I am no longer husbandless!! I no longer get a weird look when I am asked reason for travel, say “anniversary trip” and they look around for my other half.
The dear husband had been through the trials and tribulations of international travel that seem to always happen to him. So, he unpacked, we caught each other up on life (he has already been gone from home for 3 weeks for work), he rested. The afternoon had to be a relaxing one, with food at the top of the priorities. The rest would be determined by the percent chance of his face-planting as the afternoon progressed.
So we made our way in the direction of a square in Plaka with some outdoor eating. We wound up choosing Diogenes (ΤΑΒΕΡΝΑ ΔΙΟΓΕΕΝΗΣ), which has a large, umbrella-ed, sidewalk café overlooking the Choragic Monument of Lysicrates, and at a crossroads of several of the main streets. But don’t let the words “main streets” fool you, there’s not a road in Plaka with more than 3cm to spare on either side of the single file cars that could come through!
Sidenote: I found the pictures I had taken of Choragic Monument of Lysicrates! They were in an unexpected folder, but I’ve found them and can now add this in. 🙂 The monument is dedicated to Lysicrates of Kikyna, the choregos, whose chorus won the top prize in 334BC. As the choregos, he was basically the producer, or wealthy patron of the chorus. So, kudos to him – we all still know his chorus was tops, over 2300 years later! The tables you can see under the trees to the left of the monument are Diogenes.
Back to what I was saying…
Being our first real meal out together in Athens, we had shun the few items on the menu that seemed more tourist-ized…. So Scott went for Chicken Souvlaki, while I chose Stifado, a traditional Greek stew. Scott’s was good, but nothing really original or exciting. We knew that Souvlaki basically means “meat on a stick” and it was. Chicken on a stick. Which isn’t a bad thing! While Scott has gotten far more adventurous in his eating with all the eastern countries he has worked in (with the co-workers who take a special joy in watching this food-suspicious American trying ever more odd foods), at heart he is a meat and potatoes man who finds great comfort in foods he can readily identify. And the veggies were tender-crisp and quite yummy. My Stifado was quite tasty, and we both enjoyed it. Large pieces of beef, vegetables, and risotto in a tomato stew. It was Greek comfort food, and really filled you up.
But not too much to skip dessert because, who are we kidding – that was happening! Scott went decadent with a chocolate ganache filled chocolate cake with vanilla gelato and chocolate sauce – it’s a little hard to go wrong there. While I had to have Baklava. I had been fantasizing about baklava in Athens since we started planning the trip, and it was worth it. Yum-eee. It was one of those things where you take a bite, and then just sit there with it in your mouth, with your eyes closed, savoring it. Really light, sweet, crispy, nuttygooey. Excellent.
While the food was very good and the location nice, the service was kind of… adequate. He brought us menus, returned for the order, brought us food, got our dessert order, brought us the check. There was no chatting, or recommending. It was just the facts, sir. We didn’t really care, we were happy where we were. But I wondered if we were keeping him from somewhere else he really wanted to be.
One quirk that could be major to some people, are the cats. There are a lot of stray cats throughout Athens. There are dogs, too, but we saw far more cats. So much so, that I bought a little watercolor painting of a cat as a memory of Athens. They really are everywhere. Including wandering through the outdoor cafes, hoping for some food to fall. We like cats, so I, of course, took some pictures of them, and we watched them. But once in a while you also get a whiff of them. Mmmm…. Cat urine. Goes great with Stifado!
That part wasn’t so pleasant, but it was a quickly passing thing. And quite honestly, you are going to run into this at almost every outdoor eating establishment in Athens. Just learn to roll with it, you’ll have a better time.
Until next time…
For a handy traveler’s map of our favorite stops in Plaka, see our post: Map of Top Things to Do