Friday, July 23, 2010

Psaras Fish Taverna: Athens, Greece

Our guide, Makis, recommended we have dinner at Psaras in the Plaka district, fairly close to our hotel.
He said it was a place the locals ate at. He took us by in the taxi and showed us where it was and we were able to locate it later that evening, after asking several people for directions and walking up and down a couple of wrong streets. An on-line check of shows that Matt Barrett, rates it as his favorite restaurant in the Plaka. Psaras dates back to 1898. He had this to say: "Who cared if the waiters were rude and got mad at you if you didn't order enough, or spilled hot fish oil on my friend's expensive dresses not one but two times. What was the big deal if every time we ate there the bill was padded with stuff we didn't order and never received? Even after my friends and I, one at a time, declared we would never eat there again, we always came back, because the food was great,...because it was on the steps of the Plaka far from any cars, it was like being on an island. They could insult us, not recognize us after hundreds of visits, ruin our clothes, rip us off and laugh at us when we left, and we did not care." Wow, what a recommendation!  

Judy and I were actually not real enamored with it for some of the reasons spelled out by Matt Barrett. It took a long time for them to take our order, a long time for them to bring us our food, we ordered something we didn't get (which I no longer recall) and our bill was really expensive. I couldn't really read it well so we may very well have been charged for something we didn't get. It was crowded, but we were at an outside table by ourselves (we were sitting where the picture was taken from).
The food was decent, but nothing I'd long to go back for. I think we must have ordered the wrong things. Makis told us he loved grilled octopus in olive oil. When we saw octopus on the menu we had to try it. The octopus was really good for octopus.
It was not rubbery, but it was not a flavor sparkler either. It was as good as any octopus I've ever had, but relative to other things I really like, would be way down on the list.  I got a lamb shank and it came in a nice sauce.
It had a very nice presentation but it was a little bland, especially surprising because lamb is usually so flavorful. It also came with zucchini. We'd had zucchini for lunch and it was good, but I'd had enough and left much of it on my plate. It was highly cooked and soft and, again, not particularly spicy or flavorful. Judy got a kabob and it was okay. The potatoes were good.
It was overcooked for my taste, but I find most kabobs are. We left Psaras a little disappointed after the big build-up by Makis. The best food of the night was reserved for a small geloto stand near our hotel. We got some hazelnut geloto
as we went back to our hotel, and it tasted so good, we went back and got some more when we went back out later to view the Acropolis at night.

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