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How to NOT to eat in tourist trap restaurants in Attica

by DryasAnne Online Now Mar 8, 2011 at 12:29 AM

I guess some of you could issue me a better title for my posting :-)

In Paris, this was no problem;
Ex. the nice china-restaurant in rue Dante, french the only language spoken at the tables, and the waiter gave me the menu in French. I had a hard time with the Dictionary on my Iphone to figure out what to eat;
Cocotte de lapin français en Gibelotte, purée "Maison" au beurre!
In Rome, this was even easier,
just walk the darkest alley by a medieval church, ex Chieas Nuevo, and you got served by a family, but I had to say "Spaghetti amatriciana" in Italian!


What about Athens?
Just as easy to find ?

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24 Answers
  • hawkhead's Profile Photo

    Re: How to NOT to eat in tourist trap restaurants in Attica

    by hawkhead Online Now Mar 8, 2011 at 12:58 AM

    All the menus we encountered in Athens had English versions, especially in the Plaka or Monastiriki areas - even in German and Spanish and French (we tried to avoid multi-lingual menus). Or else, in out of the way places, at least one person in the place could explain the menu.

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  • oriettaIT's Profile Photo

    Re: How to NOT to eat in tourist trap restaurants in Attica

    by oriettaIT Online Now Mar 8, 2011 at 1:58 AM

    yes, In Greece they usually have menu in english too and they are good to describe their food. I had a great experience in Athens at the Taverna The Hani read more here Athens Restaurant Tips by oriettaIT.
    The food was great, moderately priced and it is not a tourists place at all. I had the bigger and better calamaro ever there, check out my picture to see what i mean :D
    I usually avoid (but not just in Greece) restaurant with picture of the food in the windows... usually those are the worst kind ;)

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  • Re: How to NOT to eat in tourist trap restaurants in Attica

    by DryasAnne Online Now Mar 8, 2011 at 2:19 AM

    "restaurant with picture of the food in the windows... usually those are the worst kind "

    Really?

    My favourite restaurants in both Rome and Paris did not have any kind of pictures in their windows, just a small A4 papir with the menu. Required by law I guess.

    That is the super tip - No pictures - just the menu ?

    Regarding English menu, vz Italian, French, German etc.

    This trip I will not travel alone -- a friend of mine will join me, he can read the Greece menues!!
    Now I am working day and night to learn the Greece alphabet!

    Super tip 2 -- menu in Greek only, have the server to traslate if problems ?

    OK.... how do you globetrotters actually spot out the restaurant?
    In Rome in January last, I looked for a "shabby", non-glossy houses, with no outside activity such as table, chair and propane torches,
    Inside, I always got a big buon giorno followed by PREGO!

    And I dont look for them 3 star Michelin places, 24 euro in Rome always gave me a fantastic dinner consisting of starter, main, dessert and café !

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  • oriettaIT's Profile Photo

    Re: How to NOT to eat in tourist trap restaurants in Attica

    by oriettaIT Online Now Mar 8, 2011 at 3:30 AM

    about the photos tip... well this is my own experience, it usually work for me, you know locals do not need pictures to know what the food is so if a restaurant have pictures it is mostly dedicated to tourist and probably cut back on quality assuming they will not know any better :) but, i say it again, this is just my personal opinion.

    about the waiters in Greece they usually know enough English to help you out or, if they don't they will have no problem to take you to the kitchen so you can see. this is actually kind of normal for fish restaurant in Greece, you can go to the counter and pick the fish they will cook for you. it is actually part of the fun :-)
    Only tavernas in tiny rural villages usually know only greek, but the point with your finger what you want method usually work :)

    if you need help on the most common greek food name and translation there was a thread in the forum some weeks ago.. ha ha i searched and saw it was you! good for you so you know it already :DD
    happy travel!!

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  • Re: How to NOT to eat in tourist trap restaurants in Attica

    by DryasAnne Online Now Mar 8, 2011 at 6:08 AM

    I see my problem :-)

    At home -- fish and fish related food are my "only" dinners, only on special events we eat meat...

