The name, from ancient Greek, means “libations.” Established 1996, in a beautiful neoclassic mansion, it was the first restaurant in Greece to receive 2 Michelin stars, under Arnaud Bignon in 2008. The current chef, Angelos Lantos, worked for Bignon for many years before taking over. (Mr. Bignon has just returned to Greece after six-years at The Greenhouse in London, to captain The Trestelis Group’s elite stable of eateries which includes Hytra and Spondi.) In a small courtyard and on a terrace you can dine al fresco nearly year-round. The main dining room, with stonewalls and moody lighting, almost has a medieval feel such as you may find at a Chateau in rural France. The staff is gracious, professional, and a real pleasure to deal with. Good Cretan olive oil and an assortment of hot buns baked in the kitchen arrive immediately.
Our menu began with a small soufflé crab cake enhanced with parsnip, acacia honey, taragon and passion fruit. We had it with an Arcadian Moschofilero from the Semeli vineyard, a fruity, vibrant white. Next came a grouper mousse in an onion and wild herb broth. Then Jerusalem Artichoke in clove butter broth with black truffle, with which we had a 2014 Argioritiko, also from Semeli. Both wines are Greek varieties, with the red being full-bodied, with herb and oak aromas.
The fresh pan-fried goose liver with rhubarb, caramelized pistachios, cranberries and herb emulsion went well with another Agioritiko, this time from Skouras vineyards. We had asked for Greek wines only, in this, Athen’s foremost French restaurant, and didn’t regret it. The signature dish here is a langoustine tartare with grapefruit and a celery coulis.
There is wild Turbot, Scallops, Duck from Challens, milk-fed lamb (basically a lamb that hasn’t majored to grass yet), and other top French products, flown in fresh, cooked and presented with a sure hand and well-worth the 2 stars. The deserts are inspired, the cheese cart can hold its own with any top establishment in Paris. It’s easy to forget you’re in Athens, at Spondi, and a lot of well-off Athenians, I suspect, come here for that.