25 October, 2014

Moma @ Monastiraki

About a week ago, GH and I visited a cafe-restaurant called Moma in Adrianou Street of Monastiraki.

Adrianou is a long street, which traverses the central Athens stretching from the edge of Plaka to Thissio. Moma is on the Monastiraki side of Adrianou, on the pedestrian walk along the archaeological site of Ancient Agora.

Adrianou is one of the most touristic places of Athens, but different from Plaka, here gathers also many Athenians. (To say the truth, this is not really true, because even in Plaka there are some streets where many Athenians go).

We went to this particular place because it had a high-score on Foursquare (I was curious) and GH did not in the mood of traditional Greek food.

The waiters were welcoming. After the usual discussion with them if GH and I speak and read Greek (because neither of us do not look like Greek), we were seated at one of the outdoor tables and given the menu.

As we told waiters that we were eating, they brought a bottled water. If you are here for drink, they shall bring tap water.

The menu is usual "international", with addition of "Greek dishes" printed on a different menu. As we expected, the prices were rather high; salads about 8 or 9 Euro, main dishes 10- 12.

Here is Greek salad from "Greek dishes" menu. While the salads on the main menu were 8 to 9 as I wrote above, this one (and dakos) were 6.50 Euro.

The plate was huge, but the portion wasn't large. It was passable as a starter while we waited for main courses.

I forgot to mention that the waitress asked if we wanted bread and dip to start with. This is positive, because I am not much of a bread eater. I think it cost 0.80 Euro or so per person, if you wanted it.

This is GH's Peperoni pizza, 11 Euro. On the menu, it was written that in contained "sweet chili". We thought it should be paprika, but turned out to be Chinese sweet chili sauce.

GH was eating it happily, but I found it rather amateurish, as it if it was cooked at home.

I ordered the Today dish, which was written on the black board, but not on the menu. It was pork fillet cooked with lavender and served with pasta (on the black board, it was written that it was served also with grilled manouri cheese, but I did not see any trace of it).

It came in a big quantity and pork fillets cooked with lavender were quite interesting. The pasta was also particular Greek variety. It was a shame that it was chewy; a little bit more of boiling would have helped it.

Anyway, this dish cost only 12 Euro together with a glass of wine. It is a good deal.

Together with a bottle of coke, the total bill came to 34.30 Euro.

All in all, it is a nice place to have a drink or light meal. Adrianou street is terrific for people watching with the background of Stoa of Herodes Attikos and the Thiseion Temple (which really is Hephaisteion). However, for a gastronomic experience, I would look for somewhere else.

Adrianou 29, Monastiraki, 105 55, Athens
Αδριανού 29, Μοναστηράκι, 105 55, Αθήνα
Tel. 210 3211233

19 October, 2014

Aglio, Olio e Peperoncino @ Akropoli-Makrigianni

One Sunday afternoon we visited a pasta restaurant called Aglio, Olio e Peperoncino of Makrigianni Quarter. It is just 3 min. walk away from Akropoli Metro station.

"Aglio, Olio e Peperoncino" means literally "Garlic, Oil and Chili" in Italian and practically it means pasta (usually spaghetti) cooked with these 3 ingredients (plus salt, of course).

Although I have been to this station some dozens of times, I have never seen this restaurant, because it is tucked away in a quite minor street.

I heard about this place from a friend of mine some time ago. After checking the score in Foursquare, we decided to try.

It was quite small. Much smaller than I imagined; I don't think there were not even 10 tables. The decoration looked somehow Christmasy; I guess you can see what I mean looking at the photo below.

Even though the place was small and there were two waitresses, the service was rather slow. It took quite a while to bring us a menu. I noted that the waitresses did not bring more than 1 dish a time for some reason. It was odd.

I had thought it was an Italian restaurant, but it proved not to be the precise definition in my mind. The reason is that the only main dish it serves is pasta. There is no pizza, no risotto and more importantly, no meat or fish.

