As a modern-day pastomageireio – a tavern and deli conveniently located in one building – Ta Karamanlidika tou Fani is a feast of colours and smells offering the best of Greek cheese and cold cuts. Fresh deli cuts are featured in flavourful dishes with seasonings from Asia Minor. Tables are set inside a renovated neoclassical building and in a narrow alley behind it.
… So you finished your historic tour, or shopping around #Athens and you want to spend your afternoon eating, drinking and enjoying all…
Take a journey back to #Byzantium and taste #authentic #meze at “Ta Karamanlidika tou Fani”
Housed in a neoclassical house at Psirri, near the square of Omonoia this place is a secret gem. A combination of deli and meze house it satisfies all your senses.
How to spend an afternoon downtown Athens
· without sightseeing ·
Syntagma and Omonoia are the main squares of Athens. When we talk about downtown Athens we mean these two squares and the area around them. They are the core of Athens city center. So you finished your historic tour, or shopping around Athens and you want to spend your afternoon eating, drinking and enjoying all the hidden gems of this city. In this post you will find one of the many itineraries you can choose to satisfy your senses. Enjoy!
Take a journey back to Byzantium and taste authentic meze at “Ta Karamanlidika tou Fani”
One cannot think well, love well, sleep well, if one has not dined well
Housed in a neoclassical house at Psirri, near the square of Omonoia this place is a secret gem. A combination of deli and meze house it satisfies all your senses. Keep in mind is a place for meat lovers! Must try the sausages. Besides the historic dishes (you will need some help with the menu but they are more than willing to help), you can enjoy varieties of Greek wine, tsipouro and ouzo. When you find yourself in downtown Athens this must be your choice.
There could never be a better time to visit Greece, according to travel blogger Natalie Roos. Here’s why.
In October 2014 I set off to Athens with a single item of business on my itinerary: Eat. And that’s exactly what I did.
Over the course of five days I ate my way through the city, pausing only briefly for a few hours to visit the National Archaeological Museum or climb the Acropolis before getting back to the business of savoring every mouthful of this delicious city.
On my first night in the city, he took me to a small restaurant called Ta Karamanlidika tou Fani (which I have still never been able to say out loud), which serves the most incredible Turkish-Greek fusion food. It was clear by the fascination on the faces of the owner and waiters that they do not often receive tourists.
Andreas ordered plate after plate of warm vine leaves stuffed with rice, pan-fried eggs with potato, sausage and spices and potatoes fried with chilly and dill. We washed it down with a couple of bottles of what was to become my favorite local beer, Fix. I still think of it as one of the best meals I’ve ever had.
I reached out to Andreas to ask him a few questions about the current situation in Greece. “From my point of view, the worst is the feeling of uncertainty in society – a bit of fear and a bad mood. But still, the funny thing is that you will still see so many people outside drinking, flirting and talking, Greeks are happy people!”, he says.
When I asked whether he thought now would be a good time to visit Greece, he replied:
“Of course! I think visiting Athens and getting to know this unique city and her people is one of the best way to help Athens, one of the most interesting countries in Europe. Greece is Europe.
Don’t forget traveling is one of the best ways to invest your money in yourself! Now is a really good time because we have huge discount period. That’s a travel tip for our friends in South Africa.”
Make sure to walk the city. There is so much amazing street art to see and getting lost is half the fun.
*Karamanlidika’s neo-classical premises- Image by Why Athens
Regional cooking is back in fashion and one Athenian ‘mezetzidiko’ transports us back to the culinary delights of ancient Anatolia.
The native people of Karaman and Cappadocia in Central Anatolia spoke and wrote in Turkish using the Greek alphabet but were Orthodox Christians. They became known as the Karamanlides who were forced to leave their homeland along with 1.5 million other Anatolian Greeks, as part of the immigration exchange between Greece and Turkey in 1923.
Today, Ta Karamanlidika tou Fani is a charcuterie and ‘mezetzidiko’ that honours their heritage, creating an Athenian modern day version of what was known as a “pastomageirio” or a “tavern of salted goods” that flourished in Byzantine times. An eclectic, uncomplicated meze menu has been assembled by Stella Spanou, a chef and cookbook author from Thrace, who provides a sensory journey to the East.
*Freshly cut Pastrima- Image by Karamanlidika
The Karamanlides and Cappadocian Greeks brought with them many specialist trades including curing and drying meat based on ancient traditions dating back to Byzantium. Many Karamanlides had become artisans of Pastirma or “Pastourmas” in Greek, that refers to a method of curing and drying meat after layering with a fragrant paste of cumin, fenugreek, garlic and hot paprika. The result is beautifully preserved meat that is full of flavour and is surprisingly soft and delicate on the palette.
