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“Old Greek didn't use forks”
Review of Archeon Gefsis - CLOSED

Archeon Gefsis
Price range: $22 - $31
More restaurant details
Restaurant details
Dining options: Reservations
Neighborhood: Psirri / Gazi
Description: The Ancient Greek Cuisine, the one that inspired so many others, makes a unique comeback after 25 centuries... What do we really know about it? Surely less than what we know about chinese, mexican or american. Still, we take pride of the ancient Greek civilization that is generally admitted to have greatly benefited to mankind two and a half thousand years ago. It would be impossible for the people who taught the Western World about democracy, theatre, philosophy, medicine, mathematics and so many more to be ignorant about healthy eating habits.In order for Archeon Gefsis (Ancient Tastes) to become a reality, a large number of specialized scientists such as linguists, archaeologists, architects and tasters put a considerable amount of time into studying rare manuscripts with the aim to collect recipes and identify the eating habits of ancient Greeks.As research progressed their surprise and admiration grew bigger! Never would they have imagined they would find so much information on ancient Greek gastronomy. It is enough to say that a publication called Deipnosophistes consists of 15 volumes exclusively on ancient abbreviations and customs. Enjoy your meal, or as ancient Greeks used to say evdipnias!
Reviewed April 8, 2013

Excellent salads. Unusual lack of fork (because it is old Greek stile restaurant. Wine good enough to drink. As I heard from others very good goat and pork.

1  Thank RobertARz
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviews (73)
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21 - 25 of 73 reviews

Reviewed October 15, 2010

I had high expectations of this place, but could not have been more disappointed.

First the pros:
Fabulous decor, with wooden floorboards, high wooden peaked ceiling with filmy lengths of fabric festooning the rafters. Stone walls with faux candle-abras created a wonderful atmosphere evocative of ancient Greece. The waitress, too, with her plaited hair and flowing Grecian gown was in keeping with the atmosphere. Lovely person, great service and excellent English, a bonus.

Now for the cons:
The food was simply bland and ordinary. We had a salad with butter lettuce, cubes of ham and cheese and bits of anchovies. It was flavorless and boring. It reminded me of a recipe you might find in the Women's Weekly or wquivalent housewife magazine. I know that Greek food is not huge on its aromatics or spice, but drowning a salad in oil does not make up for it.

We also had a side of beets and chickpeas. Chewy slice beetroot and red chickpeas with no flavour yet again.

We shared a main of prawns/shrimp, consisting of 4 large king prawns grilled in their shells. This was served with chick pea mash - really just mashed chick peas without even garlic to lift the flavour; plus a mound of stewed leeks that turned out to have been pickled. Not good. That dish on its own cost 24€. It's what I might expect to pay at home (albeit with at least a marinade on the prawns), but this is plain exorbitant for Greece when we could have gotten a tastier meal at the taverna around the corner for half the price).

And the local taverna was packed to bursting while we were one if 3 tables in a 15-table restaurant on a Friday night.

All up the meal cost 60€ for one salad, one side, one main and 500ml wine. It was our most expensive meal during our time in Greece, most of our meals costing less than half that. I don't begrudge spending a bit more at all - but expect to eat good food that warrants the price. I wish we'd had a simple moussaka in a taverna instead.

On a final note, yes, this was supposed to be authentic Ancient Greek cuisine, but the resraurant wasn't utterly scrupulous about making every detail authentic (eg the 'clay' plates and cups are actuallu plastic and the cutlery - sans fork - is still your regular stainless steel. Therefore, I brlieve the chefs could have taken inspiration from the Ancients but amending to please a modern palette (think: Heston Blumenthal) - especially at these prices.

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5  Thank koalawrangler
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed August 28, 2010

First off, this restaurant is in a somewhat iffy neighborhood, we went by Metro (subway), but two middle aged men, one with a cane, found no difficulties getting there. If you are not as comfortable doing this, try a cab. In fact, our concierge at the IC Athens tried to steer us away; rather to a similar type restaurant all the way down in Piraeus about which I could find no info so we went with this one ourselves.

We arrived at a dark restaurant about 2045, there was a little sign stating to go through the basement to the open air patio area which we found lit nicely, but no one there. We roused the hostess and single waitress (in a dress patterned on 5th Cent BC female styles). The menu is clearly of ancient style meals, no potato, no tomato, no pasta, no rice, no soda, tea nor coffee. No forks (tridents being taboo as a tool of Poseidon), only spoons, knife and fingers. She sat us and started us with a drink sweet wine, honey, and rosemary water in clay cups which was a delicious aperitif. BTW try the pomegranate juice (the other choice was apple) which had a bit of the astringency one encounters when eating pomegranates and getting some of the septum and rind material but was quite refreshing.
The menu items, which have been thoroughly researched, included brief quotes from the source literature about the preparation. I would have loved a more thorough description, maybe as a souvenir pamphlet, available for a more leisurely discussion of the food choices. Anyway back to the food, we shared a HUGE salad, I had "baked cheese" with berry sauce starter, my husband had a sliced sausage with mustard, watercress, and leek starter by which time we were both full; but on to the main course. I had venison with mushrooms in a sweet fruit sauce, he had pork cutlets wrapped in bacon. Our sides were mashed / pureed chickpeas and other vegetables. The meal was leisurely, definitely not a place for antsy children, pre-teens, or rushing adults. Due to trying to get back on the Metro before midnight we skipped dessert, but we were stuffed anyway.

The main thing about this restaurant is DON'T EXPECT modern Greek cuisine. It is a place for trying the unexpected. Yes, water is charged for, as it is in most restaurants in Europe; yes, service can be leisurely to slow, as it in many better restaurants because they aren't about table turnover rates thus prices tend to be a bit higher; yes, there are some anachronisms, as they don't cook over a fire and they have candles and electric lighting; yes, it is touristy because of the style of presentation, but most of the of patrons of the place were Greek when we left; so obviously locals like it too.
If you want a meal to make you wonder about how prior cultures lived try Archeon Gefsis for a special evening.

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Thank smjaeger
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed August 24, 2010

Our hotel booked this for us, and we thought at first the taxi had taken us to the wrong address - entrance is via a candlelit hallway into a courtyard, open to the skies. Fabulous setting, with more candles, incense burners, waitresses in togas and a menu researched from the 5th century. Excellent food, perhaps a tad overcooked. They keep the historical theme up with no forks or Coca Cola, but charming friendly service in an absolutely delightful and authentic atmosphere. Probably better to go on a busy night as we were one of only three couples there – and don’t take a child – we did and it was a big mistake!

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1  Thank AlastairWatts
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed June 28, 2010

This restaurant supposedly harks back to ancient Greece, using only spoons and knives (no forks) and kinda pottery cups, no glasses -- because ancient Greece had no glass (except there are glass hurricanes around the candles). The food was mixed. My duck was chewy and very expensive. Others in our large party enjoyed the food.
Surprise came at the end of the meal, when water that was brought liberally was billed and not included in the (yikes!) 2euro50 cover charge (high, even for Athens). Two bottles were included for a table of 12 people and 2 small baskets of bread. Waitress refused to make any adjustment.
The atmosphere is nice -- but not at all worth the price or the effort of getting there if you're not staying in that area. It's a high-end restaurant that might be nice for a romantic dinner, money no object. It is not a "fun" place to go. Definitely don't take kids.
We left feeling ripped off, so any enjoyment of the meal itself was destroyed. There are much better deals and much more authentic Greek restaurants in Athens. Avoid this one.

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1  Thank AlohaTravelee
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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