L and I departed Naxos to Athens for our last day before heading back to Calgary. I love Naxos, but I also enjoyed my time in Athens. The mix of different architectural styles amongst ancient ruins creates an incredible backdrop to explore. For this post, let’s listen to Billy Joel’s “Longest Time.”
We checked into our hotel and then walked around the neighbourhood. I noticed several permanently closed stores with Asian names. The buildings themselves looked old and historic, reminding me a little of Hastings Street in the downtown eastside of Vancouver. We grabbed a gyro and cold glass of beer for lunch, then ducked back into our hotel to cool off. It felt like such a shame to stay in our hotel room due to the overbearing heat.
I looked up restaurants in Athens, and one in particular stood out – Atlantikos. I almost exploded with unbridled delight when I found out we were within walking distance of this seafood restaurant. I told L I had to eat here.
Psiri is an offbeat, bohemian neighbourhood. We enjoyed walking around, admiring the quaint-looking streets. L picked a place for a pint of beer and a glass of wine for me. Then, after the evening cooled down, we made our way over to Atlantikos. Located in an alley, customers lined up to the busy restaurant all night. Oh my Cod, the food here is my idea of perfection. The seafood is fresh, simple and inexpensive.
We shared a Greek Salad (€6.50), Fried Calamari (€7.50), Mussels Saganaki (€6), and Grilled Shrimp (€11). The salad was huge. The feta was creamy and smooth. I noticed the tomatoes were bright red and juicy.
I just learned that calamari is a type of squid, and the “calamari” I’ve always eaten before is squid. The difference in texture is calamari is thinner, and there’s a delightful bulb-like air bubble that makes for satisfying munching.
The mussels were tasty morsels – fat and fresh. Perfectly cooked – each mussel was soft and hot. I would use the crusty pieces of bread to mop up the rich, tomatoey sauce.
The meat in the shrimp was delicately crunchy, sweet and juicy. The shrimp shells were so blisteringly hot that I burnt the tips of my impatient fingers.
I told L that one day, we have to return to Greece. I would go back to Naxos and Athens in a heartbeat as they are both on the top of my list of favourite places to visit.