    In Europe, I only eat deepfried and very well done pig, cattle and rabbits :-)

    i am very, very afraid of eaten fish, or any seafood -- I so afraid it can be toxic --
    that I can get sick and must get to hospital :-(

    Perhaps I should do something about my fear of seafoods ?

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  • oriettaIT's Profile Photo

    Re: How to NOT to eat in tourist trap restaurants in Attica

    by oriettaIT Online Now Mar 8, 2011 at 6:14 AM

    I ate lots of fish in greece and never been sick.. perhaps i am lucky but as long as you avoid raw fish you should be okay.
    but do not worry they have lots of different meat dish too and they are really good in grilled meat! souvlakia, meat's cube on a stick grilled and served with tzatziky sauce it is a must. do not worry you wont go hungry :-)

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  • hawkhead's Profile Photo

    Re: How to NOT to eat in tourist trap restaurants in Attica

    by hawkhead Online Now Mar 8, 2011 at 6:46 AM

    There are also quite a lot of veggie dishes. Never been ill from fish or seafood.

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  • Re: How to NOT to eat in tourist trap restaurants in Attica

    by Phillyjan Online Now Mar 8, 2011 at 6:50 AM

    Anne -- I could answer this best, if you say where you're staying... I'm going to guess your hotel is in the Plaka district, the favorite of tourists... However, in my 9 Greece trips (with at least 14 Athens stays), I've had some great meals in Plaka -- and you don't have to go down a dark alley, or read Greek. NOTE: The French make a fetish of not having bilingual menus, and they pretend not to understand your college French. Forget them! All Greeks now study English from Kg on, although waiters are always appreciative when you make the effort to say a few things in Greek (more on that below).

    Re good restaurants in Plaka, first get a good MAP (print this one out in color) files6.fliiby.com/images/_or... -- then google the following
    (1) VYZANTINO or BYZANTINO -- in "Tourist Central" !! in what I call "restaurant square" a tree filled square surrounded by cafes & tavernas (find "filamousou eterias" above Lysikrates Monument). MANY "tourist traps" around, but u will notice this place often has looong tables of Greek groups; they know solid value & authentic cooking. For quiet, sit under trees by the kiosk. You can get a hearty roast lamb or roast chicken plate, share a huge Greek salad & a half-liter of house wine for about 12€ each.

    (2) TSITSIKAS kai MERMIGAS (Ant & Grasshopper) Mitropoleos st, near Syntagma squ. Plenty of greeks here. Try the Chicken Masticha and the 10-ingredient salad. €15-20 per person, average

    (3) MANI MANI - On Falirou St, below new Acrop. Museum... Food from Mani area - you can get half portions so u can try more things.

    (4) THESPIS - 18 Thespidos St... stair-stepped lane UP from "restaurant square" 12-15€ per person.

    (5) To PSARA - off Adrianou st.... over 100 yrs old; v. traditional; yes tourists too, but not a "trap" many of my athens friends go there. Some nights, bouzouki & lyra music.

    (6) PALIO TETRADIO - 26 Mniskleous St... it runs off Metropoleos St. just west of Metropolis (Cathedral) Square... small, has many "mezedes" (small side plates instead of main courses) that Athenians love.

    (7) O THANASSIS -- Just off Monastiraki Square -- Greek "fast food" -- souvlaki or gryo +salad + wine = €8! Many souvlaki Places compete around here (but watch your wallets.. jr. pickpockets also prowl).

    All these are places where my friends in Greece eat and recommend. BTW, you can learn a lot about Greek food by looking at pictures on this website http://www.greecefoods.com/ ... and this page gives phonetic pronunciation of many menu items greecefoods.com/restaurants/... — even if you can say "water" or "red wine" in Greek, waitstaff will notice.

    Final "grazing" tips -- ARISTON (google it) is a take-way shop for good cheap "pies"... and don't miss the best "street food" -- "Koulouri"... sesame covered crunchy bread circles... better than soft pretzels!

