Cracking the Code of Greek Traditions
In the heart of bustling Athens, there’s still some space left for authentic Greek Traditions at a slow pace, and for incredibly tasty food. You only need to crack the code, and once you do, it might become an addiction.
Mana’s Kouzina-Kouzina has a name that, on its own, is already very much of a promise. Being Mana, the Greek word for “mother”, that part is easy: It’s “Mom’s kitchen” (kouzina=kitchen… I know you know!). So, why twice? You might still be wondering. Well, because authentic home-made food, as endangered species, needs protection (as in Caretta-caretta or Gorilla-gorilla). Mana’s Kouzina-Kouzina comes to the rescue, and it does so in a superb manner.
A cozy atmosphere together with a well-thought, inviting decoration welcome you to enjoy a tasty journey through Greece. Products are seasonal and come from all the corners of the country. Dishes portray regional specialties (because… yes, they also look beautiful. But don’t get confused, it’s not microscopic beautiful, this is still mom’s kitchen: they are abundantly beautiful!), so if you have a special love for something tried on the islands, you will probably find it at Mana’s.
A Taste of Greek
Of course, it would have been much easier to claim respect for traditions while pouring a glass of a famous American cola to go with your moussaka. At Mana’s they’ve also thought of that, and here’s is the added value of what’s really authentic. Your drinks will be Greek too, and there is plenty of choice: local soft drinks, beers from Greek microbreweries, and wines coming from small wineries. Even your coffee will be arriving from a local producer in Sparta!
I was lucky to be offered a taste of their Summer menu. They offered a selection of incredible dishes, all of them with a funny characteristic in common: duplicity. One one hand, the choice of ingredients left no space to doubt, authenticity and tradition were present; yet on the other, they all had a smart modern touch of uniqueness. This being, for me, the key to success in Mana’s Kouzina-Kouzina, they enhance the past without being stuck in tradition, tastes evolve and they know how to walk on this lane. Now, I’m not very picky about food, but I turn into one very picky person when mom’s food is the one to be judged. Well… let me put it clear for you, everything I tried was absolutely inviting.
Mana’s Summer Menu
Their Summer Menu reads delicious, and it tasted even better. Among Mana’s Summer dishes you will find:
Mushrooms Bougiourdi Mushrooms sautéed with Feta cheese, sheep cheese, red peppers and mushroom truffle. This dish says “mom” from any angle you’re looking at it, and it’s fantastic. The sauce is divine and the mushrooms combine like Heaven with the cheese.
Grilled Graviera Cheese Served with a wild rose marmalade. This is a delicious side dish, probably one of the most amazing dishes I’ve ever tried. The salty, savoury taste of cheese is softened by the delicate fragrance of the marmalade. I adored this one.
Pastistada Slow-Baked Rooster with Handmade Greek Pasta: This fragrant and hearty meat and pasta dish hails from Corfu island. Their special version uses handmade pasta from Chios island. Another excellent choice, the meat was cooked in such a way as to produce what I’d call perfection.
Herring Dip This herring dip has a strong delicious bite, the perfect complement with the Greek liquors, ouzo or tsipouro. Worried because you don’t like fish that much..? Try it all the same, it’s excellent!
A word on Salads
I am not a Salad freak, I must admit I consider them boring in most restaurants and I normally avoid them. Mana’s Kouzina-Kouzina is a whole different story when it comes to salads. Their choice is terrific! I’ve tried three of them (and that might as well be considered a World record for me!), and it was hard to tell which was best. They are all fresh, creative and Oh-so-tasty! All salads were different in taste which comes as a nice surprise if you are not into veggies that much!
Mediterranean Salad Green salad with carob rusks from Crete, fresh tomatoes, cucumber, onion, basil, spearmint and topped with crumbled Feta. A fresh decision for Summer, a great salad if you are running around Athens and do not have much time, grab this dish with a bottle of white beer and you will be good to go.
Mana’s Tuna Salad Tuna, tomato, sweet chili and caramelized onion on a bed of creamy fava (yellow split pea purée from Santorini). I’ve tried fava in Santorini, well… this was ten times better or more. I adored the combination of flavors, colors and fragrances on this dish, it’s one of my favorite ones at Mana’s Kouzina-Kouzina.
Greek Salad à la Manas Cherry tomatoes, red peppers, onions, caper leaves, olives, Feta cheese mousse and olive oil rusk bread. This is a great dish to have as a starter but it is also perfect on its own too.
Out of their wide choice of local beers I tried three different varieties. I preferred one, but the three of them were excellent, with a unique flavor and fragrant as well.
This is a beer produced in Thessaloniki. Light in alcohol content and bitterness, this amber-colored beer from Thessaloniki is very aromatic with citrus notes. It is unfiltered and unpasteurized. A great match with soft cheeses.
Ingredients: malt barley, hops, yeast. Type: India pale ale. Alcohol: 5 %
Chios Smoked Porter
My favorite. This one comes from Chios island. This black colored beer with a full, thick and creamy head has aromas of coffee, dark chocolate, roasted malts. Medium lacing, good retention and light acidity.
Ingredients: barley malt, hops, yeast. Type: smoked, porter, unpasteurized. Alcohol: 6.2 %
Odyssey White Rhapsody
A superb white from Atalanti. This golden colored beer is topped with nice white foam. Defined by its aromas of fruit, herbs, straw and some light and spicy notes. Average body with gentle carbonation. Great match with olive oil and lemon based dishes, seafood and light salads.
Ingredients: barley malt, wheat, hops, coriander, bitter orange. Type: wheat. Alcohol: 5 %
End in the best possible way
Sweets in Greece are much more than fresh Greek yogurt with honey and Loukoumades. No matter how wonderful these two might be, you shouldn’t leave Mana’s Kouzina-Kouzina without trying some of their desserts. There’s a choice for everyone, fruit, syrups, chocolate and Grandma’s cakes!
Now, do not wait any longer, if Athens is part of your Summer plans, do yourself a very Greek favor, and taste the tradition at Mana’s Kouzina-Kouzina… you know, mom never lets you down!
Experience authentic Greek gastronomy…
Breakfast buffet: 8:00 – 11:00 Greek traditional breakfast/open buffet. €9 adults, €7 children.
Lunch: 12:00 – 19:00 Cafeteria style, slow-cooked magirefta, traditional Greek dishes from all over Greece and the islands.
Dinner: 19:30 – 23:30 An à la carte menu of seasonal meze, Greek tapas dishes, made from recipes from different areas of Greece.
Plateia Agia Irini/St. Irene Square – Monastiraki 105 51
210-325-2335 / 210-323-5593 – firstname.lastname@example.org
Each and every product in the restaurant, from pasta to beverages to wines, is proudly produced in Greece. Mana’s Kouzina-Kouzina supports and works with small and medium local producers.
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