Who doesn’t like Italian food? Seriously, find me one person in this world. And while you’re busy trying to do so, let me take you on a short gastronomical journey in one of the most Italian(ish) restaurants outside Italy. La Gratella.
Located in the area of Chalandri, a booming neighborhood of Athens that has gradually shifted focus over the last 3 years. Fashionable cafés and restaurants open one after the other and they have made the area the place to be during winter.
La Gratella’s home is a rustic, artistic and friendly space with wood beamed ceilings. The thoughtful decorative details including a vintage lime fridge and the cozy parlor synthesize a very unique and welcoming Italian experience.
The young Chef, Fotaggelos Pantazis, makes it hard to narrow it down to few favorites because he makes everything dangerously delicious and you can’t do wrong, no matter what you choose. But these are the dishes I’m slightly addicted to.
Antipasti: Portobello Parmigiano all the way. Soft portobello mushrooms filled with a creamy parmesan sauce. The moment it “hits” your palate, the party begins.
Insalate: Insalata di valeriana. A colorful salad, full of vitamins and interesting twists. Baby spinach & Valeriana leaves, quinoa, baked ricotta, cherry tomatoes and fig vinaigrette. Interesting, no?
Pizze: Parmense. The meal I would ask for if I was ever sentenced to death. Wait, what? Went too far!! But I’m not to blame. You see, it’s a simple Margherita but the moment it leaves the oven, they top it with thin slices of prosciutto, fresh rucola and parmesan flakes and they also bring you 3 types of olive oil to coat it.
Pasta: Pappardelle alla norcina con tartufo e porcini. The moment you see the dish coming, you feel excited. And every bite is so interesting, it makes you actually think of your food and not rush it. A very interesting plate indeed.
Pasta Fresca Ripiena: Tortellacci gigantic neri di gamberi e pesce. The presentation of this dish could be found in a Michelin-starred restaurant but in a way smaller portion and much higher price. So double the win. Inked pasta filled with shrimp and fish. Nom-nom.
Risotti: Asparagi e prosciutto is what you should ask for. The obvious (asparagus and prosciutto slices), grated parmesan and a “scent” of lemon sauce.
Secondi Terra E Mare: Tagliata di manzo Paillard if you want meat or Salmone alla griglia if you’d rather have fish. Dishes with “clean” taste without excess sauces that cover up the quality of what you eat. Both very well presented and exceptional choices.
Dolci: I saved the best for last: Tiramisu Semifreddo. You’ll revise any opinion you ever had for this sweet. It’s like nothing you’ve ever tried before. Fotaggelo’s version has caramel, coffee and the consistency of ice-cream. It’s actually better than what I had in Italy if I may say (don’t hate me Italians, try it first!).
All the above and much more come to a reasonable 17€ per person.