Upon the recommendation of our friend Lazaros, we dined in Chef Argyro Barbarigou’s kitchen at “Papadakis” in Kolonaki. Chef Argyro is well known for her television performances, magazine articles and cookbooks. Though we didn’t get to meet in person, we felt and appreciated her handiwork all through our memorable meal.
Situated high in the hills near elegant shops and homes of Kolonaki, the restaurant is at once sophisticated and refined. With white linen cloths, sleek dinnerware and an abundance of fresh blooms, our expectation of a good meal was happily matched by the fine quality of the food and exceptional service.
Presentation of the food was outstanding, with fish soup poured into broad-rimmed bowls from silver carafes. Argyro’s salad was divine, with warm sweet-roasted peppers, aubergine, onion and courgette topped with a mound of creamy cheese. To our surpise, when our starters were cleared the chef shared four portions of specialties for us to enjoy. We sampled marinated shrimp with hot chiles, smoked aubergine in olive oil, octopus in a sweet wine and honey sauce over crispy potatoes, and marvelous smoky chickpeas. Though the menu was Greek, the mixture of varying Mediterranean influences in the cooking proved to be both unexpected and refreshing.
Of course, after this bounty of delectable food, we would have been perfectly satisifed – but the main courses were still on the way! Generous portions of wild mushroom risotto with shaved parmesan, orzo with langoustines and risotto with squid followed – all of which were prepared and seasoned on point.
For dessert, the chef surprised us again by sharing a decadent chocolate confection, a fluffy cheesecake with candied orange and a refreshing mandarin orange sorbet. Again, this course was a perfect demonstration of quality ingredients combined with superb technique.
To finish our meal with a digestif, a platter was delivered to the table with slender shot glasses, a bottle of a Chios liqueur called Masticha, and a signature blend of fresh strawberries, sugar and vodka.
If you have a chance to visit this amazing restaurant, please do. Make reservations in advance (through a Greek friend, if you can). Be prepared to enjoy a leisurely meal in elegant surroundings.
15 Fokilidou and Voukourestiou Sts.