DINING AT THE ATRIUM: A GREEK BISTROT IN ATHENS
Following my Michelin star meal at Spondi, the following day I had the pleasure of dining at The Atrium Greek bistro in the Herodion Hotel in Athens. It was actually suggested to me by a fellow blogger, Lara from Miss Portmanteau.
The Herodion Hotel is located just minutes from the famous Acropolis and is an elegant yet contemporary hotel located in the heart of Athens and features 2 restaurants. Unfortunately, the one I would have picked as first choice, Point A is not open during the winter months. The reason is simply that it’s on the roof and it would be pretty chilly! It does have one of the best and closest views of the Acropolis though! However, that’s just a reason to return and The Atrium Bistro was by no means a second choice, as you will shortly find out!
THE ATRIUM GREEK BISTROT
Just like the cosy, personal and homely feel of the hotel as you enter, The Atrium is not different. It’s situated towards the back of the lobby area and during the day time the glass windows and roof creates a bright space and during the evening the cute fairy lights provide the perfect intimate dining ambience.
There are beautiful wrought iron chandeliers above the seating area and real wild pistachio trees make this middle place between a log chalet and a conservatory, a charmingly relaxing dining venue.
The food is most definitely sophisticated and grown up and is characteristically Greek with the finest seasonal and locally sourced ingredients. You know how much I love my local produce!!
The chefs, Manolis Mavrigiannakis and Marios Pirpiridis have created a menu that takes you back to Greek classics but have ensured that it has that finesse synonymous to a fine dining establishment.
After being seated, we were offered the cocktail menu so Dr C and I thought we’d start with a cocktail to get us in the mood for what we thought on first impressions would be a great culinary evening. I had a Mojito of course, and Dr C picked the Pisco Sour. No disappointment here, my Mojito was made just like I take it, less sugar and more alcohol and I had a sip of Dr C’s Pisco Sour, which we both agreed was one of the best Pisco Sour’s we’d had outside of Peru!
Before long some delicious fresh bread accompanied by flavoursome olives and dips were brought out to us and we were handed the dinner menus as we sipped our cocktails.
Dr C and I actually decided we would skip on the starters and concentrate on mains and dessert but it seemed the Chef had different plans for us! Not a bad thing though as he had cooked for us two of the restaurants signature starters.
The first dish was the deep fried sweet and savoury sesame coated doughnuts (known as Loukoumades) with an unsalted Mayuri cheese filling, this came served as a stack held in place by a fork, smothered in totally delicious sweet and savoury sauce. They were just perfectly soft and spongy inside and so very moreish. I realise why these are a firm signature favourite.
The second appetiser was the Sea bass ceviche topped with sweet potato chips. Again this really tasty and was beautifully presented with a true Mediterranean arrangement of summer colours.
There was a short interlude before our mains arrived and the Sommelier took this opportunity to suggest some wines to go with our mains. He suggested a Greek Rose for myself and a red Greek wine for Dr C. We thought we’d try the local wines as neither of us had really experienced Greek wines before. They are beautifully flavoured in case you’re wondering and the sommelier made a fine choice, which complimented our mains perfectly.
Our main courses arrived soon after. I chose the Croaker with tomato miso and chilli mung beans. I didn’t realise that the dish would arrive with the croaker being literally pink, covered in the tomato miso. It was beautifully cooked and just flaked off the fork and the beans made a perfect accompaniment. A very interesting looking and tasting dish.
Dr C went for the pork, which was encrusted in pistachios sourced from the Aegina islands and barbecue sauce. It was served with chunky chips. Dr C confirmed the meat was cooked to perfection, which generally means medium-rare for him, and he enjoyed the unique pistachio crust coating, which married the meat perfectly.
Finally, we were thinking about what to have for dessert and before we knew it chef had decided for us and two plates of very different textures were placed in front of us.
The first was the honey pie made from Sifnos island with white chocolate and bergamot preserve. This was a unique dessert and the taste grew on me. I can’t really describe it apart from its sweet, gooey and indulgent. Well it did have some white truffle and caramel drizzled over it. It definitely had Dr C’s name written all over it!!
The second dessert and probably my favourite of the two, was called, Our Chocolate. Although a bit of a surprise, I know there was white chocolate with hints of blackberry and brown chocolate with salty caramel.
We topped off the evening with some traditional Greek coffee before heading off for a evening stroll through the neighbourhood of Plaka.
We had a really great time at The Atrium. The atmosphere was quiet and good for an intimate meal, the service was faultless and the food was exceptional. It was a real delight to actually taste traditional Greek dishes given a bit of a modern updated twist to create a fine dining experience. Would I return, oh YES but next time I think I’ll visit Athens in the summer months so I can try and dine at Point A on the roof garden with a view of the Acropolis!
Disclaimer: With the exception of our cocktails and mains, our meal was complimentary. Please be assured that all views, opinions and photography are my own as always and are therefore a copyright of be-lavie.
Tell me in the comments below if you’d bookmark this restaurant for a visit to Athens.
The Atrium Greek Bistrot
The Herodion Hotel
Rovertou Galli 4
Athens 117 42
Tel: +30 21 0923 6832
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