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  • Re: How to NOT to eat in tourist trap restaurants in Attica

    by Phillyjan Online Now Mar 8, 2011 at 7:01 AM

    Anne, while I was typing my looong answer, you responded about your problems. It sounds as if you have MANY food fears and phobias, and that you are a somewhat fearful person in general! You need to know that Greece does not have a lot of processed foods -- they cook from FRESH foods mainly. AND because it was always a poor country, many of its dishes are vegetables only.... tomatoes and peppers and eggplant stuffe with rice and onions etc etc. Do you have fears about Vegetables as well??? Also, most traditional Greek dishes are not cooked "rare" --- the best things are well-done, in the oven a long time, or as you say, well-done fried. So stop being so frightened, please.

    One way to get over some of your fears would be to look at those pictures in the Greece Food link I showed you. Another thing to realize is that you do not have to eat big pieces of fish in greece because in fact they are VERY expensive. Fish is still very plentiful off the coast of Norway... but the Mediterranean sea is "fished out" -- so large pieces are very expensive ... a dinner can cost 40-50 euros. If you want a cheap fried fish, look at a small plate (mezedes) of "marides" deep-fried... these are like small sardines, fried whole.

    Here is another website with photos of dinner plates. A lot of "fast food" but good. You can print out pictures of things you might like. flickr.com/photos/36264706@N...

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  • Re: How to NOT to eat in tourist trap restaurants in Attica

    by DryasAnne Online Now Mar 8, 2011 at 10:04 AM

    "It sounds as if you have MANY food fears and phobias, and that you are a somewhat fearful person in general! You need to know that Greece does not have a lot of processed foods"

    I do - indeed!!


    I want so very much to taste all this lovely fresh made food. I want to get rid of my food fobia!

    I have the imagination that this is due to my kidney transplantation in 2007, the doctors told me to be careful about food I ate and never eat grapefruit "as this will kill you"...

    Someone should take my hand and pushed me into an greek seafood restaurant, and had me to eat some octopussy, scallops, shrimps, oysters etc etc...

    My friend is just as phobia, I want get any help from him.

    So sorrry for this "hostile" and unfriendly toned posting,
    but I badly understand I am far from a behaved person,
    in Rome I refused a friendly chef with a lovely apricot sponge for dessert,
    just give me a coffe I said (--- he got kind of "angry"...

    I so much hope to get closer to nice maners in the Taverns of Athens,
    in my youth I was very found of blue mussels ;-)



    ------------------------------
    PS
    I dont want any veggie food -- that is my only requirement. Sorry if I stepped on anyones toes on that matter.

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  • Re: How to NOT to eat in tourist trap restaurants in Attica

    by DryasAnne Online Now Mar 8, 2011 at 10:26 AM

    OOOpps, typo:


    "I dont want any veggie food -- that is my only requirement. Sorry if I stepped on anyones toes on that matter."

    Should read:

    Due to my Grapefruit issue I dont want any veggie food -- that is my only requirement. Sorry if I stepp on anyones toes on that matter.

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  • hawkhead's Profile Photo

    Re: How to NOT to eat in tourist trap restaurants in Attica

    by hawkhead Online Now Mar 8, 2011 at 11:35 AM

    i am now totally confused as to what you can and cannot eat.

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  • Re: How to NOT to eat in tourist trap restaurants in Attica

    by Phillyjan Online Now Mar 8, 2011 at 12:20 PM

    Anne, Grapefruit is not a usual menu item in Greece so don't say you can't eat vegetables due to Grapefruit.

    It would be easier for you to say what foods you ARE willing to eat. From what you have said so far

    MEAT -- you are only willing to eat: (1) Very well-done deep-fried "cattle" (in english, Beef) "pig" (in english, pork)and Rabbit. But apparently you eat these only "in Europe" that is, when you travel.

    FISH -- quote "fish and fish-related foods are my 'only' dinners" ... but later you say "I am very very afraid of eaten fish or any seafood." what in the hxxx do you mean by "eaten fish"?? Do you mean small fish that are eaten by others? And by "seafood" do you mean all non-fish sea items, such as shrimp, octopus, squid, clams, oysters... is that it???
    ------------------------
    Well, since i told you that "Fish" is very expensive in greece, that leaves vegetables and bread. But now you tell us you don't eat any vegetables!! No beans? No potatoes? No lettuce? No apples?

