When Basil and I have errands to run in the “business” district, we’ve taken to making sure we do them around lunch time. This gives us, as two work at home freelancers, the chance to have a “business lunch”, much like the ones our office working Athenian friends enjoy on a a more regular basis.
A visit to a traditional Greek “mageremeno” restaurant, someplace where several prepared specials are available, (as opposed to having something cooked to order) and change on a daily basis, is usually a throw of the dice. You’ll more often than not find something you like on the menu (you can usually see everything, in the steam table near the kitchen or proudly displayed at the front of the restaurant). What we love about Mageirevontas ti Mesogeio is that every morning they EMAIL the specials to us. Talk about effective marketing … the email always seems to arrive just before noon — by Greek standards that’s hours before lunch time, but for my American stomach that’s just about the time I get hungry. Needless to say, I’ve found countless reasons to visit my lawyer and my accountant, both located just a few blocks from Mageirontas ti Mesogeio. (Although you don’t need a reason like that, and it is also conveniently located near the Numismatic Museum, the Athens Academy, and just about everything else in “central” Athens).
The restaurant itself deserves a comment or two: it’s clean and simple, a “modern” taverna, as the Greek food critics would call it, but it is actually typically Scandinavian according to my friends who have been to Sweden. This makes sense since Christian Kipouros, the chef-owner hails from there, but the food is, for the most part, decidedly Greek (with a few interpretations).
When you arrive at Mageirontas tis Mesogeio you’ll most likely be greeted by the smiling face of Daisy. She’s been there almost since they opened, and she’s always happy to tell you about the menu, usually pointing to the day of the week poster on the wall as she walks you through the specials. You can also ask for an English menu – which will include the day’s specials and the regular menu items (though as of the fall 2009 they’ve been making some changes, so the on the wall posters may not yet be up to date).
On a recent visit we sampled a variety of items, some from the daily menu and some which are served everyday.
Moroccan Tas Kebab
I would normally not be ordering “french fries” in a place with some many other wonderful selections, but at our friend Kostas’ and Daisy’s urging we tried them, and we are now true addicts. I cannot bring myself to call them Chef’s Fried Potatoes, as the Greek would translate to, so I’ve taken to referring to them as Chef’s Seasoned Scandinavian Spuds.
Just one quick note about these amazing potatoes – sometimes a chef has to live, cook and create with what’s available, and if, on a particular day, Christian has received “large” potatoes, skip the amazing spuds – we had them on another visit and they just weren’t worth the calories.