31 March, 2015

Chez Michel @ Kolonaki

One Sunday in February, we visited the Museum of Cycladic Art. Although small by European standard, it is a fantastic museum and you should visit you have never been to. Besides the Cycladic sculptures, it has a floor dedicated to Cypriot Antiquities, which is quite interesting. It hosts also temporary exhibitions, too. When we visited, an exhibition about the Ancient medicine and health was on.

After a couple of hours in the museum, we felt tired and decided to have a late lunch at a nearby cafe called Chez Michel (after, of course, checking Foursquare).

It is a relatively small place, with some tables outside and more inside. It is in a French cafe style, in a sense that tables are small and chairs are close to each other.

It looks like a cafe-bar and indeed serves cafe food like sandwiches and salads, but it has also dishes of normal restaurants, like risotto, pasta, and steaks. We ordered one sandwich and one pasta to see what they could do.

Although we ordered a sandwich, our waitress brought us a basket of bread and dip without asking us. It cost only 1 Euro, but they could have asked us, as not everyone eat bread together with sandwich or pasta.

I wanted to order a sandwich with bagel, but to my disappointment, the waitress told me that they didn't serve bagels on Sundays. I ordered a baguette sandwich with turkey ham instead (4.50 Euro).

It was beautifully served and tasted all right, although I would have preferred the bread to be reheated.

GH ordered a plate of penne with prosciutto (10.50 Euro).

The penne were egg pasta (similar to the ones that we recently ate at Pizzeria dei Fratelli in Nea Smyrni) and nicely boiled. GH first complained that it wasn't enough salted, but then understood that it was meant to be eaten with ham which was quite salty. Expensive, but it was a good dish.

Together with 2 bottled of coca cola (3 Euro x 2), the total bill came to 22 Euro. Not cheap as a light lunch at a cafe, but taking into consideration the quality, location, and environment, we did not feel over-charged after all.

They had some cakes that looked good and we would return to try them.

Irodotou 15, Kolonaki, 10674 Athens
Ηροδότου 15, Κολωνάκι, 10674 Αθήνα
Tel. 215 551 0090

28 March, 2015

Druid @ Palaio Faliro

Visited Druid cafe/ restaurant in Palaio Faliro.

It is in a residential area of P. Faliro, although it is in a short walking distance from the main street Agiou Alexandrou, and you won't never find it, if you are not looking for it. Also because it is in a converted residential building.

I found the place on internet and have been curious due to many positive reviews. I grabbed a chance to try it, when they were selling discount coupon (25 Euro voucher against 50 Euro value).

The table setting was rather basic, like at a cafe. Indeed some people around us were there for coffees, rather than a meal.

The menu was neither long nor short, and tends toward meat than seafood/fish.

Although it looked like a cafe, we were offered amuse-bouche like in a restaurant. Left side is a layered mousse of broccoli and something else (pumpkin?) which I do not remember any more and right side is home made grissini with yogurty dip.

As drink, we could have ordered wine or beer. We decided to try Argos Star beer which we have never tasted. It is one of these micro-brewery beers and tasted quite nice. 3 Euro only.

As a starter, GH ordered a tart of feta cheese (7 Euro).

I ordered a salad of avocado and prawns, 12 Euro. It included one entire avocado and prawns tasted fresh.

Here is entrecote for GH as main dish, 20 Euro. Nicely cooked, but the meat itself was usual Greek veal which is not really adequate for steak.

I ordered squid-ink pasta with cockles, 15 Euro. The shellfish tasted fresh and not from tin.

We did not order any dessert, but were offered limoncello on the house, with pistachio nuts.

The total bill of all the above should have been 53 Euro, if we did not have coupon. The food was gourmet-ish and the ingredients tasted fresh, but, in my humble opinion, the kitchen is not up to the real gourmet restaurant standard. Besides, for this price, I can think of some other places I would prefer to go.

What do you think?

Afroditis 57, 17561, Palaio Faliro
Αφροδίτης 57, 17561, Παλαίο Φάληρο
Tel. 210 984 8151

07 March, 2015

Pizzeria dei Fratelli @ Nea Smyrini

Visited a relatively new pizza restaurant in Neos Kosmos (or Nea Smyrni?), near InterContinental Hotel.

It was a very cold and snowy night and there were very few customers. Some seemed to be foreign businessmen staying at InterCon or Ledra Hotels.

The interior is industrial style. Spacious with high ceiling. The kitchen is open and you can see the food being cooked.

The menu is not too short not too long, mainly pizzas as you expect from a pizzeria. There are also bruschettas, pastas, and a few meat main dishes.

While we wait, we ordered freshly baked pita bread with a dip which tasted like mayonnaise. The pita should have been made from pizza dough, but it is much less oily than regular focaccia. It was soft, moist, and pretty nice (0.80 Euro).

We ordered a salad with veal and potato, but after 10 minutes from taking the order, the waiter (who should be one of the 2 owners) came back to tell us that they did not have potatoes and could not prepare the particular dish. I have no idea why it took 10 minutes to figure out that they did not have potato. Never mind. Strange things happen at restaurants. We ordered a chicken caesar salad following recommendation by the waiter.

The chicken carsar (7.10 Euro) consisted in lettuce, grilled chicken fillet, shaven hard cheese and dressing.

It was quite filling and chicken was soft and moist. If there were other types of lettuces or leaves mixed in, it would have been even better.

GH said he was hungry and ordered 40 cm pizza with guanciale and real mozzarella cheese (there are regular cheese ones and 'mozzarella di bufala' ones with a bit of extra, but I am not sure if the mozzarella really was from water buffalo which is quite expensive even in Italy), for 13.50 Euro. The amount of guanciale (cured meat made of pork cheeks) was quite little, but at least had enough cheese and tomato sauce to go on.

The restaurant has a proper pizza oven, but, when they bake, they put the pizza in baking tin. You don't say that it is not 'Italian' as even in Italy there are pizzerias that use baking-tin method, but to my understanding, the bottom crust does not come out as good as when baked without tin.

Still, it was enjoyable enough. Besides, I think 40 cm pizza should feed 2 people; GH ate 3 pieces and then gave up. But, do not worry. They can pack up the rest! I had an impression that most of the patrons brought home some remains. So, if 2 people order only 1 salad and one 40 cm pizza, a meal should cost around 20 Euro + drinks. It is pretty reasonable for an Italian restaurant in Athens.

I ordered a dish of penne with chicken and moscato d'Asti (8.60 Euro). Nice, but a bit heavy. Later I figured out that it was because of huge amount of butter. How I figured out? I brought a half home and observed that the sauce was totally solid after one night in fridge.

We had also 2 glasses of wine and the total cost came to 37.50 Euro. Considering that we did not really have to order so much food, a normal meal should be more affordable.

This was not my perfect pizza, but still, the restaurant is a nice and affordable place to have a pizza and a beer.

Kratitos 10, Nea Smyrni (Neos Kosmos), Athens 17121
Κρατήτος 10, Νεα Σμύρνη, Αθήνα 17121
Tel. 210 9355220