We saved a special day to try this restaurant that we read about in a blog on Koufonissi. But the "writer", who considered Atairiasti as one of the best in the Cyclades, was from a Northern European country not particularly known for its food. Stupid me who trusted such a guy on such a sensitive subject. Cooking is an art, or at least a tasteful artisanal pleasure, and I got very nervous when my high expectations fail so miserably.
Since that morning I had seen urchins all over the bottom of the sea, when I read that among the specials they had spaghetti with sea urchins, I thought it was a sign from above. Ok, my first mistake... I should have remembered that I was not in the South of Italy, the only place on earth where they can cook that and create a work of art. You can have saw urchins also in Japan and Korea, but of course not with spaghetti.
I asked the owner if I could have my spaghetti “al dente”. He said it was not possible since we cannot have that in Greece, but however their spaghetti were far better than the Greek average quality. My second mistake: I should have said “no thanks then”, but I still believed in the signs from above, despite the price was quite expensive.
As an appetizer, we ordered fried shrimps. Large portion, not that bad, but really full of oil. The first rule for a good restaurant says: fried fish? Drain well! However.
Where we were still in the middle of it when the waiter came up with two dishes of spaghetti! I was speechless for that incredible lack of… everything. In regard to my complaint the waiter proposed to put them back and wait until we had finished with the shrimps. The same spaghetti. Never heard such a thing in my life.
So we decided to give up the shrimps since the spaghetti must be eaten when they’re still warm. Well, more than a deception it was a disgrace. They were clearly precooked and rewarmed, tasteless, full of oil (again). The sea urchin pulp, generally so soft and tasty, was reduced into some half-burnt hard scales. Another client, noticing our terrified looks, suggested they had probably used sea urchin pulp in jar or can. Strange solution for a restaurant in an island.
Of course we couldn’t finished it, and the when we complained to the owner, he gave us the most science fiction-like explanation I have ever heard. They say Atairiasti means Unpaired /Incompatible: sure, with real food.
If you own or manage I Ateriasti, register now for free tools to enhance your listing, attract new reviews, and respond to reviewers.