Barba Lazaros.

This one looked also quite nice with a waiter dressed as a waiter. I read the menu at the entrance. The price is rather high, but not so high that I should give up from the start.

Taverna Arsenis appears much less nice in comparison to Barba Lazaros. It looks quite "xima". I did not know that these two belonged to two different categories, or rather, different classes.

It sells discount coupons on line almost permanently, so it is stupid to go without buying one. I do not understand the restaurants that do this trick. It is one thing to offer discount coupons from time to time for publicity or to fill some tables in low seasons But selling it all the time is tantamount to declare that they are over-charging patrons without coupons.

Alkyones' decor is of the same order of Arsenis.

As I do not read good reviews about the food at Alkyones, I do not think I am going, but if you are after a place with live Greek music, this is where you might be able to try.

09 June, 2013

Lunch at Oinoberdemata @ Gazi

In a Sunday afternoon, we visited Oinoberdemata in Gkazi with 3 others (total 5 pax). It was our 4th visit, but was the first time to take people with us.

I placed a reservation, because I knew it could be quite busy in Sunday afternoons. It turned out to be a correct move, because it had a large reservation (20-30 people) for baptism party.

As I have already written about this place, here are just pics of the food we ate. They might not look much, but we left mostly stuffed.

To start, chick peas with leek. We had eaten this once already and knew that it was good. The others also agreed with us.

If you find chick peas here, try it.

Chicken Pie (Kotopita).

I do not like so much chicken pies in general, because they tend to be dry. But the others liked it, so it should be good.

Oinoberdemata salad and fried potatoes.

Known tastes for us. Both good.

Kolokythokeftedes (aka zucchini balls). Again I do not like zucchini balls and would never order on my own. They were ordered by a friend who likes kolokythokeftedes.

She said she did not like them maybe because the outer crust was burnt. I did not understand what was the difference with the other kolokythokeftedes, but I am not a good judge here.

Fried feta in phyllo pastry served with honey. Another dish I would never order on my own (wise readers should have guessed already that I do not like deep fried oily foods).

The others liked it.

Chicken with sesame seeds. I ate this for the second time.

It taste like Chinese dish and I like it, although it is slightly too salty.

Another main dish was chicken in ouzo, paprika, curry sauce.

It is not really a curry, but chicken breast morsels in curry flavoured sauce. I did not notice hint of ouzo (anise), but I do not like anise, so I did not mind.

Among us some liked better the sesame chicken and the others liked better curry chicken, but overall we were happy with both of them.

I am not sure why but at the end we were offered a small bottle of icy mastiha liqueur. Usually there is no freebie.

With a bit of coke and beer, the bill came to about 12 Euro per ahead. Even if we had ordered a couple of dishes more, it would have been within 15 Euro range. Pretty good value, isn't it?

Oinoberdemata - ΟΙΝΟΜΠΕΡΔΕΜΑΤΑ
Megalou Vasileiou 10 & Stratonikis
Gazi, Athens

Tel. 210 3411461-2

02 June, 2013

Moving Restaurants @ Peiraiki

Walking down Akti Themistokleous, I noticed Keftes kai Den Ftes, which used to be near Demotiko Theatro (Piraeus Municipal Theatre) moved to the location of former Tsiou (?), a very short-lived taverna. Now it is close to the cafeteria Pisina.

And the fish tavern, O Faros, which used to be at almost the end of Akti Themistokleous, is now next to En Lefko (not 100% sure of its name), where Marias Hatzikyriakou Street meets Akti Themistokleous.

Faros is now very close to our flat, but we are not very sure of going back, as the manager is so rude (he used to throw menus on our table, for example).

01 June, 2013

Giaourtlou @ Pangrati

Recently GH has changed job and finishes work much earlier than he used to. In his former workplace, he finished at 7 and came to town at 8, which can be dinner time. Now he is in town 5 o'clock and it is too early for dinner and too late for lunch. Because of this change, we go out to eat much less and when we do we tend to snack, like sandwich, souvlaki, or pies.

This is one of these occasions. Giaourlou in Pangrati, both the shop and the food.

I was attracted by the look of the place and we decided to snack. We judged the speciality should be the giaourtlou kebab for the obvious reason and here we went.

Fried potatoes were for hubby.

As fried potato specialists can tell just from the look of it, the potatoes were frozen, but at least served freshly fried and piping hot.

I ordered a grilled pita.

Not oily and pretty good, but maybe not very clean because I saw our waiter turning upside down on the grill.

And here is the Giaourtlou.

This is the most unusual giaourtlou kebab I have ever seen. In the deep dish was filled with a big quantity of yogurt, then a pita (which was soggy and not palatable; I recommend you to order the pita separately as I did. It is just 30 cents per a piece), another thin layer of yogurt, and on top of it there are 4 fat lamb kebabs with their fat.

The dish is quite large and even if you are a person of large appetite, you feel satisfied when you clean it up.

Usually the yogurt is poured on top of kebabs and I do not like it as the yogurt cool down the grilled meat, but dishing up in this way, the meat remain warm. Thumb up.

I prefer the mince to be more coarse, but they were nice kebabs nevertheless. Just mind that the smell of lamb is rather strong. It is only for lamb-eaters.

With a can of coca cola, the bill came to 11.70 Euro. If you add a Cucumber and Tomato Salad, it would be 3 Euro more.

Imittou 69, Pangrati, Athens, Greece
Tel. 210 701 5287

Υμηττού 69, Παγκράτι, Αθήνα