After a full day of sightseeing with aching feet, I stumbled upon a charming neoclassical building located at the foot of the Acropolis that advertised it housed a taverna. It was perfect, I thought, since I was starving and the restaurant, Daphne's, looked like the perfect place for my solo dinner. I wandered down a picturesque narrow alley and was greeted by a friendly maître d’ who asked if I wanted to dine outside or inside. Before I decided, I took a quick look at my options. The decision was not an easy one because the taverna was stunning.
Once I was seated outside I opened the menu and on the front page on the right hand corner was a list of royalty, heads of state, diplomats, business tycoons, famous actors and fashion designers who had dined at Daphne. Queen Sofia of Spain, Valerie Giscard d'Estaing former President of France, Hillary Rodham Clinton, the former First Lady of the United States, businessman and former Mayor of New York City, Michael Bloomberg, fashion designers Jean Paul Gaultier and Vivienne Westwood, and actors Meryl Streep, Angelina Jolie and Nicolas Cage were a few of the well-known names found on the menu. From this celebrity list I knew I was in for a memorable dining experience.
Tavernas are a Greek cultural institution. Long evening dinners enjoying classical Greek and Mediterranean food paired with local wine are the highlight of many people's day. Taverna meals are also an important tourist attraction. Classical Greek cuisine is both delicious and healthy. Many foodies travel to Greece just to experience its cuisine. Plenty of fish dishes, domestic and wild meat selections, delectable deserts such as yogurt and rose petal pudding and of course the always yummy Greek salads are examples of what you will be served at a taverna. Red and white wine varietals such as Agiorgitiko and Athiri are perfect compliments to a Mediterranean meal. A loaf of bread or a flatbread accompany every meal which is usually paired with some type of olive paste spread.
It took me a while to decide what I wanted to eat because I was distracted by my beautiful surroundings. The lighting and feel of this taverna was so wonderful. Some of the specialties on Daphne's menu were Prawn Sagnaki, Chicken a la Creme, Lamb Friccasse and Rabbit Stew with a sweet wine sauce. Various appetizers of squid, shrimp or octopus-- traditional favorites-- were offered. Also, not to be overlooked was the Greek staple, Moussaka. Being a fan of lamb I selected the lamb dish that was prepared with an egg lemon sauce that was priced at $21.50. In addition, I ordered a classic Greek salad, something I never tire of, and a glass of local white wine. Total cost of the meal was $40.00. For an hour and a half I savored my meal, enjoyed the flavorful Greek wine, wrote in my journal and outlined my itinerary for the next day.
Unfortunately, my solo dinner at this popular celebrity food destination had to end. I left Daphne's happy and refreshed thinking I had just savored a meal I would never forget. If and when you are in Athens, definitely visit Daphne's for its unique charm and tasty cuisine. Conveniently located at Lisikratous 4 in the historic Plaka district, it’s easy to find. Dining hours are from noon till midnight. Whether you sit outside in the various vine covered patios or inside surrounded by Greek fresco painted walls reminiscent of those found in Pompeii, you will never forget this special taverna.
In most of my blog posts I like to share YouTube videos of topics because they are a great way to understand the culture I am presenting. Unfortunately, Daphne's does not have a video so I have decided to include one highlighting a more traditional Greek taverna and it's food for your enjoyment.