In Italy, pasta is considered to be the first course and, for a meal to be complete, there should also be second course (normally meat or fish). Although people often eat only the first course to save time, money or calorie intake, it is odd if restaurants do not have any second dish.

I lived in Italy for 5 years and I have a rather clear and inflexible idea what Italian restaurants are like. So I would call this place a pasta restaurant, not really an Italian.

From the rather limited choices, we ordered 1 salad and 2 pasta dishes.

To start, we were served some bread (2 black and 2 white) and some olives (0.80 Euro per person).

This seemed to be an obligatory order. However, I believe they should ask the guests if they want bread or not, because people do not necessary eat bread with pasta. It is carbohydrate overload.

The salad we ordered was with grilled aubergine and yogurt. You can see in the photo yogurt and aubergine. What you do not see are cucumber and tomato below the aubergine. I found the combination a bit odd. 8.50 Euro.

My pasta was tagliolini (alla) "siciliana", I was explained by one of the waitresses that it was tagliolini cooked with minced pork, chili, white wine and a bit of cream. I am not sure why they associated this dish with Sicily.

It was not bad, but I found it a bit too heavy, maybe because of the cream.

GH had Papardelle with speck and cheese (I do not remember which cheese it was). Speck is like prosciutto crudo, but it is smoked. I thought that the speck was too cooked.

Neither of the pasta wasn't bad, but I would not pay 12 Euro for such simple dishes. I would rather cook at home.

At the end, they offered either grappa, limoncello or lemon sorbet (we chose the last).

With a bottle of beer, the bill came to 37.10 Euro. Considering what we ate, it was rather expensive.

Aglio, Olio e Peperoncino is no doubt a successful restaurant which has continued for years attracting many regular customers. But it did not do the trick to me.

Aglio, Olio & Peperoncino
Porinou 13, Makrigianni, 117 42 Athens
Πορινού 13, Μακρυγιάννη, 117 42 Αθήνα
Tel: 2109211801

Walking toward the metro station, we found this strange sculpture.


We are in Ilioupoli, eastern suburb of Athens. We have never been here before and were very impressed by wide roads and ample open spaces.

By the way, this is a test post I am writing with my new mobile.

15 October, 2014

Mavromatis @ Agia Paraskevi

Visited this taverna in one Friday evening of September.

We heard about this place from a friend of ours. She has been here 2 or 3 times and she liked it. When I saw a discount coupon, we planned to go there together, but eventually she left for another country and only GH and I made it.

It is a huge taverna with tables outside and inside. It was all the more evident, as we were the only customers almost until the end of our meal, when a man came in and sat down.

Again, I tell you it was a Friday evening!

Mavromatis is famous for grill, but it has also oven cooked food (mageirefta).

Here are mixed salad, aubergine imam and tyrokafteri.

Imam was pretty good, as the one I cooked at home following classic recipe.

On the other hand, the salad was rather dismal. If it was 4 Euro, it would have been OK, but it wasn't.

I do not recall how was the tyrokafteri. I only remember that I thought it was not memorable. Ha ha ha.

Fried potatoes were a bit too crunchy. Or too raw, should I say?

This is chicen exhohiko, recommended by our waiter. These were boned chicken thighs with feta and green pepper filling. I am not keen on this way of cooking, but it was nicely executed.

I liked these veal burgers, except for some hard bits (but not as hard as fragmented bone, which sometimes endanger my teeth).

These are the famous chicken paidakia for 1 kilo (15 Euro).

These should be chicken breast on bones. Although they were enjoyable, I did not think they were so special that I should come back.

I am not quite sure how much they cost, as we had vouchers for 4 people and ordered much more than what we could eat. However, my impression is that they should adjust the price maybe 10% downward, considering now there are so many competitors that are offering better price.

Mavromatis - Μαυρομάτης
Eptanisou 4, Ag. Paraskevi, 15341, Athens
Επτανήσου 4, Αγ. Παρασκευή, 15341, Αθήνα
Tel. 210 6399102 - 210 6014048

12 October, 2014

Circus @ Kolonaki

Visited a very popular bar called Circus in Kolonaki in one Friday evening of September.