    I am sorry, but at this point.... I give up. You don't step on our toes -- but you do waste our time.

    We give advice to people, but we are not psychiatrists. With your problems, perhaps you should either not travel, or else seek some therapy to help you get over your irrational fears.

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  • SallyM's Profile Photo

    Re: How to NOT to eat in tourist trap restaurants in Attica

    by SallyM Online Now Mar 8, 2011 at 12:41 PM

    What about lamb? There's lots of that on Greek menus.

    As you're travelling with a friend, you can perhaps tackle your fears by sharing some plates of meze, and just sampling a little of foods that worry you, such as whitebait or calamari.

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  • Re: How to NOT to eat in tourist trap restaurants in Attica

    by DryasAnne Online Now Mar 8, 2011 at 3:27 PM

    You asked for it:

    -------------

    Jeg er altetende, lutfisk, rakfisk, blåskjell, blekksprutt, komle, epler, kål, nepe, durian, jordbær, lammerlår, akevitt, rødvin, gammelost -- alt går ned!!

    Men, så ble jeg alvorlig syk i 2007. Nyrene mine sviktet, etter kort tid i dialyse, fikk jeg heldigvis ny nyre.

    Etter transplantasjonen ble jeg satt på et strengt tablettregime.

    Jeg er altetende nå også, men pga tablettene kan jeg ikke spise grapefrukt og produkter med grapefrukt i. En av tablettene jeg må ta, har gitt med allergi for ulike matvarer, spesielt brunost og delvis tomat, jeg får eksem i munnvikene av de.

    Jeg kan altså i teorien spise alt som står på menyene i Europa. Legene oppfordrer meg til å spise som normalt. Men etter transplantasjonen har jeg nedsatt immunforsvar og dermed er jeg litt engstelig for å prøve fremmed mat. Jeg vet ikke hvordan kroppen min vil reagere på all den gode maten, blir jeg syk vil det være langt alvorligere for meg enn for "vanlige" folk...

    Det som er min største redsel er mine dårlige engelskkunnskaper. Får jeg problemer med sykdom og helse, kan det bli vanskelig å forklare, før jeg får ringt hjem til legene mine.

    Det er på den bakgrunn litt skummelt at jeg reiser alene, normalt så reiser nyretransplanterte med en eller annen form for følge, det være seg sykepleier eller kone. Jeg har jo stående invitsjon fra Sykepleier Eva, hun som hjalp meg gjennom tunge stunder på dialysen. Hun drar til Kreta hver høst med pasienter som meg...

    Men min kontakt med alle mine nye venner her på Virtual Tourist forum har gitt meg nytt håp på livet, jeg takker så meget for det, nå skal jeg tørre å smake på den greske scampi!
    -----------------
    Now you got it. Please dont ask me to translate all this :-)

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  • bbunter's Profile Photo

    Re: How to NOT to eat in tourist trap restaurants in Attica

    by bbunter Online Now Mar 8, 2011 at 4:57 PM

    Probably the lamb suggestion is a good one. In Greece the lamb is cooked in many different ways but usually as well or better than anywhere else in the world, IMO.

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  • oriettaIT's Profile Photo

    Re: How to NOT to eat in tourist trap restaurants in Attica

    by oriettaIT Online Now Mar 8, 2011 at 9:57 PM

    oh yes, in Crete Island I had a excellent lamb dish, mind I do not usually like lamb, but i do like to experience local cuisine so I had to try it at least one! it is kind of a winter dishm they stew the lamb in a small ceramic pot then they cook it in the oven with a top of little pasta until the pasta get a little crunchy and kind of seal the pot. the lamb inside cook maintaining all the flavors and is tented and delicious. The contrast between the crunchy top and the juicy meat is really good.
    I cant recall the name of the plate right now but if you are interested I will dig it out from my old notes... might be i wrote it on my Chania restaurant tips too, will have to look it up.

