Choose between the restaurant’s Signature Tasting Menu of seven dishes that are artfully paired with three different glasses of wine or order a la carte from the Parkside menu.
Always using fresh, seasonal, local ingredients, chef Manos Garnelis alters the menu five times throughout the year, always succeeding in combining delicate sophistication in both textures and appearance with real yet ethereally transportive flavours.
A-One Hundred Year History
What started as a humble ‘bakalotaverna’ (cod tavern) in 1920 run by Thanassis Vassilenas is today one of Greece’s best and oldest restaurants. When Thanassis’ son George took over the taverna after WWII the restaurant, which served a set menu of 18 delightful seafood courses, drew the likes of Winston Churchill, Maria Kallas, Manos Hatzidakis and countless other local and global personalities. The restaurant was next taken on by his son Thanassis, who moved it from Piraeus to its current location behind the Hilton Hotel in 2016 and turned it into the modern, upper-scale restaurant it is today, designed by K&K Architects, who also designed the Benaki Museum.
Type of cuisine? Modern, Seafood, Greek-Mediterranean
Type of eatery? Cosmopolitan but unpretentious, elegant designer interiors, relaxed summer garden.
The low down…This is the perfect place for any special occasion, and although Michelin-star-worthy the dishes are reasonably priced. The service is excellent and the food and wine of the highest standard.
Décor & Ambience? Contemporary and welcoming. The post-industrial yet warm interiors include a white wall of volcanic rock from Santorini, themed on the design of the Hilton’s unique architectural façade that one can see in the distance, lit wine bottles on the ceiling and a large glass cava.
Entrees? Try the surprising Cheese and Spinach Pie amuse bouche and the Sea Bream Tartar. The Slightly Poached Egg with potato mousse, summer truffle and apaki ham is the ultimate comfort food.
Mains? Don’t miss out on the Grilled Squid with split pea purée, sweet-and-sour saltwort greens, cuttlefish ink, “sujuk” dry spicy sausage and the Grilled Seabass with pan-fried greens, Greek salad, grilled beetroot pureé.
Something to drink? With around 150 Greek and international wine labels and a super-skilled and accommodating Sommelier, there’s nothing to worry about.
Price range? The Tasting Menu is 39 € per head or 49 € with the inclusion of wine. Overall individual dishes range between 9-25 € each.
Chef says: “I’ve remained loyal to Vassilenas’ culinary values, but my role is to also listen to our clientele and follow their evolving tastes. The most important thing for me is to offer real flavours to people, so they can recognise what they are eating and savour each taste. At home, I’m not a chef! My wife does the cooking. I’ve taught her a lot and she’s become quite excellent!”
FYI: Vassilenas periodically organises wine tasting events that include a menu of bites paired with the wines.
Location: Vrasisa 13, Athens (close to Hilton)