Food in Athens (an ever-expanding food and restaurant guide)

In case you haven't noticed, this past Sunday I uploaded a new section titled "Food in Athens" (see tab above). That's where you will be able to find a brief description of the food scene in Greece, and Athens in particular, a list (continuously expanding and updated) of restaurants in various Athens neighborhoods and a map of the restaurants presented in AthensWalker. 
Kali orexi! (Bon Appetit!)

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My restaurant presentation policy

I'm in the middle of a restaurant presentation spree (many more to come during the summer months) and I thought it was about time I let you know how I approach this... delicate issue. In other words, here's my policy for writing restaurant reviews / presentations in the AthensWalker blog:

How do I decide to write about a restaurant?
  • First of all, I have to like it and to believe that it offers some value to foreign visitors. Writing negative presentations would certainly be much more fun... (I'm keeping notes on those too) but this would only end up being grey advertising  and add useless clutter to the blog.
  • All the restaurants mentioned here have been visited at least twice by me (with wife and friends, etc.) unless otherwise mentioned. The only exceptions being a handful of very expensive places I can't afford to visit often.
  • I also ask the opinions of people I trust and whose tastes are similar to mine. I scour the web, Greek newspapers and travel guides for clues and ideas, but I never ever copy or plagiarize their material. That would just be sleazy and unethical!
  • I prefer to focus on restaurants that have been around for quite some time. Not only are they tried and tested but they are also more likely to still be in business a few years down the road. On top of that, I time my different visits to the same restaurant so that there's a sufficient time span between them.
  • I understand the need to focus on restaurants in or near city center but I also want to make you travel further out (in Athens or its suburbs) and try some places that are worth your time.

What about my relations with restaurants and food joints?
  • First of all, they have to abide to the criteria above.
  • All my reviews are first-hand and unbiased. 
  • So far, I've never asked for compensation for reviewing a restaurant. If I change my mind and policy I will make sure to clearly state it.
  • I've never told anyone, even afterwards, that I will be writing about them, with a couple of exceptions that clearly state it. The main reason being I don't like being bugged when I'm eating! That is the reason you will rarely find pictures from inside a restaurant, or only basic ones (hastily taken with a cell-phone). I'm toying with the idea of changing policy, since some nice photos certainly add a lot to a blog post, but I don't want to compromise the blog's integrity. I might just try to be sneakier with the camera :)
If you have a blog / site doing restaurant reviews how do you approach the issue? If you're simply here looking for a nice restaurant in Athens, would you mind if I changed something in the policy above? Either way, I'd appreciate it if you let me know of your views and opinions.

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Peynirli Ionias - A Greek style fast-food / pizza place

Following my walk along Alexandras Avenue in April (part 1, part 2), I'll be presenting some interesting food spots, all near Alexandras and the Ambelokipi area. The first one is an inconspicuous, little place that offers a unique variety of Greek snack food and should be as much of interest to foreign visitors as it is to Greeks. It is called Peynirli  (pronounced pain-eer-leeIonias (of Ionia). Peynirli is a Turkish word for "with cheese" and it refers to a turkish-style pizza that Greeks from Asia Minor (a.k.a. Ionia) have brought to current Greece when they came here in 1922 (remember the post on Alexandras' refugee houses...?). So, I paid them a visit, my hands tied with a camera, and they were kind enough to let me take some pictures while going about their daily business.

Totaly inconspicuous from the outside: Peynirli Ionias at 3 Panormou St.
Peynirli Ionias
Address – Area: 3 Panormou St., [Ambelokipi neighborhood], Athens
Tel: 210-64.62.854
Cuisine: Greek / oriental snack food / bakery
Methods of payment: cash
Working hours: Mon-Sat 9:00-16:00
Accessibility: 2 stairs to enter.

Presentation / Ambience: You enter and join the small queue. As you wait you can take a peak at the pizzas, peynirlis, etc. which are placed in large baking pans in front of you, continuously being refilled with more stuff coming out of the non-stop working oven. 
Waiting in line

Wall painting of a bakery - in the folk Greek art tradition
You pick what you'd like to have and sometimes it's reheated in the oven for you, for a couple of minutes. There are no tables here as this is basically a take-out joint but there’s a small wooden bench to the right, where you can have your food standing, especially the messier types that risk staining your hands and clothes. At the top of the wall, above the oven, you can see a wall painting reminiscent of Peynirli's origins.

Preparation phase...

Toppings and more...

Small pizzas to the right, peynirlis to the left...

...and some more...

Right into the oven!

There you are!

...and some plain pieces of dough
Food / snacks: The peynirli – a boat-shaped dough, made on the premises starting each morning – is filled with various toppings (kasseri cheese, bacon, green peppers, ham, onions, mushrooms, etc) and is the main product sold here. Sometimes Greeks buy just the dough and take it home to make their own pizzas, or as bread. There are also many other shapes of dough that come with different fillings or toppings: a doughy bun filled with sausage, mustard and tomato sauce; small sandwich–type buns filled with grilled vegetables and feta cheese, in various combinations; small pizzas of the typical, round-shaped type which contain less bread than the peynirli (ask to have it cut in 4 slices). Finally, there’s ladopita: a simple baked bread, topped with oil, oregano and salt. Very tasty, easy to eat while walking and costing just 1Euro. Overall, prices range from 1 to 3Euros.
The boat-shaped peynirlis are placed in baking pans in front of you

Sandwich shaped buns, filled with feta cheese and grilled vegetables

Ladopita: The simplest "pie" possible: Baked dough with  oil, salt and oregano.

Service: What you’d expect from a fast-food place. Fast and simple.

Location / Getting there: Panormou St. is vertical to Alexandras Ave. and Peynirli is located just 20metres off the corner with Alexandras; on your left hand side as you walk up. Also, just 50metres from Ambelokipi Metro Station.
See map of Athens restaurants and eateriss at the bottom of this page.

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