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