London may have just been in Fashion Week Mode but I’m still in post holiday reminiscing mode, as I’ve sadly not been attending any shows and I’m so delayed in my blogging activities… So this, my friends, is going to be a post about food – specifically my food experience in Greece, which I had the pleasure of visiting last month. Those of you who follow me on Instagram will have probably noticed that I am an enthusiastic foodie – having said that, I wouldn’t say I am super picky when it comes to food or have ‘snobby’ taste buds. But Greece has definitely been my richest experience in terms of food. I finally understood what all those people, who banged on about the taste of vegetables and fruits outside of the UK, were on about (Not that I have anything against British food – I’ve been here for over a decade and never had an issue!).
One of my most precious memories from Greece is walking along with my friend next to a field of orange trees and trying one of the oranges dropped on the ground – the taste of that orange on a super hot day was delectable and quite simply, incredible.
Anyway, here are a few of my foodie memories – you might even want to take notes!
Rozalia: This was one of the first meals I had in Greece that I guess you could refer to as ‘authentic’ (cringe)! My friend really wanted me to try mussaka so he took me to this cute little (actually not little at all) restaurant in the super edgy neighborhood that is Exarchia, which served lovely and affordable Greek food.
Pretty cafe in Chania, Crete: I can’t remember the name of this cafe but if you are ever in the area of Chania in Crete it’s by the old port, pretty much next to the cute little mosque (as seen here in my Instagram). This breakfast was the bomb – omelette and cake? So wrong yet so right – and it was all beautifully made.
Super random, ridiculously authentic tavern in some very random part of the neighbourhood of Kallithea, Athens: Eating at this local tavern was an unforgettable experience. In all honesty, I could write a separate post about it. I’d like to think that I’m easy-going but as we started getting closer to this place I did think “Oh God, is this it?”. It reminded me of a Spanish bar in the 90’s – minimal decor (and I’m not referring to a chic loft style), full of smoke from all the cigarettes (my dear Greece, you really need to change that law) and even more full of middle-aged and old Greek men who probably go there every night and would maybe frown upon a couple of foreigners (especially one that’s dressed in a bunch of colours). The possible boss/owner/main lady waitress had a super loud argument with possibly her son/young waiter as to where we could sit and it all felt like a big fat Greek drama. But we were allowed to sit and had the most amazing, simple meal. The lady couldn’t speak English so she got this man to come along and translate – we later realised that he was a customer. What the lady did was bring a selection of everything – tuna, salad, chicken, halloumi, octopus, bread… I almost shrieked when I tried the tomato, it had an incredible taste. This was, quite simply, one of the best meals I had in Greece – and it was unfairly cheap. It really did feel like I got a taste of normal, non Trip Advisor Greek life.
I can’t remember any details about this place at all – it is super hidden and my friends say the name for it is pretty much ‘Tavern.’ But my dear peeps, if you are lucky enough to have a friend living and working in Greece, get them to take you to the most unpretentious place they know of.
These ridiculously cute cupcakes were spotted in a window display in the trendy-posh part of Kolonaki – I don’t know why I behaved myself and didn’t go for it.
It’s just the French who make beautiful macaroons…
In fact, the Greeks seem to have a very sweet tooth. The neighbourhoods were full of beautiful bakeries that dangerously showed off all kinds of sweet temptations in their window displays – and let’s not forget I got served cake for breakfast more than once. I can’t help but love a country that, like me, loves all things sweet.
Mama Roux, near Monastiraki: Speaking of dessert, my friend and I gave Mama Roux a go, as my online research had said that this restaurant was super popular. Sadly we didn’t get to try their brunch (which apparently is what they’re known for), but we did experience their luxurious desserts. I did enjoy mine (it was the chocolatey mousse-like one) but it was definitely too expensive – the prices were as bad as London! However, if I ever do go to Athens again, I will make a point of going there for brunch. They also get brownie points for having a pretty umbrella display.
