Although I am not originally Greek, Greece has been my home for the past 22 years, thus I have inherited certain traditions and habits over these years. One of the habits that I am certainly proud of is the love for authentic Greek food. Having travelled quite a bit and having the experience of savouring various international cuisines, there is definitely no doubt in my mind about the uniqueness of the Greek traditional food. First and foremost is the quality of the Greek food, the simplicity of combining healthy ingredients, and the variety of simple dishes that just have that perfect taste without the need of adding numerous spices.
There is no need for complications, and this is the base of Greek cooking. Fresh, quality and generous quantities. You will find it quite common that Greeks use plenty of olive oil, lemon and oregano in many of their dishes and the reason is that the taste is already there, so why spoil it. So now that I have convinced you about my love for Greek cuisine let’s get to the bottom of today’s discussion, or better yet let me recommend you a place where you can try authentic Greek cuisine.
Greek cuisine is not only about the souvlaki and the Greek salad, which you can find plenty of on any corner while travelling in Greece. There are generations of grandmothers and mothers who used to spend endless hours in the kitchen preparing a feast for the whole family. These are the women who made sure that you ate well, and often. If you find yourself in a restaurant, pay attention to the quantity of food and variety of dishes that a Greek parea “company” will order. In most cases you will see a table full of food and this is the Greek traditional way of eating. You must have plenty of choice on your table.
A place I have grown very fond of is Manas Kouzina Kouzina located in Agia Eirini square on Aiolou street. Since I spend a lot of time downtown and a lot of my meetings are either over coffee or lunch, this place is like dining in your own kitchen. The restaurant is built on two levels, on the first level which is the entrance area you will find tables both inside and outside as well as the open plan kitchen with a food display of all the wonderful traditional dishes prepared based on the recipes of older generations, the mothers and the grandmothers I mentioned earlier. A staircase leads to the second floor where you will find more tables, to make yourself feel right at home. This place was introduced to me by my friend and business partner Marissa, a fellow travel blogger who also enjoys quality Greek cuisine thus this place has become our meeting point where we enjoy our lunch, brainstorm and make decisions.
Occasionally we will have a glass of wine or two, which makes the whole experience even merrier. During my last visit to Manas Kouzina Kouzina I went for sausage or loukaniko as it is called in Greek with rice. To tell you the truth the portions are so generous that one plate is more than enough, of course if you want to eat like a Greek, then go ahead and place your order. The more the better, right?!
Address: Aiolou 27 str, Athens
Tel.: 210 3252335