Sunday, March 26, 2017

Travel: Ambrosia...the food of the Gods in Athens

A Fine Dining and Wine Experience in Athens

When I planned our recent trip to Athens, I asked my hubby one question: "Is there something special you want to see or do there?"

We hadn't had a chance to properly celebrate his birthday back in Toronto, so I thought I'd try to plan something while we were travelling. Plus- having been there before, I thought it only made sense to see what was on his Athens bucket list.

He replied that he would love to eat or have a drink somewhere with a view of the Parthenon.
(I like the way he thinks!)

It sounded like an amazing idea and so I started my research. 

I was surprised to learn that there are quite a few places where you can dine with an acropolis view. The place that appealed to me the most however, was the Grande Bretagne Roof Garden Restaurant

You should dine here if you're looking for:

  • an unbelievable view 
  • outdoor seating
  • upscale fine dining with an elegant atmosphere
  • beautifully plated dishes made with fresh, local ingredients

GB Roof Garden Restaurant

The restaurant is an open terrace on the rooftop of the Hotel Grande Bretagne where we were staying.

As we had just arrived that same day, this was our first glimpse of the glory of Athens. 
We were so lucky to be seated right at the edge of the terrace, directly in front of us was the unobstructed view of the Acropolis. It was stunning!

My husband and I were in total awe of the sight in front of us as we sat down. 

We were greeted by the Head Chef, Asterios Koustoudis, Executive Chef, Asterios Koustoudis and the Head Sommelier, Evangelos Psofidis.

We decided to go ahead with the Chef's Tasting menu with suggested wine pairings and our minds were subsequently blown.

Evangelos suggested we start with some cocktails as the GB Roof Garden Bar serves some of the best in the city. It's an open air bar with a spectacular view.

If you can't dine here, definitely consider stopping by for a drink - the combinations are truly special and these are some of the most delicious (and beautiful) cocktails I've ever tasted.

(I tried an incredible combination of pear, gin, prosecco, soda and rosemary simple syrup)

It's also important to note, if you are a wine drinker - for three years in a row, the restaurant has been awarded by Wine Spectator Magazine.

Just chatting with Head Sommelier Evangelos Psofidis, we could see why! He's so knowledgable about the Greek wine region as well as international grape varieties. We learned so much from him and he made our dining experience that much more enjoyable.

Also, value add: We felt we got a Greek wine tasting lesson and a beautiful meal in one place.

The Menu

The food served at the restaurant is "New Mediterranean" and the chefs pride themselves on the fresh ingredients prepared with their slow-cooking methods. The result is super fresh, local food with incredible flavour.

We tried a few things but some standout dishes were seared tandoori scallops with pea puree, coconut milk and lemongrass, fresh grilled local calamari with oregano and lemon as well as the saffron risotto with octopus, eggplant chips and aged balsamic.

We also had their delicious lamb cutlets with stuffed potato, parsley sauce and smoked peppers. Everything is plated so uniquely with presentation and taste at the forefront.

For dessert, we tried their house made macarons (these were to die for!) and a light and airy choux pastry with homemade hazelnut praline, praline cream and caramelized hazelnuts.

Note: If you're not staying or dining here, I would still suggest popping into the lobby gift shop to try their macarons - honestly, they were amazing!

When in Greece, Ouzo is a must after dinner

Each course was more delicious than the last and we were in heaven with our senses in overdrive. Just imagine: an incredible view and some of the most flavourful food....I was on cloud nine!

You can join us for this incredible experience and watch the sun set behind the Acropolis in my vlog below.

All that being said, if you're looking for an inexpensive, quick meal - this is probably not the place for you.

The GB Roof Garden is best enjoyed on a special occasion and when you have some time to relax and enjoy the experience. If you can't stay too long or you're on a tighter budget, I'd suggest having a cocktail or mocktail at the Roof Garden Bar instead so that you don't miss this special spot.

Once in a lifetime kind of moment

It was truly a dream to dine in front of the ancient Parthenon. I still can't believe we were lucky enough to experience this magical moment.

Dining at the GB Roof Garden Restaurant was undoubtedly our most memorable food experience of 2016. From their gorgeous plating, to the incredible food, knowledgeable staff and that majestic view - I'd highly recommend dining here for a once in a lifetime type of meal and experience.

If you are planning a trip to Athens, make sure you check out this post on 24 hours in Athens. If you want to read about our experience staying at the Hotel Grande Bretagne you can read the article here. Bon Voyage!

Thanks so much to the Hotel Grande Bretagne and the GB Roof Garden Restaurant for partnering on this post. As always, all views and opinions are my own.

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