Administratively it might be in Kolonaki, but it is not the chic Kolonaki you might think of. The closest metro station is Panepisthimio and there are many young people - young like university student young - circulating the area. It is almost Exarchia.

I wrote above that it is popular. How do I know? It is because most of my Foursquare "friends" of Athens have been here; I do not see such concentration elsewhere. I wrote "friends", but they are not actual friends I go out with, but random people that I follow their activities (and they do mine), so, statistically, it is a better sampling than hearsay from the actual circle of friends.

To be such a popular place, it was surprisingly small. I wonder how busy it gets in the evening.

And for such a small place, the menu is long. Circus is famous as a cocktail bar, but it serves also coffee and food. The food is more like cafeteria/pub sort of food than taverna food. I guess it targets at the office people in the area. A cocktail costs 8.50 Euro. But for happy hours, it becomes 6.50 Euro (it was 16:00 to 20:00 if I remember well).

GH ordered one cocktail that I do not remember. There is a large ball of ice which melts only slowly.

I ordered something with ginger. Royal Ginger maybe? Not sure. The floating yellow thing is Chrysanthemum.

We thought that the cocktails were good, but I have to say also we do not have any expertise what-so-ever in cocktail field.

GH ordered also hand-cut potato chips with cheddar sauce. I think it was 3.50 Euro.

On the upper corner, you see a bowl of pop corns. Circus is famous also for unlimited delicious pop corns. If you wonder if there are delicious and undelicious pop corns, you'd better go and try.

All in all, nice experience. We did something we do not do usually after work and left happy.

Navarinou 11, Kolonaki, 10680 Athens
Ναυαρίνου 11, Κολονάκι, 10680 Αθήνα
Tel. 210 3615255

04 October, 2014

Jaipur Palace Indian @ Alimos

It has been sometime since my last post. No particular reason, except for I did not have much time during the last few weekends. We have been travelling and eating around as usual.

Today I will post about Jaipur Palace in Alimos. We went there with a discount coupon, so ours is not a regular visitor's experience, but I hope it still helps to give people an idea.

The 'original' Jaipur Palace is in Kifissia. Then, when Iskandar in Alimos closed its door, Jaipur took over the exercise, almost without any change in interior and exterior decor. One Indian is good for another other?

Here is the interior. In comparison to some new Indian restaurants in central Athens, it is definitely kitsch. It might be good or bad, depending on your taste. I just did not like the water cups made of metal, because they made water taste metal.

It was a Friday evening. When we arrived at 8 o'clock, it was totally empty. When we left at around 10, two other tables were occupied, but still it was far from lively. The amount of customer traffic might have influenced the freshness of the food, as you read below.


Sauces and pickles for papadom.

These reminded me of my former life in England. I felt nostalgic.

As starter, we chose vegetable samosas.

The filling tasted too much of green peas and little spice. And there was a hint of staleness. I did not like them at all.

Here is one of their tandoor dish. I don't remember the name, but they are morsels of chicken breast, marinated with nuts paste and spices.

Meat was so tender that the texture was almost mashy. Probably not badly executed, but was not what I liked.

From curries, we chose something with lamb. If you think that the portion is tiny, it is an illusion. This sort of Indian metal bowls looks small, but can contain more than you expect.

I did not like this one either. There was no sharpness of fresh spices. I suspected the sauce was cooked a while ago. Same with the meat, which was cooked to death. All in all, it was uninteresting stale stew.

Naans looked right, but they were too tough and dry to be really right. Not bad though.

Pilau rice was probably the most properly cooked thing this evening.

With a bit of drink and water, we paid 30 Euro for the coupon. But if you order without discount, it would have been 50 to 60 Euro. Way too expensive for what they are. Definitely I would stick to Indian restaurants in Athens.

Jaipur Palace
Eleftherias Avenue 6 (end of Amfitheas), Alimos
Λ. Ελευθερίας 6 (Πρώην Αμφιθέας), Άλιμος

Tel. +30 2109812009
Μob +30 6947117451