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“High-level cuisine by chef honoured as one of Greece's finest”

Aphrodite Garden Restaurant
Ranked #9 of 64 Restaurants in Pythagorion
Certificate of Excellence
Cuisines: Greek
Dining options: Late Night, Breakfast, Reservations
Restaurant details
Dining options: Late Night, Breakfast, Reservations
Denmark, Europe
Level 6 Contributor
15 reviews
3 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 103 helpful votes
“High-level cuisine by chef honoured as one of Greece's finest”
Reviewed September 21, 2013

There are a number of reasons to visit the Greek islands. But the cooking is hardly ever mentioned as a reason for pilgrimage. Overcooked pork chops, variations of the same-same gyros, slices of tomatos and cucumber upgraded by a mysterious feat of magic to be called a "salad", bland moussakas that you'll find better in Helsinki or Stuttgart, deepfried this, deepfried that.... tzatziki on everything and non-stop bouzouki in the background.

Look no further. At Aphrodite Garden you will find something far far better, lightyears away from the "feed-the-gobble-up-anything-tourists" clichés at the harbour side tavernas.

Vaggelis Bilibas is a chef, honoured this year by the Hellenic Chefs association "Chef's Club" to be one of the best in all Greece. http://www.chefclub.gr/

Vaggelis runs a Greek restaurant to be sure, but his training and knowledge of classic, international (read: French) cuisine shines right through. My only wish is that he would let it shine through even brighter - and that his diners would start demanding it of him !

So here's what I had:
* Apéritif: a glass of cold (but not icy) Golden Samena, the semi-sweet, rich whitewine that is the hallmark of Samos http://www.samoswine.gr/uk/6.html
* Tomato soup, sooo simple, aromatic, full of flavour, burning hot
* Lamb shank simmered in beer and rosemary, elegantly presented
* Two-cake dessert: a cheese-youghurt cake and a slice of moist sponge cake, both garnished w/ a homemade wild sour cherry compote/preserve.
* Wine: a pitcher of house redwine, served slightly "cellar cool", like a Bourgogne or Beaujolais. It was excellent (I've had several house redwines in Samos that were barely drinkable, so "excellent" knocks your socks off here)

DO_ASK_FOR_DESSERT ! DEMAND_DESSERT !

Because if you don't, the waiter certainly won't offer it by himself - and you'll miss out on something truly fantastic.

The mind-boggling, horrible truth is, that since dessert is not a big thing on the Greek "tourist menu" (yeah, we'd rather take an ice cone on the harbour, stuffed with the industrialized Carte d'Or crap made from skimmed milk powder and E-numbers) - it is considered to be almost rude on the part of the waiter to even ASK you ! I almost fell off my chair, when Vaggelis told me that.

In other parts of the world, France in particular, the dessert is the jewel in the crown ! You simply MUST take dessert, to round off your perfect meal by satisfying your sweet tooth.

Vaggelis Bilibas is a passionate chef with a potential that could take him far on the culinary scene.

Greece is going through tough times these years, and you can feel that as a visitor on Samos too. So I guess, one has to to respect the stiff dilemma of whether a chef should go with the mainstream, play it safe, hide his light under a bushel and do like all the others - simply to secure a minimum of income - OR if he should stick to his guns, be true to himself, spread his wings and trust that his culinary skills and passion for excellence will prevail at the end.

I root for Vaggelis to stick to his guns and unfold his wonderful talent - and I can't wait to go back next September.

The fact that the man is the handsomest devil in the entire Aegean Archipelago (and then some) has - of course - nothing whatsoever to do with my enthusiasm...... ;-)

http://www.aphrodite-restaurant.gr/home_en.html

  • Visited September 2013
    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
Helpful?
7 Thank GitteK
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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478 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
    Food
    Service
    Value
    Atmosphere
Date | Rating
  • Danish first
  • Dutch first
  • English first
  • Finnish first
  • French first
  • German first
  • Greek first
  • Italian first
  • Norwegian first
  • Russian first
  • Serbian first
  • Spanish first
  • Swedish first
  • Turkish first
  • Any
English first
Hanko, Finland
Level 3 Contributor
11 reviews
5 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 12 helpful votes
“Mixed feelings”
Reviewed September 8, 2013

The food was OK, but the service is poor: 3 waiters for a big terrace, and only 1 (I presume the owner) is allowed to handle the bills & payments. We had to wait 45 mins just to ASK for the bill.
While waiting another 15 minutes we got a portion of "mix-from-a-bag" chocolate mousse.

Meanwhile you see the owner going from table to table of (I presume) regular customers, handing them out shots or putting small bottles of ouzo in their purse. I would prefer if a restaurant would "wow" me with their cooking, instead of making it into a boozefest.

We had 5 mezes and they were all OK. Nothing special, but fresh and clearly home-made.

Our waiter smelled sweaty.

  • Visited August 2013
    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
Helpful?
3 Thank Braminfunland
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
2 reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
“The best restaurant of the whole island”
Reviewed September 5, 2013 via mobile

Vaggelis Bilibas is the owner and one of the best cooks in Greece, the quality is excellent, the service; you will find no better place, we have had several great times and will come back definetly.

  • Visited September 2013
    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
Helpful?
2 Thank Hans S
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
laindon essex
Level 2 Contributor
8 reviews
4 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 15 helpful votes
“Great food and Graet service”
Reviewed September 1, 2013

Though we have been to Samos before this was the first time in this restaurant.
Very impressed with both the food and the service .A great location too right on the harbour.

Visited May 2013
Helpful?
Thank ddgray
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Bradford, United Kingdom
Level 5 Contributor
29 reviews
19 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 10 helpful votes
“Brilliant”
Reviewed August 28, 2013

Aphrodite is a beautiful place to have a evening meal the service is great and the atmosphere is wonderful. set in beautiful gardens the restaurant is very relax and surrounded by local plants and greenery. first class food all round i would highly recommend the traditional Greek over baked meat dishes.

Visited August 2013
Helpful?
Thank Gemma-Marie_94
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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