Friday yesterday, we had a casual day-off to use up the annual leave and went to central Athens for a stroll.
First we visited Benaki Museum to see an exhibition of El Greco. It is about friends and sponsors of the man in Toledo. The texts were more interesting than the materials on exhibition themselves, but the English translation was a bit painful to read (not really bad, but I tended to get lost when I arrived at the end of the phrases). It is a small exhibition with only one room and ticket is 5 Euro. If you want to see the museum itself, you should pay 7 Euro in addition. But if you are interested only in the exhibition, you can buy only 5 Euro ticket (as we did).
After Benaki, we went to Kolonaki and bought Nespresso capsules. I did not know the shop moved to Kolonaki Square (I heard that it happened in September this year). It is more convenient for me.
Then we looked for a place for lunch. I wanted to try Laundrette 2 which opened on Valaoritou Street, but it was closed (and to my regret, Brasserie Valaoritou was closed down). I wonder it opens only in late afternoon.
So we went to Athinaikon on Mitropoleos Street. It is situated in front of Cervantes Institute. Walking from Syntagma Square, you'll find it before arriving at the Cathedral. It is somewhere on the borders of Syntagma, Monastiraki and Plaka areas.
Athinaikon in Omonia (Themistokleous Street) is one of the older restaurants in Athens (since 1934), but Mitropoleos one opened in 2013, in a style quite different from the original one.
Although it was a weekday and 3 o'clock, the place was bustling and almost full. Some tables were occupied by groups of friends who were having Christmas-Year End lunch and some were having late lunch after Christmas shopping.
This was my 2nd time here and GH's first.
As soon as seated, a waiter brought us a bottle of tap water and bread basket right after. The bread was served with black olive paste. When I came here the first time, our waiter asked us if we wanted bread or not, but not this time. I guess you can refuse if you don't need it, especially because it costs you 1.20 Euro per person.
We did not have problem with it, because we wanted bread anyway. It was fresh and tasty as well as the olive paste.
We ordered only 2 plates, because it was meant to be a light lunch. This is stuffed lamb wrapped in vine leaves and served with oven baked potatoes (11.70 Euro). It was one of the dishes of the day.
It was a well executed dish.
And linguine with vegetable sticks and tomato sauce (7 Euro).
You don't see the vegetable sticks, which were hidden under the pasta. They are carrots and zucchini cut in match stick size, which added crunchiness to the pasta. A pleasant dish.
We shared above 2 dishes and were fine.
At the end we were offered free dessert.
One was yogurt with syrupy grapes.
The other was halvas made with butter.
Both really good, much above the average.
The bill, with a bottle of coke, came to 23.10 Euro plus 1.85 Euro obligatory tip due to the season.
It is a nice restaurant which offers well cooked Greek food for a reasonable price. It is highly recommended if you happen to be in the area and want decent Greek food.
ATHINAIKON - ΑΘΗΝΑΪΚΟΝ
Mitropoleos 34, Syntagma
Μητροπόλεως 34, Συνταγμα
Tel. 210.3252688, 210.3251598
I took a look at Spyromiliou Arcade (the building occupied by Attica Department Store and Zonar's). It did not look so Christmasy, but it was busier with a new restaurant opening in front of Pasaje. I think it was called City Bistro.