athens, sifnos, delphi, kastraki, monodendri
We are looking for authentic, excellent, possibly regional Greek cuisine at a reasonable price.
We're budget travelers, but we have more cash than backpackers. We need to reach everyplace by public transport, as we won't be driving. We're not interested in tourist restaurants (don't care about an English menu), trendy places (unless they're totally amazing and they merit the extra money) or fusion food. Lamb, goat, mezedes, seafood (nothing fancy), all good... Serious Chowhound food, Greek-style. We've been to Greece before, but only to the Dodecanese.
Please share your recommendations for the following places:
1. Athens (we will arrive on Easter Sunday; any recommendations for roast lamb?--add Turkish food and souvlaki to the usual list of tavernas and ouzerias)
2. Sifnos (staying in Apollonia, but it's not a very large island)
4. Kastraki (or Kalambaka)
5. Monodendri (bus stops off in Ioannina, anyone been to Es Aei there?)
re: Laurie Constantino
We will arrive in the afternoon. Maybe 2pm at the airport if our flight is on time. So maybe we will eat at 4 or 5pm or later, after we check into our hotel and arrive in the city.
We will be in Athens for three days, May 26-29. We leave for Sifnos on the morning of the 29. And then we will return to Athens for another three days at the end of May.
So six days total.
Maximum euros per person? Don't know exactly, hard to say. (Exchange rate for dollars is terrible now.)
Price depends on the food. Typically 12-25 euros/person for dinner. Less for lunch (less for dinner is also ok!), we will need some cheaper suggestions. We could spend 40 euros/person or more for something really, really memorable... but we can only afford to do this a couple of times. Obviously, something rare or special is worth more money, but cheaper places are better for us. We love basic taverna food...
On Sifnos there is one place you have to go for fish/seafood. In fact, we were practically ordered to go there when we asked around for the best fish taverna on the island. You'll take the bus from Apollonia to Herissos (Cherissos, Xerissos - depending on which sign you're looking at). It's a very small fishing village with 2 tavernas right down on the water. We ate at Ammodia (spelling?) and it was the single most outstanding meal of our trip. Choose your fish from a cooler and have it either fried or grilled. Every single thing we ate there - the mezes, the potatoes, the salads, and of course the fish - was fantastic. I understand they specialize in lobster, which we didn't have because my companions don't eat shellfish. Oh I envy you.
Now THAT, sir/ma'am, sounds like a find. Will do during our time in Sifnos. Thanks much for the recommendation. I think I saw one of your posts stating that the fish was priced quite reasonably, as well. Even better.
Really hoping to find some good eateries in Kastraki/Kalambaka and in Delphi that won't be lazily cooked tourist sludge...
We went to Delphi but didn't eat anywhere in town. Brought a picnic lunch and ate it - unceremoniously - on the temple grounds. We were upbraided for being disrespectful, but I really don't think it's disrespectful to eat somewhere as long as you don't leave garbage, so didn't feel too guilty about it.
The food on Sifnos is quite good. There is a very particular type of cheese that you'll get on your Greek salad there - it's like a soft feta and is scooped onto the salad with an ice cream scoop. Delicious. And there are these little almond cookies that I never learned the name of. We stayed in Vathy but visited Apollonia a couple of times - you seem to have to go through it to get anywhere. Definitely go to Kastro and have a drink at a cafe called Remezzo which overlooks the surrounding hills. Oh and buy a beautiful pottery casserole dish for yourself in Kamares (which is crawling with pottery shops). I shlepped mine all the way home in my hand luggage and use it to make moussaka.
There is a small cafe in Kastro that overlooks the water (doesn't everything have a great view in Sifnos?) that offers the best ek mek (kadaifi topped with a creamy layer) and you can wash it down with a tall cool glass of frappe (a whipped coffee drink with milk and sugar). I think it is the one Nyleve mentions in his/her post. Ohhhh....I can taste it now!
O. M. G. GirlFriday. ek mek. I have been trying to find this again all over Greece.
In the summer of 90, I was traveling the islands with a high school buddy of mine, and we had rented some mopeds on Mykonos. We had gone for a swim, and were driving around the hills for some lunch.
In the middle of nowhere (not sure that still exists on Mykonos...) was a non-descript place that had fairly non-descript Greek food -- macaronada
'-) for example...
HOWEVER, the dessert was ekmek, which I had never had before, and it looked like bread had been soaked in syrup or honey, and had this wonderful custard on top, and perhaps even a tiny layer of whipped cream.
I thought I had died and gone to heaven. The only other place I had this was on Tinos, and the owner had promised to give me the recipe.... but I failed to show up, given that it was our last day there and the beach was beckoning.
Everywhere else it's yaourti me melo, baklava, kadaifi, etc. etc. If you're lucky, you can get loukoumades. Those are fabulous, too. But nothing comes close to ek mek.
Problem is ek mek means bread in Turkish, so asking in Turkish stores has not been helpful.
Is it a locally confined specialty? Can one get a recipe??
Ek mek is said to be a Turkish specialty, but the Greeks took to it as we can both attest. The best ek mek is in Turkey, but Greece can hold its own.
Here is a link (and a great photo) of ekmek.
I also love galaktobouriko (a orange essence custard with layers of philo dough and honey. Mmmmm.....
I want to also suggest a fantastic compilation of Greek recipes called "Culinaria: Greece." You can buy it from Amazon.com. Gently used copies are very reasonable. The photographs are amazing also!
No recipe for ekmek in here, but it has just about everything else.