15 November, 2014

Where We Ate in Epirus - Part 2

The 2nd and the last part of "Where We Ate in Epirus" 2014, autumn collection.

In Monodendri, we stayed at a hotel called Archontiko Zarkada ( http://www.monodendri.com/ ). We paid only 36 Euro per night including breakfast. Really a good deal.

Breakfast was served in buffet style and the range was really good for what we paid (if you read the hotel review, you might see some negative comments about the breakfast, but it really depends on expectation).

We had bread, cakes, yogurt, fruits, eggs (boiled and scrambled), pies, unlimited serving of coffee, tea, milk and juice. Really happy.

On the 2nd day morning in Monodendri, we went down to the gorge. Before we go, we were told that it would take about 1 hour to go down and a bit more to come up. However, we made uncountable photo stops, it took about 3 hours to do the whole lot.

When we returned back, it was already lunch time. So we had lunch in Monodendri. I believe that Pita tis Kikitsas was open at that time, but we defied it and went to try Monodendri hotel. However, we were told that the restaurant was closed, even though in front of the hotel there were signs saying what they had for meal. Evidently they could not care remove the sign, even the restaurant was not functioning.

Not bothered to look for far away, we just entered a taverna next door, called Haradra tou Vikou.

Fortunately, they did serve a range of food any normal taverna serves. We had galotyri (which strangely tasted EXACTLY same like the one we are at Arktouros the evening before), salad, lachanopita (which was not with cabbage-lachano, but with horta and white cheese), and goat soup.

All fine, but nothing really stood out. I did not like that the food was served lukewarm. The portion size is not more than average, or I would rather say small for a Greek country taverna.

The bill was again about 27 Euro. Although we left happily, not so good that we'd want to go back for the second time.

I Haradra tou Vikou - Η Χαράδρα του Βίκου
Monodendri, Epirus, Greece

In the evening, we decided to try the restaurant of our hotel, which is named called Oksia.

We ordered tzatziki, 2 bean soups (fasolada) and veal in tomato sauce.

All the dishes were quite good, and the first time in Zagorohoria, the portion size was on generous side.

At the end, we were offered free chocolate cake and, unexpectedly got 10% discount (down from 27.50 Euro to 25 Euro), probably because we were staying there. It seemed strange that we were not informed about the discount when we arrived.

Among the 3 place we ate in Monodendri, Oksia (Οξιά in Greek) was the best. It is not a gourmet place, but if you are in the area (or are staying at Archontiko Zarkada) and want a good Greek country taverna, you may want to try here.

The third day in Zagorohoria, we drove around the area and in the afternoon we stopped at Tsepelovo for lunch.

Without knowing where to go, we stopped at a hotel called Kamares which was advertising a series of nice dishes.

Just to be sure, we asked the waiter if they were serving food. He said yes and we were seated.

However, things were not simple as it sounded. When the waiter came back to take our order, he informed us they could serve only 'tis oras', i.e. grilled meat dishes.

Disappointed, but not having a courage to stand up and leave, we ordered only a galotyri, Greek salad, and one grilled pork chop.

The food was fine, and the portion size was good, but the choice of dishes was too limited. We get much better variety at a simple souvlaki place in Athens. If you come in a high-season, probably you get a better offer, but our experience was rather negative.

Hotel Kamares - Καμάρες
Tsepelovo, 44010, Zagorohoria
Τσεπέλοβο, 44010
Tel. 26530 81008

And when we started to explore Tsepelovo, we found this taverna on the central square, and it was OPEN!

The menu looked quite promising and there were people inside (!). It was my real regret that we did not have lunch at this place. It is called Mikri Arktouros. If anyone visiting Tsepelovo (which is a really beautiful village) in a low season, keep this place in mind.

The evening, we were so tired that we went to bed without having dinner.

On the 4th day in Zagorohoria, we just had our breakfast and left, because we wanted to stop at Perama, near Ioannina, to see the cave.

After the visit at the cave, it was lunch time, so we decided to stop at Ioannina to eat something, before heading for Arta, which was to be our last stop.

We were almost heading for Fysa Roufa, but were stopped by a waitress of taverna To Manteio, which is situated in front of the gate to the fortress. It might have been a chance, but it had a lot of people and we decided to give it a try.

As at Fysa Roufa, we were invited to the kitchen to see the food on offer. It had stewed food as well as split roasts. After a rather poor food experience in Zagorochoria, GH went crazy and decided that he had to have lachanodormades as well as pot roast mutton. As he insisted that he could finish both of the dishes alone, I was constraint to order also chicken soup (kotosoupa) and boiled green vegetable), although I thought we were ordering too much.

And it turned out that the portion size was quite large. The below is the mutton dish and in normal circumstances, GH and I would be satisfied sharing it.

Besides, the chicken soup that I ordered wasn't really a soup, but was more like chicken giouvetsi, solid with lots of orzo pasta.

AND they offered us free dessert. The bill came to 33 Euro. It is more than what we paid at the other places, but we had almost 3 main courses. I did not like much their lachanodormades, but all the others were satisfactory (the mutton dish being the best).

I am not sure if it the best, or one of the best places in Ioannina, for we stayed only a couple of days, but I am sure that we'd like to come back here to try other dishes.

To Manteio - Το Μαντείο
Plateia Neomartyros Georgiou 15, Ioannina, 45444, Greece
Πλατεία Νεομάρτυρος Γεωργίου 15, Ιωάννινα, 45444
Tel. 26510 25452

After the meal, we bought some baklavas at a shop on Averof Street. We bought it casually, because we heard that baklavas of Ioannina was famous. We ate it when we returned and found it really delicious. We regretted that we did not buy more.

After Ioannina, we went to Arta to meet my god parents. I don't have any more food photos hereafter, because we always ate with them and I refrained from doing strange things like photographing food. :)

Regardless of their age (they are friends of my father-in-law and the godfather is close to 80), they were fine and we were very glad to see them and chat away for many hours.

They told us to visit the region of Zoumerka (it is Arta's counterpart of Zagorochoria) next time we go to Epirus. We will do so, hopefully, soon.

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