{Santorini, Greece} Zafora – Lunch with premium spice & an impeccable view

Lucky us — we had the time to pay a visit to Santorini after everything was settled at Athens!

Let’s talk about Zafora, our first lunch destination at Fira! It sits on the hillside, right next to the cable car station and along the pedestrian that’s packed with tourists at all times. Needless to say, from the photos above you can see that its unobstructed view is absolutely picturesque.

Santorinian Salad; Zafora, Santorini, Greece

Santorinian Salad (EUR$9.5) was fresh, with local, seasonal products like cherry tomatoes, feta cheese, black olives, sliced onion, green pepper and kritamos (note: the pickled leaves and stems). It’s slightly too “local” and it didn’t exactly suit my taste, but I deny not its extreme freshness.

"Zafora" Lamb with White Eggplant, Feta Cheese & Safran; Zafora, Santorini, Greece

Ordered next was “Zafora” Lamb with White Eggplant, Feta Cheese & Safran (EUR$13.5) because it seemed to us a signature dish. Cutting down to the meat was juicy, lean and tender. The highlight though, lied on the use of local spice saffron that contributed to the distinct taste and aroma of the dish.

You might ask what saffron, the world’s most expensive spice by weight, actually tastes like. To me, there’s a hint of bitterness and sweetness, a combination that’s entirely new to my palate. But of course, I can’t tell if this is the real taste of it, so do many other gourmands on the internet (yup, I Googled).

Gyros; Zafora, Santorini, Greece

Coming last was Gyros (EUR$11). Eating warm pita bread and grilled pork with tzatziki, a cold, creamy-textured dressing made of strained yogurt and cucumber (that kinda stuck to the roof of my mouth…) was strange but comforting and addicting at the same time! I guess the chef had intentionally over-seasoned the meat since there was the tzatziki to tone everything down.

Tasty food paired with an impressive view, what more can I ask for?

Oh wait — there’s one thing. The only regret was that the restaurant manager’s quick change of attitude as we asked for the check, while he kept saying “tips, tips, tips” (well yes, he did vocalise it…) but what we paid did not meet his expectation. After all, this might be one of the most common downsides that one can come across when dining in touristic parts of a city.

Zafora
84700 Thira, Kikladhes, Greece
T. +30 22 8062 3203

– Judith

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{Athens, Greece} Nikitas, classic downtown eatery

Another afternoon in Athens, we exited at Monastiraki metro station craving for somewhere nice for traditional Greek food. We tried our luck, walked into a random cafe where a friendly female staff then wrote us this note, telling us another dining spot would better cater to our needs.

After many twist and turns (and guesses – because none of us read Greek), we arrived at Nikitas that is located right next to an old church.

Tomato Salad; Nikitas

We ordered bread (EUR$0.5) to go with Spicy Feta Cheese Dip (EUR$3), amazingly fresh, rich and cheesy to go with the bread. The only issue is that it’s not easily spreadable, so that we needed to eat in rather big chunks.

We ordered Tomato Salad(EUR$2.8), with tomatoes, cucumber, onion, capsicum, olives and of course the large piece of feta cheese that sat on top. You can tell from the photo how delightfully clean and fresh it felt against my palate. But at the same moment, we thought to ourselves that we could have skipped the cheese dip…

Soutzoukakia; Nikitas

Moving on to the classic main dishes, we had Soutzoukakia (~EUR$5.5-6.5), juicy, richly seasoned meatballs with a delicate texture cooked in a fragrant tomato sauce that’s at the right thickness. No wonder tomatoes are one of the ingredients that would first come to our minds whenever we talk about “Greek food”.

Moussaka; Nikitas, Athens, Greece

Moussaka (EUR$6.5) that came last was layers of spicy eggplants and minced meat topped with fingerlickingly good béchamel sauce. If you are a Hong Konger like me, you will find it very similar to a casserole dish except this was in the form of a cube. Delicious and deeply satisfying.

I insist trying the traditional cuisine of whichever country I visit as a way of learning its culture, and I’m totally impressed by this friendly home-cooked meal that came at a fair price. This is literally one of the best dining spots in downtown Athens that’s off the tourist map (and trap)!

Nikitas
Agion Anargiron 19, Athina, Greece
T. +30 21 0325 2591

– Judith

{Athens, Greece} does Pulitzer deserve a prize?

As said in a blog post earlier, I was sent to Greece earlier for a business trip.

To give you all an idea (and do a little promo!), as an advertising agency’s copywriter / social media specialist, I’m given the chance to handle by far the most highlighted project — Nanjing 2014 Youth Olympic Games (August 16 – 28). It’s made for young athletes aged between 14 and 18, with a focus on fun and enjoyment rather than winning awards. Of course, they still play like pros, and the Games of high caliber also began with a Flame Lighting Ceremony at Athens!
(“Like” to support! https://www.facebook.com/nanjing2014)

Alright, let’s talk about food, starting with Pulitzer. This was not our first meal there but our first Greek meal, and was one of the countless impromtu decisions made since we never had the time to plan ahead. If you ask why we were there for dinner on the second night, proximity to the hotel was the answer.

The menu of “New Greek Cuisine” begins with a quote from Pulitzer Prize-winning Ernest Hemingway, and from within we picked three dishes to share –

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Roasted Tomatoes and Peppers Stuffed with Rice (EUR$8):
The bright, exotic colours and flavours woke up our senses (let’s say, at HK time 4:45am while our brains have stopped functioning). I loved the very “Greek” taste but only so-so for the texture while the rice was more like Thai rice than Italian risotto. The dish was moist in a nice way at first, but it gradually turned soggy. Big potato wedges at the sides were well-seasoned.

Pulitzer Trilogy Selection of Meat with chicken, pork, sausage, multi-colored peppers, onion, porto wine, fresh herbs and meat sauce; Pulitzer, Athens, Greece

Pulitzer Trilogy Selection of Meat with chicken, pork, sausage, multi-colored peppers, onion, porto wine, fresh herbs and meat sauce (EUR$8):
We ordered this because its name started with “Pulitzer” as if it’s a signature dish. The presentation of the Trilogy Selection of Meat dish was however nothing like a fine, elegant literature piece that comes in three parts – quite unappetizing at first sight.

Its extreme richness (as reflected by its colour) shares resemblance with Chinkiang Sweet and Vinegary Spareribs, giving me a sudden crave for a comforting bowl of plain steamed rice.

Milanese risotto with chicken and Parmesan; Pulitzer, Athens, Greece

Milanese risotto with chicken and Parmesan (EUR$9.5):
I’d have given this a pass if I had a time travel machine. There was no all’onda texture (aka. wavy flow), biting down the risotto grains felt sloppy and overcooked, and the taste of the sauce was far from fragrant. The cheese that sat on top was bland.

To recall, it is a restaurant & bar that boasts a chic, modern ambiance. Worth a (re)visit, but be sure to skip risotto dishes.

Pulitzer
5 Ventiri Street, Athens
T. +30 21 0722 2232

– Judith