Aleria

Athens, Greece

After a week of traditional Greek food (which is great, btw) we thought it would be nice to see what Athens has to offer on the fine dining scene. I found out that just around the corner from our airbnb there is promising sounding place called Aleria. I made a reservation for Monday evening and the place was already quite fully booked few days before

We could not get table outside (with a stunning inner yard) but inside was almost as nice as it would have been outside. From the first minute the staff was really attentive and polite. After seating, they took orders for water (sparkling/non-sparkling). Only minus for the service was after this: it took some time for the waiters to come to ask if we would like to have some apéritifs. But it was worth the wait, the Negroni was excellent.

After that, we were presented with the menu cards. The options are limited to two; you can have one of tasting menus. The first one is called “Earth and Sea” (with fish and meat) and the other one “Garden and Nature” (vegetarian). For both of the menus you can choose either five (65€) or six course (78€) option. The selection can be different for everybody in the table, so they are flexible in that sense. Also they were really paying the attention to any possible food restrictions and allergies.

With the menu you can choose wine pairing or premium wine pairing. Both include mostly Greek wines (premium might have some from other countries as well) but the premium one is almost double the price. We went with the “basic” one (48€) which turned out to be quite good.

Then the food: starting with really nice amuse-bouche followed by excellent starters, featuring crab, beef tartar and pumpkin as main ingredients. Unfortunately the mains: “catch of the day”, being cod this time and the lamb did not impress me as much. I found the fish dish being too acidy and the meat dish having several good components but not really combining them together. Anyway, there were good but did not keep the level of the previous dishes in my opinion. Also the dessert did not change this. Except for the dessert wine, which I think was the the most interesting one of all the wines.

We were group of seven and one of us took the “Garden and Nature” menu while other ones chose “Earth and Sea” (which I commented above). The vegetarian menu got highly appraised being a real menu instead of being the same menu with meat left out. This said, there was one exception. The pumpkin soup benefited from the salty pork pieces and the extra chestnuts just could not make up for that.

So the verdict would be that while moussaka and souvlaki are great, there is room also for modern Greek cuisine, taking some elements from the old traditions.

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