Saturday, August 4, 2012

Veranda Cafe, Plaka

We'd had a hard day walking around Plaka and visiting the Acropolis Museum on one of the hottest days we'd experienced during our six days in Athens. It reached 38 degrees that day, we were hot and bothered and were in need of a quiet place to relax for dinner, away from the noise and activity of the main strip of Plaka tavernas.

It's quite surreal wondering around the back laneways of Plaka where, unexpectedly, imposing ancient ruins have been left standing within metres of the streets. There are broken pieces of columns and bits of statues literally lying on the footpaths at your feet. The sun was low and the light was warm on the marble remnants. It was an etherial atmosphere and the perfect backdrop for the taverna we discovered in this quieter part of Plaka. Veranda Cafe has a direct view to the Acropolis from one side, and overlooks the ancient site of the Adrianou Library on the other.

With bright green chairs arranged over an elevated platform of bluestone pavers, it actually felt like we were on a veranda. We sat for a while with a couple of beers just to unwind and take in the atmosphere. It was still quite warm and there was no wind. The beer was going down very well.

The bread came out served with a small bowl of black olive paste. It was rich and salty and went well with the fresh crusty bread. We took a look at the menu and were amused to see their translation of "horta" (which is just a bowl of steamed spinach served with olive oil and lemon wedges) was translated as "green stuff". You might think they were just trying to be deliberately funny, but nothing else on the menu was in the same tongue-in-cheek tone. I'd say their translator was playing a joke on them.

So we ordered the green stuff, Tony ordered the grilled chicken and I the stuffed tomato and pepper. The green stuff was nice and refreshing, but our other dishes were a little on the dry side. My stuffed veggies were probably made a couple of days ago and reheated, very dry and crusty on top, and Tony's chicken was overcooked and the chips were bordering on soggy. The Greeks don't do good chips. Lovely baked potatoes, but pretty bad chips.

Unfortunate food aside, we were very fortunate to have our very own pet cat for the evening. An extremely affectionate little black cat was smooching and purring around our table. This one mastered the "I love people" tactic very well in order to be fed our scraps. Perhaps it knows about the average food here which means guaranteed feline dinner to be had at Veranda Cafe!

Along with the wonderful views and quiet surrounds, the service at Veranda Cafe was pretty good and the prices were reasonable. The food wasn't that great but all in all we had a nice, relaxing time there watching the sun set over ancient ruins.

Veranda Cafe doesn't have a website but can be found at:
4 Panos Street, Plaka
Phone: +30 210 325 0088
Rating: 6/10

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