On my flight to Athens, a greek guy sitting next to me warned me not to eat in the quarter Monastiraki. Well, I did eat in Monastiraki, the most touristic place in Athens, in the tavern DIA TAYTA, and it turned out to be no mistake! ...
I spent four whole nights in a row in Dia Tayta, so probably I am not so objective with my critique, as I became friends with the owner Kostis and everybody else in this nice restaurant and bar. On the other hand, this also says quite a lot about this place - it is an extremely friendly place, with good clean food, very hospitable and personal service, and great live music.
They play traditional greek MUSIC, but more real stuff than in many other bars. If you stay long enough in the night, it might happen that the other bars have shut down, while here the music still goes on; and even gets better and better the later the night is! I cannot say if this happens all the time, and hope for the crew and owner that they get their sleep from time to time as well.
What is there to say about the FOOD? I had five different dishes while I was there, and I liked them all. I usually do not eat out - most of the times I am disappointed because I am a good cook (but not a professional) and could have done it better myself. But at Dia Tayta I was very happy with the food. The best dish certainly were the Dolmades, wineleafs with rice and minced meat in it, very spicy, hot, with lemon. Great! I also had two interesting vegetarian dishes (eggplant with cooked onions and tomato was real good), and a chicken leg cooked with fennel, carrot and potato in the oven. BUT could it have been even better? Of course it could have, it always can. The owner Kostis asked me how the Moussaka was - one of the most classic dishes from Hellas. My response was, well, very good preparation, but not so - savy as the others - I hesitated. So Kostis said, you're right, it is a bit flat. Looking like something has to be done about it. So that is what I think of their kitchen: Even though it is already very good, they are always trying to improve. Looking forward for the next time to eat Moussaka here.
Another thing: You'll always get instantly fresh, ice-cooled WATER; which is like the best thing to have in Athens.
Another thing: Do you usually experience it as a nuisance, that at many restaurants a whole alley of waiters is standing in your way and tries to force you in to have a seat? I hate it. In Dia Tayta, you will not find this! Their policy is absolutely not to do this. So if they do not immediately jump on you when you are in front of the restaurant and show a sign of interest, that is POLITENESS from their part. As soon as you sit down, or ask for something, they are the most friendly people you will find.
So a last word is: I think this place is excellent. But I have to qualify a bit. It is not a gourmet restaurant. It serves interesting, clean and tasty, but simple dishes, no fancy stuff, that is, REAL FOOD. Put it in relation to the price, and you have a great deal. I think this is an honest mixture and lets you enjoy the stay - I ABSOLUTELY RECOMMEND TO GO THERE. Enjoy, and be a nice guest yourself!
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