14 Jul2008

Dinner with a View…

by Marketman

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A rooftop terrace. A sunset view of the Acropolis. A snazzy menu of “modern Greek” food. It was definitely a recipe for a large check. But the view made for a memorable, once-in-a-lifetime kind of experience… The Electra Restaurant on the 5th floor of the Electra Palace Hotel in Athens has a stunning view of the Acropolis and it serves a fairly upscale menu by a highly regarded chef (although the restaurant itself is star-less). We sat down to drinks in the early evening in the waning light, which soon turned into an incredibly deep, sapphire blue backdrop, as the powerful lights were switched on to illuminate the Acropolis…

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The large terrace, with simply dressed tables and comfortable chairs, was empty when we arrived at 7:30pm or so, hence the ability to snap some photos of the view. The restaurant filled up a half hour later and I was too embarrassed to keep taking snapshots!

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After a nearly unacceptable 15 minute wait to get a menu and some water, we were offered a selection of freshly baked and wonderfully fragrant breads, some with sun-dried tomatoes, others with olives, and still others with grains and spices. The bread was very good…

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…and the herbed olive oil that arrived with the bread was equally good. A few black olives and the salt quotient was rapidly rising, but the starters served to quell any complaints we might have made about the so far, appalling service levels.

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We were all served a complimentary vichyssoise or potato (not sure there was much leek in it) soup with a beef spring roll and potato gaufrette. The cold soup was nothing to jump up and down about, but still a nice way to prepare for our main courses.

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The Kid ordered Shrimp with Spaghetti flavored with vanilla bean which seemed like an unusual combination though it was rather interesting on the palate. Vanilla and seafood is a pairing I have not come across before, and frankly, will probably not come across too often in future. I think this would rate a rough 7.5-8.0 on the MM scale…

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Mrs. MM ordered sea bass with orzo and bottarga (pressed fish roe) that was just superb. Perfectly cooked fish served with that Greek pasta that looks like rice grains and punctuated with thin slices of rather briney bottarga. A 9.0-9.5 on the MM scale…

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I ordered Braised Lamb Shanks served with potatoes and served with zucchini wrapped in phyllo dough. This was very good and perhaps a 8.5 on the MM scale.

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But I think the main purpose of this meal was not the meal, but the view. If you assigned 50% of the rather steep price of dinner to “buying the view,” then the meal seemed quite reasonable, after all! But the part that had all three of us nearly rolling on the terrace floor in uncontrollable giggles? A menu that was poorly translated and when we scanned the desserts list, The Kid could not resist and had to order the “LICE CREAM TRILOGY.” A trio of ice (not lice) creams including vanilla, hazelnut and rosewater. Dinner for 3, approximately US$180.

 

COMMENTS:

  1. chrisb says:

    Yikes, lice cream! That must be the most unappetizing typo on a menu.

    Jul 14, 2008 | 11:00 pm

     
  2. Apicio says:

    A view of the Acropolis just as they are turning on the lights, why I would have been grateful for the slow service or even lack thereof. Electrifying! Though I would have likewise gotten a real charge out of the kid’s two prawns and spaghetti.

    Jul 14, 2008 | 11:42 pm

     
  3. Pauline says:

    Absolutely stunning view!! Really makes me want to plan a trip to Greece!

    Jul 15, 2008 | 12:14 am

     
  4. Kaykat says:

    Damn, we almost went to this restaurant when we were in Athens a few years ago. I *love* that view in your first pic!

    Guess I’ll just have to go again :)

    Jul 15, 2008 | 2:31 am

     
  5. witsandnuts says:

    The sea bass with orzo and bottarga is very interesting. Prior to reading your narrative, I hardly figured out that those grains-like pieces are actually pasta. =) The view in the first photo is superb!

    Jul 15, 2008 | 2:55 am

     
  6. toping says:

    Wow—I’ve never seen sky that color before… But stunning!

    Jul 15, 2008 | 4:10 am

     
  7. sonianer says:

    thanks, thanks MM for taking us with you on your greek adventure.
    keep it up! i am thoroughly enthralled by your travel
    accounts.

    Jul 15, 2008 | 4:54 am

     
  8. Glecy says:

    Orzo is one of my favorite. Easy to prepare and versatile.Pair it with grilled salmon, peas and asparagus.
    The view is spectacular, I,m taking notes, since I plan to visit this place in 2 years.Thanks for all the info

    Jul 15, 2008 | 4:58 am

     
  9. Cecile J says:

    Beautiful pictures! The food servings look so scant. I probably would not get busog eating there. :( Lao na with “lice cream” for dessert!

    Jul 15, 2008 | 4:31 pm

     
  10. peachy says:

    i just stumbled onto your website and am quiet pleased with what i have read so far, this entry included.

    the view stirs the soul. the food though lacks some visual creativity. but your mouth-watering description of each entree truly makes your readers salivate for that pasta, orzo and braised lamb shanks.

    looking forward to ordering that “lice cream”….

    Jul 15, 2008 | 6:08 pm

     
  11. zena says:

    the 1st picture is just gorgeous. Looks photoshopped even if i know it wasn’t. The colors are unreal.

    Jul 15, 2008 | 6:13 pm

     
  12. Marketman says:

    zena, you are correct, not altered or photoshopped at all. just cropped to remove some noise on the edges of the photos. And better yet, we experienced 3-4 nights with this kind of deep rich blue sky at dusk during our week long stay in Athens…

    Jul 15, 2008 | 6:18 pm

     
  13. Gini says:

    what a difference in the day and night pictures. Awesome. My dream with a view…ahhh…beautiful…food for the soul. Thanks for sharing.

    Jul 16, 2008 | 8:56 am

     
  14. Queen B says:

    Indeed! stunning! specially the first picture.

    Jul 16, 2008 | 9:05 am

     
  15. caryn says:

    love the night landscape ;-) reminds me of istanbul, mibnus all those turrets

    Jul 16, 2008 | 11:05 am

     
 

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