Athens: When tradition and real meat beats Michelin stars
Jokes aside, this meat joint in Athens, Greece, is really good.
Set in a hideaway location in one of the northeast suburbs of Athens, Kantza, and a balmy elevated courtyard, Kritikos restaurant makes for an idyllic night out especially if you're a meat lover. The menu is dead simple with some signature entrées (enter traditional sausage, fried zucchini and eggplant and cheese pastries), salads and meat.
My first time there was on a Tsiknopempti, Greece's traditionally "meat Thursday" prior to the arrival of Lent, the fasting season leading up to Orthodox Easter. Luckily we got there early, graciously avoiding the crowds and making sure we'd get a taste of their signature traditional sausage (which also usually runs out on weekends - thank you).
A peaceful, neighbourhood-like environment, a lovely, unfussy hall and handmade Cretan embroidery on the walls revealed what was about to come. A dead simple menu, an army of attentive waiters and a restaurant with a mission about great food.
Run as a family business, Kritikos has been around for more than 50 years. Their meat is carefully sourced from around the country -veal from Komotini and small farms around Attica and lamb from Vonitsa and Mytilene– and is masterfully grilled by Nikos Dogiakis, one of the two brothers and owners.
As for the meat available... T-bone and rib-eye steaks medium cooked to perfection, “rack” veal spare ribs that melt in the mouth and lamb chops divine as heaven.