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  • hawkhead's Profile Photo

    Re: How to NOT to eat in tourist trap restaurants in Attica

    by hawkhead Online Now Mar 8, 2011 at 11:25 PM

    Sorry, my knowledge of Norwegian is zero, so am unable to comment on your post. However, you seem to be obtaining satisfactory help, so I leave you with good wishes for an enjoyable trip.

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  • Re: How to NOT to eat in tourist trap restaurants in Attica

    by DryasAnne Online Now Mar 9, 2011 at 5:05 AM

    "Tomatoes are prevelant - if I understand right you can't eat them; likewise with cheese."

    Jeg spiste alt det jeg hadde lyst på i Roma, og gjorde selvfølgelig en kjempetabbe siste dagen.
    Jeg bestilte meg Spaghetti pomodoro til lunsj. Det var fantastisk godt, noe av det beste jeg har fått servert ute i Europa!
    Men kroppen min synes ikke det, jeg fikk noen små utslett i munnen før jeg tok til vett og skrapte vekk tomatene ...

    ------------------

    I was just telling a story about my best lunch in Rome, Spaghetti Pomodoro, alas my illness didnt like it and I got a flash of "herpes" :-)

    Regardin cheese; I was talking about brunost, the best Norwegian cheese made, and my absolute favourite cheese, but nowadays I get a violent herpes of this brunost.

    -------------

    Thank you !
    Thank you !!
    Thank you all !!

    I have gotten so much kind help and advice in this forum on this food - topic ,
    now I feel I can really enjoy the Greek couisine with confidence!

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  • oriettaIT's Profile Photo

    Re: How to NOT to eat in tourist trap restaurants in Attica

    by oriettaIT Online Now Mar 9, 2011 at 5:10 AM

    BTW the lamb stew i was talking about before is called Yuvetsi :)
    enjoy your trip, you will have fun I am sure

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  • Re: How to NOT to eat in tourist trap restaurants in Attica

    by DryasAnne Online Now Mar 9, 2011 at 7:33 AM

    Do you mean this dinner, which is perfect for me!



    2 tblsp Vegetable oil or margarine
    1 lb Lean meat, ground
    1 Onion; minced or grated
    Salt & freshly ground pepper
    3 Whole cloves
    1 Cinnamon stick
    2 tblsp Tomato paste
    1 cups Hot water
    1 qt Stock (same flavor as meat)
    1¼ cups Kritharaki or orzo
    Parsley or watercress

    Heat the oil and mash the meat into it with a fork, then cook over moderate heat, stirring constantly until the raw color disappears. Add the onion, salt, and pepper to taste, spices, and tomato paste diluted with hot water. Cover and simmer for 20 minutes, then remove the spices. Add the hot stock and kritharaki and transfer to a buttered baking casserole. Taste and adjust seasonings.

    Bake in a moderately hot oven for 40 minutes, or until the pasta is tender and all liquid has been absorbed, stirring once. Remove from the oven. Drape with a dry kitchen towel to absorb moisture. Serve hot, garnished with parsley or watercress.

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  • hawkhead's Profile Photo

    Re: How to NOT to eat in tourist trap restaurants in Attica

    by hawkhead Online Now Mar 9, 2011 at 7:44 AM

    Thought you couldn't eat tomatoes. Anyhow, this post has gone way beyond asking for advice. We are now into the realms of Julia Child and Elizabeth David, which is not appropriate for the travel question forum. Perhaps you could continue either in the Miscellaneous forum or else in private email.

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  • oriettaIT's Profile Photo

    Re: How to NOT to eat in tourist trap restaurants in Attica

    by oriettaIT Online Now Mar 9, 2011 at 7:52 AM

    you are probably right, i thought it could be interesting because i am actually interested in foreign cooking a lot, will follow advice and use mail :)

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  • Re: How to NOT to eat in tourist trap restaurants in Attica

    by DryasAnne Online Now Mar 9, 2011 at 9:45 AM

    Ok. Pin point gotten.

    I will never ask in this forum again. I will log out and take a nap now.
    Bye bye!

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