The varieties of pastirma and other dried meats found at this Athenian mezetzidiko, are combined with organic, fresh local ingredients that has captivated both locals and visitors to Athens. Owner Fanis Theodoropoulos’ vision was very much about supporting Greek producers. “It’s about quality over quantity and keeping prices honest”, he said. “These Greek products are as good as anything you will find though out the rest of Europe.”
A grocery area stocks a curated selection of Greek products from small-scale producers including, cornelian cherry jam and liqueur, dried figs, Greek honey and the award winning olive oils from Laconia.
*Owner Fanis Theodoropoulos- Image by Why Athens
Fanis is no stranger to the local food trade, being the second generation in his family to run a small over the counter charcuterie across the road called Arapian, that was established in the 1920’s and run by his father through out the 1960’s, it became famous for their pastourma and soutzouki (dried sausage).
The idea to open Ta Karamanlidika he tells me, “came from customers who wanted a place to sit, enjoy a drink and taste the various delicacies,” he said. The seed was planted and very soon put into motion when a vacant 1870’s building opposite his shop became available.
*Kavourmas beef with potatoes & peppers- Image by Why Athens
A restoration of the building began and a partnership was established between Fanis and Paraskevas Sarimpoyias, owner of Sary, a renowned Greek producer of Pastirma and other cold meats and who is a descendant of a Karamanli family. Sary adopts the traditional methods and recipes from Anatolia at their production facility in Drama, in the North of Greece.
The synergy has created a winning formula that has re-engaged locals with their culinary roots, something that thankfully seems to be a growing trend in Athens. Many ‘neo-tavernas’ are focusing on Greek regional cooking such as Cretan cuisine and embracing the top-notch Greek ingredients being harvested and produced around the country.
Karamanlidika’s menu provides a telling story of political and religious conquests, blurred borders and of a group of people who had to adapt to survive. One dish on the menu captures the idea of East meets West perfectly; “Sachanaki Karamanlidiko with pastirma from the Karamanlides and ‘suduc’ from the Constantinople tradition with eggs and tomato.”
*Saganaki Karamanlidiko with Pastirma- Image by Why Athens
The kitchen is a buzz everyday under the watchful eye of kitchen manager Maria Maliarou. Fresh organic and sustainably produced ingredients are paired with the highest quality artisanal meats to produce unique, mouth watering flavours.
I hope to visit Cappadocia one day soon, to get a better sense of its indigenous people and history, but in the meantime I will return to Ta Karamanlidika tou Fani, pour myself a glass of Tsipouro from Naousa and allow my senses to embark on a culinary journey back in time where the pastomageirio taverns once thrived and the pastirma was just as good.
This post originally featured in Whyathens.com
Ta Karamanlidika tou Fani, 52 Evripidou (Corner of Socratous) Athens T. +30 210 3254 184
Mon – Sat 12:00pm -11:00pm. Bookings recommended.
Anastasia is Editor-in-Chief of whyathens.com, an online magazine focusing solely on the city of Athens and the Attica region in Greece. Born in Sydney, Australia, both her parents come from the beautiful island of Rhodes. Her affiliation and love of Greece has always been strong and she is now permanently based in Athens, researching and experiencing all things Athenian. She is now also Greek City Times’ Athens contributor
“Ta Karamanlidika tou Fani”, brings you the traditional tastes of Byzantium & Kappadokia, right on your table.
At Karamanlidika fromagerie, you may buy from our carefully selected collection of aged Greek Cheese.
At Karamanlidika charcuterie, you may taste the awarded “Sary” Cold Cuts of our own production.
At Karamanlidika grocery, you can select from a variety of exceptional gourmet, PDO and PGA Food products of independent, small-scale Greek producers.
At Karamanlidika restaurant, our Menu includes aperitifs, salads, cheese & ham varieties, cold & hot dishes and sweet.
Fish lovers will enjoy the Greek cured or smoked fish of high quality, such as anchovies, sardine, eel, trout, salmon and sturgeon. Specialties include traditionally cured, seasoned and aged ham, pastirma, sujuk, prosciutto, sausages, pastrami, PDO & aged cheese and extra-fine olive oil.
Εγγραφείτε συνδρομητής στο Blog «Τα Καραμανλίδικα του Φάνη». Θα λαμβάνετε τις αναρτήσεις μας (και μόνο), ομαδοποιημένες, σε newsletter, στο email σας. Επιπλέον, οι συνδρομητές μας έχουν έγκαιρη ενημέρωση για τις εκδηλώσεις και τους διαγωνισμούς μας, τις προωθητικές και διαφημιστικές μας ενέργειες, για νέες υπηρεσίες και προϊόντα που προσφέρουμε, για γαστρονομικά αφιερώματα.