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Jun 28, 2006 11:22 AM

Gazi area of Athens--Mamacas, others?

We will be on a cruise making a stop in Athens in October. I watched Samantha Brown do Athens on the Travel Channel and she went to this fabulous looking restaurant called Mamacas in the Gazi area of Athens. Has anyone been there to report on it? How far a cab ride is it from say Placa or Syntagma central areas of the city? Thanks.

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  1. GAzi is walking distance from the areas you mentionned. It has become avery hip area in the past 5-10 years. You will find many restaurants and bistros that are excellent. Last year I went to a place called Lithos (or Mythos); a corner bistro with incredible meze and a great atmosphere. Take the time to walk around and enjoy.

    1. Thanks so much. Delighted to hear that it's walking distance and that Mamacas is only one of many. I love restaurant areas. Sounds like this is a really good one. Now, if I could only arrange to be able to stay for supper as well as lunch.

      1. I lived two blocks from Mamacas and went to it regularly. Their taramasalata is phenomenal.

        However, do I have an even greater treat for you. Walk down the street Mamacas is on (Persephone) until you get about a block from the train tracks. Hang a left on Dekeleon and take it down a couple blocks to a square (more like a triangle). At the corner there, on Dekeleon, is a Turkish style cafe with narghiles. Great place. Underneath it, by way of stairs out on Dekeleon, is one of Athens' treasures. It's not in any book (At least it wasn't a year ago), it only opens very late in the day and they serve only specials each night depending on the haul from the market that day. They specialize in Byzantine style food. The Politiki Salata (salad of The City/aka Constantinople) is a sublime mix of eggplant, garlic, olive oil and sour cream that is among the best dishes I've had anywhere. Try absolutely everything. The barrel wines are all they have, but you really shouldn't be drinking anything bottled with food like this. Get it by the kilo. The whole meal is so cheap it will blow your mind.

        I lived two doors down from this place and I ate there three times a week it was so cheap and so good.

        7 Replies
        1. re: kzzaaa

          Do you remember the name of this place?

          1. re: kzzaaa

            sounds fantastic and I hope others will benefit from the info. Unfortunately we must be on our way back to our cruise ship by late in the afternoon and it doesn't sound like we can hang around to have lunch at this place. I think that's the problem with cruise travel. oh, well. we'll check it out for a return sans cruise ship.

            1. re: kzzaaa

              sounds fantastic and I hope others will benefit from the info. Unfortunately we must be on our way back to our cruise ship by late in the afternoon and it doesn't sound like we can hang around to have lunch at this place. I think that's the problem with cruise travel. oh, well. we'll check it out for a return sans cruise ship.

              1. re: kzzaaa

                dear kzzaaa,
                I just read your reply on athens dining and I am curious about this Byzantine style restaurant, do you happen to remember the name?
                Thanks, E.kolliopoulos

                1. re: kzzaaa

                  Dear Kzzaaa,
                  Finally I went to this taverna! We were at an art opening at the Benaki, we were all deciding where to have dinner after, my friend Sotiris suggested a small hidden place that is very hard to find, very inexpensive. I knew he was thinking of this place which I had suggested to husband on the way to the opening as a possible dinner choice.

                  Sure enough, as we descended the steep steps down into this "dungeonous" taverna on the triangle I knew this was the place. the sign over the door is Oinomayairevetes (sp) which is the wine version of an Ouzerie. So, I believe this taverna has no name.

                  According to my friend, the owner is something of an intellectual. There is a board that tells a short history of the place. During the war (II) people would go down there for shelter, good food and wine. The taverna upstairs featured often a famous singer, and a lady would play piano, which you could hear down stairs.

                  We did not have the salad you suggested, but everything else was delicious. The loukaniko was unlike any I have had in Greece, turkish style with strong cumin taste. Nice. We all decided that whenever we are at the Benaki, this is where we will dine afterwards. thus I look forward to our next visit.

                  Best regards,

                  1. re: kzzaaa

                    kzzaaa, I want to thank you for this incredible tip! I found this place during the early afternoon and the entire area was a ghost-town except for a couple of stray dogs napping in the Greek sun. I know you said it opens late in the day and it was like 3 pm but I wanted to at least find this place due to the treasure-map type of directions. I went back at 9pm and the place was just starting to fill up. I had slow roasted baby lamb cooked en parchment for 9 e. Meatballs with stewed scallions & artichoke hearts for 3.20e. Mashed fava beans with diced red onions, lemon juice, olive oil, and capers for like 3e. A tostada-type of treat that had ground seasoned meat on one half and eggplant, tomato, and a mild white cheese on the other for like 5 or 6e. A great salad of greens, cucumbers, scallions, & oil and vin. for like 5e. All in all WOW!! The meal was just down-home Greek cooking excellence. It was so refreshing to get away from all the other tourists (hopefully this place will keep it's charm now that it's outed!)
                    The only negative point is that there is so much smoke. I hate this European pastime!
                    Anyway I talked with the chef/owner whose name is Babis and I showed him your comments that I had printed out for the directions and he was very happy /excited to see that he's on the internet. I gave him the chowhound website and although he doesn't have a computer he's going to look it up at his sisters. I'm going to go back for dinner tomorrow so I'll see if he has an address, restaurant name, and/or phone #. Thanks again. A tip I can offer to you is a great bakery that I found called: Ariston --located at 10 Voulis St. Founded in 1910. Amazing collection of pies--Greek style pies that is of mainly savory filled hand pockets...also sweet cookies & pastries. I bought one of everything-literally and the owner gave me a taste of something that he told me was from 1906 called "ISLI"--a small spice cookie filled with nuts that supposedly Alexander the great loved. It tasted like a cardamon spice. The things called "KAEIVE" were sublime as were all the savory stuff. Thanks again!

                    1. re: kzzaaa

                      -Thank you thank you thank you for this wonderful recommendation. Just got back from Greece and our one night in Athens was amazing thanks to this place. The owner was awesome(and looks a lot like Eddie Vedder)--he just kept bringing us different things to try and then at the end asked us what we liked the best and brought seconds of one or two things. he told us he'd been there for around 14 years and he didn't even know the name of the place. The restaurant above is called Bedouin if that helps anyone find it more easily.

                      For four of us it was 40 Euros for the whole meal including wine. Afterwards we stopped by for a drink at Mamacas--which was bumping for a Tuesday night and pretty cool.

                    2. EK,

                      I'm sorry I can't recall it exactly. Oinomagerefti-something. I know it's sad that I ate there so often and don't remember, but I never looked that closely. It was hand-painted in small, almost cursive Greek letters above the door and quite hard to make out. You can't even see it from the street unless you have eagle-eye vision. I can tell you that it's on Dekeleon at the intersection of Dekeleon and Elesidon in the neighborhood of Gazi. The best way to get there is to go down Piraeos street from Omonia Sq. Elesidon is the fifth right after the Gazi gasworks/cultural center, I believe. Take that a couple blocks to the triangle where three streets (including Dekeleon) meet. Hang a right on Dekeleon. Immediately on your left, taking up the corner on ground level, is a Turkish style cafe. Stairs leading down under it is where you'll find the restaurant. They don't take reservations, and I'm not even sure they have a phone in there.

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: kzzaaa

                        Dear Kzzaa,
                        Thanks for your information, we actually "google earthed' the location last night. I will let you know what we think once we give it a try. I have always liked that neighborhood. If you can think of any other recommendations, please enlighten me, as we would love to be able at some point to take our taverna savvy friends and cousins to a place they have never heard about or tried. They have done wonders for our dining experiences here and we would love to return the favor.
                        xronia polla,