Thursday night at Tsiftis, this neo-taverna concept launched around summer 2022 on a pedestrian street at Ilisia. It’s my second time here and the tomato salad still doesn’t cease to amaze. Ditto for their rooster pasta, topped with grated cheese.
The chatter with the young and friendly staff doesn’t stop as we get to meet the characters of the restaurant: Fotis and Giorgos, two brothers from Petroupoli aged 30 and 18, that are cheerful, attentive and fun. What more to expect from a new place than great service and a couple of killer dishes? Ok, maybe a bit more on the interior front. But as Athens enjoys more than 350 days of sunshine a year, we’re hardly going to be sitting indoors anytime soon.
One of the owners kindly tends to our table to check if everything is well, as we happen to have switched tables two times already. Yes, we’re weird like that. But when we finally settle for a perfect table by the wall outside, we dig into the immaculate tomato salad, served in a jus with nectarine jam, anevato cheese and wild fresh oregano – what an awesome treat! On the flipside, the roof fish carpaccio and the beef tartare don’t come anywhere close to that.
As the night takes its course and more patrons get to flock in (there are actually zero tables available by 21:30 so book ahead), we’re served with the main dishes all of which are very very good. The beef ribs are not only a rare find but also succulent and chewy; the seafood linguine are very delicate and fresh and the rooster traditional pasta is a killer!
On the second bottle of wine, we’re tempted to go for dessert when the funky waiter comes and offers one on the house. Regardless, we order yet another one so that we can try both of them on menu. And we’re so damn right at doing as such!
The chocolate one is a whisked cream of Valhrona chocolate 70% with pasteli and hazelnut, served with a scoop of fior di latte ice cream. A-ma-zing! Especially when you get to the sour cherries that are nicely hidden as a surprise! But the namelaka one is equally delicious, this with Valhrona white chocolate, mascarpone, pear compote and cinnamon! What an amazing finish to a balmy night at Tsiftis.