We were in Athens a year ago and were pleasantly surprised by the local gastronomy. This is what I wrote. What we experienced then was not a lucky shot.
Kerameikos, once the pottery area of Athens, is an emerging neighborhood. The ancient Greek cemetery is worth a visit. But it also has plenty of (hidden) urban cafés. Aleria is nearby and housed in a 19th-century neoclassical gem with three dining areas and a patio that opens in summer.
Chef Gikas Xenakis offers an “Earth & Sea” menu or the vegetarian “Garden & Nature.” We opted for the latter because chefs must really be inventive here. The sommelier convinced us to go for the wine pairing, where we opted for the premium version.
Both food and wines were delicious, and the restaurant was entirely in line with what we had experienced a year earlier.
“Life is about creating through light, water, and soil.” Soil is a beautiful name for a restaurant, and if one deserves it, it’s Soil, situated near Varnava Square in the lively Pangrati neighborhood. Spondi, another Michelin-star restaurant, is just around the corner.
Chef Tasos Mantis has nurtured a strong bond with nature. He is immersed in sustainable cooking and herbalism, elevating the richness of the Greek land. His father is looking after the Tasos’ garden, just one hour from Athens.
We got 15 (small) dishes, and each plate was a taste bomb. Pure taste and daring but exquisite combinations such as tomato, strawberries, basil, and pistachio. Or lemon, apple, lemon verbena, and lemon leaves.
I love the new Michelin green star classification for sustainable gastronomy. Soil has both a green and red star.
On the busy road from Athens to Piraeus is Hytra, situated on the last two floors of a big office block. Both the bar and the restaurant are hip. Jazzy (live) music and plenty of cocktails set the scene. You even have a cocktail-pairing menu option! We didn’t go that road but took one as a starter. Delicious!
It’s great that many restaurants now offer a green or vegetarian menu, and it’s often as good as the discovery menu. Hytra didn’t disappoint. And the service was casual but great.
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