Yet another list of great must-eats in Europe! This time, it’s Athens, which I spent a little while in during October of 2012. So what are the foods that you just can’t miss out on in Greece, the “land of the gods?”
First of all, I’d strongly encourage you to find Attalos, a restaurant pretty much right next to the Kerameikos Museum and the Stoa of Attalos (imagine that).
Known for its authentically Greek food at reasonable prices, you just have to be brave enough to tackle the menu, which is entirely in Greek as well. But if you know what you want, it’s no big deal! Since Attalos specializes in homemade cuisine, you’re in luck for finding one Greek dish that’s hard to spot outside the family kitchen — dolmadakia, or stuffed wine leaves. They are stuffed with a type of minced meat, and the sauce is made of lemon and egg.
Don’t leave just yet, as Attalos also has some great dessert — baklava! I’m not joking when I say that honey oozed in jets out of the sides of this nutty dessert!
Second, make sure that you make the quick trip to Piraeus, a port city very near Athens (accessible by metro). As soon as you set foot in the station, make sure to stop at the small confectionery for some chocolate covered olives.
You heard me right. Greece is the land of olives, no?
Third, if you eat nothing else in Greece, please for the love of food get some tyropita. My preferred location for this cheesy bread is Ariston, notorious as one of the the best places in all of Greece for this super cheap treat.
So what is tyropita? It is a miniature loaf of bread that, when served piping hot, contains strong, gooey cheese. My gosh, I don’t think I enjoyed any snack food in any country as much as I enjoyed this.
Next, you can’t leave Greece without trying some loukoumades, a type of Greek doughnut that is actually almost nothing of the sort. Sure, they’re fried pastries (drizzled in honey, if you so choose), but take a chance and hold one up to the light. You’ll see it’s transparent!
However, the thin pastry certainly isn’t lacking any flavor, and you’ll fill up fast! I would highly recommend the acclaimed Krinos as your restaurant of choice for loukoumades. Don’t be afraid to walk right back into the kitchen to ask for them fresh!
You can get them on a plate and stay to eat (though you should probably share with a friend!), or you can have them boxed while they’re still hot.
Finally, I hope you will have realized by now that we’re in Greece — so try some Greek yoghurt! Although I’m not too much of a fan of it myself, a wonderful restaurant named Fresko near Plaka and the Acropolis Museum made me at least call a truce with my former yoghurt nemesis.
Although I personally recommend yoghurt with quince, a kind of peach-like fruit, it’s entirely up to you. They’ve got a lot of choices!
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again:
In all honesty, I have only one warning for travelers, both new and seasoned: be afraid.
Be afraid that you will never return to this place.
Be afraid that you will never find this food again.
Be afraid that the cook whose food you just scorned has been looking for days for a simple smile because of a meal that he prepared.
Be afraid that you will return to wherever it is that you came from no different than when you stepped out the door, for that is the saddest end of all.