Athens: slow paced living and meze at Thessalos
There's only a few real places in Athens that can complement delicious meze dishes with a proper cosy backdrop. Thessalos is definitely one of them with a great vibe from its past and the many that have passed by and feasted, despite its service that can sometimes be sketchy.
As I enter the almost ran down old-house-turned-meze-restaurant just off the busy Achilleos street, I'm immediately taken by the warmth of this place. It's filled with Greek artefacts and memorabilia, as well as photographs on the walls showcasing the good times this place has witnessed. It's Saturday afternoon just after 4pm and the place still looks relaxed with many tables waiting to welcome patrons. The menu is simple, hand-written and to the point. At Thessalos they don't really beat around the bush with fancy words and much more than the actual substance of it.
Along come the first few dishes and you can immediately tell by the taste of the starters that the chefs here know what they're doing. Good ol' traditional ntolmadakia (rice-stuffed vine leaves), a spiced up mpougiournti (melted cheese and tomato combo) and some biologically-made raki to wash everything down with from the monastery of Toplou in Crete.
The music in the background is smooth and mixes with the louder and louder voices of the crowd as Thessalos gets more busy by the hour. A few more tasty dishes later, we confirm the quality of the cooking here with some amazing sauteed greens and some funky pork sausage bites from nearby villages. Everything we pick is perfect!
It's been a few hours now and the place is really busy, hence the service levels go down. It's not that bad since we're still working on that raki from Crete enjoying every minute of this homey atmosphere. At times, Thessalos also hosts music nights especially when it's summer and the place gets buzzing both inside and out... in the small pedestrian alley.
Good times and good food. This is what this place is really about.