Food and drink
Gefseis me Onomasia Proelefsis (is this the most unpronounceable name for a restaurant?) means ‘flavours with a designation of origin’. Predictably, provenance is all-important here. The exuberant Executive Chef, Nena Ismirnoglou, is passionate about traditional Greek products – botarga from Messolongi, smoked eel from Ioannina, salami from Karpenisi – but Nena uses them in surprising combinations to create very modern dishes. A typical dish is shrimp and fish burger flavoured with tarragon and mint in home-made squid-ink buns with avocado sauce. The Sunday lunch menu focuses on more traditional Greek fare like giouvetsi me kritharaki (stewed goat with orzo), fish soup, and battered cod with roast garlic skordalia and beetroot. Occasional wine tastings or seasonal tasting menus are worth looking out for.
Start with grilled calamari with smoked aubergine puree drizzled in lime sauce, ‘last-minute cheese pie’, and cabbage and pomegranate salad with caramelised pumpkin and green olive confit. Follow with slow-roast baby goat flavoured with Seville orange, lemon thyme and oregano, served with mashed potatoes flavoured with mastic. The amazing platter of 10 Greek cheeses will rid you of any negative preconceptions about Greek food. But desserts are extraordinary too – especially the halva ice cream with figs marinated in ouzo and black pepper.
Sophisticated but not too stuffy. Patterned floor tiles, peach coloured walls, soft lighting and a collection of fine antiques create an atmosphere of old world charm – a cosy contrast to the fresh, modern flavours. It’s a special occasion sort of place, but one that’s relaxed and reasonably priced enough that you’ll always find an excuse to return.
Dinos Tzevahirtzian, the gracious maitre d’ and sommelier, sets the tone: discreet, intuitive, and hugely knowledgeable. You’ll feel perfectly taken care of without being cosseted.
This is one of those rare Athenian restaurants that’s as much about the setting as the food. Although located on a busy main road in the northern suburb of Kifissia, this neoclassical oasis with a secret garden is utterly tranquil. It once hosted the royal family.
Average €45 per person (without wine). The set menu for €30 (including two glasses of wine) on Mondays and Tuesdays is an absolute steal. The Sunday lunch menu is more traditional, and 25 percent cheaper than the evening menu.
Tables to book
There are several small rooms, but there’s not much difference between them. Tables are set in the garden in summer.
- Business travellers
- Mature travellers
- Special occasions