(Note: the street that Mama Roux is full of lots of restaurants, lots of which look very appealing.)
Tzitzikas & Mermigas: That’s one hell of a name, right? There is a side of me that is a total food snob as I prefer to avoid chains but I really, really loved this place. There’s no other way to put it. I think the one that we went to was in Syntagma (there are ‘only’ four of them for now). It had a very cool vibe and the food – which could be described as modern Greek cuisine – was delicious. It wasn’t too expensive either so hell yeah, I would totes go back.
Cucumbers! (Or courgettes?)
And one of Whatsapp’s most famous emojis! All these fruit pictures were taken outside of my friend’s home in Ambelokipi – every Tuesday there is a local market full of super photogenic fruits and vegetables. Doesn’t it look amazing?
Koi Sushi in Syntagma: Guys, please don’t judge me for also having non-Greek cuisine in Athens. My friend loves sushi and this is one of his favourite spots, so as a fellow sushi lover I couldn’t not give this place a go. It was AMAZING. Super affordable and ridiculously delicious, as well as being full of Greek hipsters. So guys, if you’re happy to not just stick to Greek food, I cannot recommend this place enough. Just be ready for the queue…
Ginger Ale: A retro, fifties-inspired cafe/bar in the historically well-known and now edgy part of Athens that is Exarchia? What’s not to love? I loved Ginger Ale – it was ridiculously cute and cool. It’s a great place to just chill and have a drink and snack – my sandwich was actually the bomb.
Serbetia in Psiri (aka Ta Serbetia stou Psyrri): Damn, this place is famous. My friend took me to what seemed to be one of Athen’s most popular spots for those who have a very, very big sweet tooth. It’s in a lovely area of Athens – Psiri, which is super lively and has lots of attractive looking venues. The place itself was so prettily decorated but the experience was actually stressful – the waiters and waitresses were rushed off their feet because there were so many people and ridiculous queues. I did enjoy my strangely coloured cake but be warned: some of the portions are INSANE.
Athens 360°: It was a toss up between this place and A For Athens – this place won. We weren’t there for long but it was very nice – expensive, but delicious. I loved the food and it’s great to go in the evening because of the lovely views of the Acropolis.
Another place that is totally worth going to (and I could have sworn I took pictures of but can’t find any of them) was Six D.o.g.s. It is a beautiful, painfully hip bar, highly reminiscent of Shoreditch – part of it is in the open and has a forest/festival feel thanks to all the trees full of little lights. Plus, there are actually six dogs within the venue and they serve super yummy hot dogs (oh, the irony!). Go there if, like me, you are a hipster wannabe and love beautiful looking places with a ridiculously cool vibe.
Hug in Kolonaki: My friends and I literally did a bit of online research because we wanted to go somewhere that was close to home. I have no interest in posh neighbourhoods, but Hug Pizza Bar was completely unpretentious and shockingly empty when we went. The venue itself is lovely, with its own outdoor garden-area for people to eat in. The food is mainly Italian, as you can probably gather from the pictures of our meal. It was all delicious (special shoutout goes to the halloumi and little triangular bread – too yummy!), and the owner/manager/main waitress was so genuinely sweet. I do hope they get busier on weekends, as it was all delicious and not overpriced.
I’ve always wanted to do write more about food on the blog as I absolutely love it – and when it comes to travelling, food is an essential way to understand different cultures!
So yes, you could say that on my big fat Greek adventure I covered a lot of things in terms of food – cheap, average-priced, relatively overpriced, normal, trendy, hip, sweet, savoury, authentic, not so authentic and more focused on international customers, posh-ish, posh wannabe… it was indeed a very rich experience and I couldn’t have asked for more. I hope you have gained a few ideas from this post if you do decide to visit Athens – the truth is though, you will probably love the food regardless of where you go, as the Greeks know what they are doing!
All pictures taken by me and my friend between January 28th and February 2nd, 2016.