Friday, January 05, 2007

Eating Greek

We’d never have found the Stoa Attalos Restaurant in Monastiraki without the odd wanderings of Alan Hill of Milton Keynes, UK. Having hooked up with Alan and his wife, Barbara (named just like mine), at the Delphi Art Hotel, we had a few ouzos to cement the new trans-Atlantic acquaintanceship. Along about dinner time, Alan and Barbara wanted to take us to a place they’d tried a couple of days before.

So off we tramped into the gathering gloom of an Athens evening, first hiking the long way down from the hotel to Monastiraki Metro Station. Alan was certain the restaurant, whose name he couldn’t recall, was around the station to the east, so we tramped up and down a couple of hills.

By this time, the full moon rising over the Acropolis, with the Parthenon lit up so brightly, made it worth the walk. But as we circled around the streets behind the Tower of the Winds, it was clear that Alan didn't quite remember where the place was.

We stopped and consumed more ouzo to fortify us, then wobbled back down toward the Agora.

I said, “There’s a street we haven’t tried.” So we swerved left onto Adrianou: it runs just on the north side of the Agora itself…and after about 16 tourist restaurants that looked pretty much alike, Alan stopped and flung out his right hand: “That’s it!”

And it was.

The Attalos has excellent food, “contemporary and traditional Greece meets with the spirits near the monuments of the Ancient Agora and the Acropolis,” according to its website. I think the spirits come in bottles.

Barbara and I went back the next day for lunch and would have gone more often, except the place was closed by the time we got back on Sunday – New Year’s Eve. Too bad: the host promised they’d have stifado, the classic Greek stew made with rabbit.

So when you go to Athens, don’t mess about like the Barons and the Hills. The address is Andrianou 9, Thisio, in Monastiraki Center. Any taxi driver will get you there; better yet, take the Metro. You’ll get great food and drink and the prices are reasonable.

Or take the coward’s way out and walk around to the other side of the block. On Ermou Street, there’s an Applebee’s. Believe it.

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