29 January, 2014

Kokkini Svoura @ Halandri

Went to a cafeteria called Kokkini Svoura in Halandri. Evidently it is a very popular cafeteria in Athens and Foursquare keeps on suggesting it to me. :)

It faces on a rather quiet street and does not have a large glass wall. It looks like a house converted into a cafeteria. You might miss it, if you are not looking for it.

The indoor space is cozy and relatively small. We could not find a table except for one which was for 8 pax which we should have had to share with others, so we seated outside. The outdoor space is also limited. I think there are only 10 tables or so. We got a table next to a stove and did not feel cold.

It offers coffee, tea, smoothies, juice, drinks with alcohol as well as snacks (sandwiches and tapas). GH was undecided between handmade lemonade or sour cherry drink and coffee, but in the end he chose a single cappuccino. I got a filtered coffee. The menu says that they use a single estate, organic coffee beans from Peru.

We ordered also ciabatta club sandwich (6.80 Euro). We shared a plate between 2 of us, but it is supposed to be one portion.

It was neither ciabatta nor club sandwich by definition, but was filling and tasty. There were chicken, bacon, tomato, lettuce and mustard sauce. According to the menu, the bread was handmade and it looked to be so. The potatoes were a bit undercooked inside and burnt outside (probably the temperature of the oil was too high.

The toilet was well-cared and, in addition to usual hand paper towels and soap, there were also hand cream and wet napkin for babies.

It is not often that I find so much care and attention to details in cafeterias in Athens. No doubt, it is the secret of success of this small and cozy cafeteria.

Kokkini Svoura - Κόκκινη Σβούρα
17 Ag. Georgiou St., 152 34 Halandri, Greece
Tel. (+30) 211 012 5454

11 January, 2014

Revisiting Barba Alexis 2 @ Ag. Ioannis Redi

In early January, we revisited Barba Alexis in Renti. This was our 3rd visit after a while. I wrote before about our 1st visit here.

Nothing essential changed since the last visit. The same price, same menu, same staff. It was about 20 o'clock of Friday evening, but there was no other patron there until 21 and something.

To start, we ordered a dip called Tzevizle, which was a mixture of pepper, walnuts and onion (4 Euro). Quite hot. As vegetable we wanted horta (boiled green leaves), but they were out, so we got red beets (4 Euro). The bread (pita) was huge and crisp straight out of the oven (1 Euro per a head).

These are the pastourmadopita (pastourmali). The dough was pita/pizza dough and baked in oven instead of fried in oil. The filling was pastourmas, yellow cheese and sliced tomato. We prefer these baked pastourmadopita to fried ones. 6 Euro.

And the main was my favorite Kousbasi (7 Euro), which is a sort of pork souvlaki except that the meat was marinated in hot spices.

I like these souvlaki here because the meat has a right amount of fat. If you prefer lean souvlaki, it might not be to your liking.

At the end we were offered kazandipi as dessert (on the house).

About when we started the dessert, live music started. There were 3 players and 1 singer. And by then, there were about 3 other groups who seemed to be regulars.

We ordered also a bottle of beer and the total charge was 26 Euro. If you come in a large group, the cost per a head can be lower, because the portion size is rather large.

Barba Alexis 2
Fleming 48, Agios Ioannis Rendis
182 33, Athens
Τηλ. 210-483 5903

Μπάρμπα Αλέξης 2
Φέμινγκ 48, Αγιος Ιωάννης Ρέντης


06 January, 2014

Papanikolis @ Passalimani, Piraeus

In a weekday evening of December, we visited a relatively new mezedopoleio in Freattyda area of Piraeus. If you have ever visited the Maritime Museum or Flocafe of Marina Zeas, probably you have seen a part of submarine Papanikolis (Mr. Papanikolis himself was one of the heros of Greek War of Independence). The mezedopoleio is in the same area, but it is on the Akti Themistokleous Street and not on the marina.

As it was a weekday and it was a bit early (around 7:30), there was no other people eating but us. There was one or two elder men who came for a drink, who were like visiting their friends' kafeneio.

The place was decorated for Christmas. They were accepting booking for Christmas and New Year's Eve menu, which was rather surprising for this sort of place.

The menu is enough long for such a small mezedopoleio. We were not very hungry and picked up only a few dishes.

Here is tyrokafteri. It was all right. 3 Euro.

Lachanodormades (6 Euro) were not bad, but they got cold very quickly partly because the room was not well-heated and partly because they were reheated in microwave (hot spots were not homogeneous).

Fried potatoes might look burnt (and were a bit burnt), but tasty nevertheless. 3.50 Euro.

And a pork tigania, which was totally wrong. Tigania is supposed to be quickly cooked in frying-pan (tigani), but this was stewed. I would name this pork and onion in terracotta (se pilino). 6 Euro.

Melomakarona and kourabiedes were on the house.

Apart from the dishes above, we had 500 ml of wine and bread, and the bill came to 23 Euro.

The food in general was disappointing, because it was badly reheated (except for the tyrokafteri and potatoes, of course). I suspect that either they do not have a proper kitchen, or they do not have enough cooking staff who can cook while the guests were there.

They have live music toward the weekend. As the price is kept low, it would be nice to visit then and have wine and mezedes, but just for food, I would not return.

The owners, who served us food, were very nice and kind, by the way.

Papanikolis - Παπανικολής
Akti Themistokleous 6, Piraeus
Ακτή Θεμιστοκλέους 6, Πιραίας
Tel. 210 4181580

03 January, 2014

Revisiting Agrotera @ Zappeio

In December, GH and I revisited Agrotera restaurant in the Zappeio area Be aware: It is NOT in ZAPPEIO, but adjacent to the Stadium nearby. While we were there at least 3 sets of people came to ask if the place was Aegli Zappiou. "No, it is on the other side of the street", the waiter explained.

We had visited here in 2011. The food was good back then, so we were not weary when we entered.

The problem, however, was elsewhere. Although the menu was quite long and promising, many items were off. We wanted "the pie of the day", but the waiter told me that they did not have it. As the main course, I wanted stuffed squid, but this again was off the menu and the waiter told me that the grilled salmon was the only fish they had (which, but the way, was not on the menu). From the way he spoke to us, it sounded that they actually had only several items on offer. This was very disappointing and we ended up on eating what we did not really want to eat.

As a starter, we ordered fava (yellow split pea puree), which was a bit too salty but still good. The bread was grilled. The tsipouro and olives were on the house. The menu offers several dishes/materials from Karditsa and shows a bit of regional character, but I am not sure if they actually have these dishes.

Grilled Chicken Breast for GH. In my personal opinion, grilled chicken fillet is one of the most boring things to eat in restaurants, so I do not comment on it. There are people who like it.

I instead ordered veal/beef burgers.

They were fine, but not exceptionally.

The potatoes were fresh, but lacked in flavor. They were OK, but 11 and 12 Euros for these is over-pricing.

The total bill came to 31 Euro, include a bottle of beer which is not in the above photos.

Although the service staff is professional and polite and the space is large and pleasant, it is unlikely that we would come back again, if they have so few choices of food. Maybe we went there in a wrong hour, on a wrong date (it was a Sunday afternoon), but how could I know?

Agrotera - Αγροτέρα
Vasilissis Olgas 6, Athens
Tel. 210 9220208