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TravelReview: ATENO Cook & Deli, Athens, Greece

Review: ATENO Cook & Deli, Athens, Greece

In the historic commerial district of Athens, ATENO Cook & Deli celebrates the finest Greek produce. Housed in a 19th Century building on Aiolou Street, a central artery in Athens for centuries. this all-day restaurant-cum-deli embodies the revival of commerce and social life in the area. Dedicated to Greek cuisine, ATENO showcases premium produce sourced from all over Greece after many years of food scouting.

The menu is based on this produce, which is also available for purchase in the delicatessan. Whether you are looking for a unique salumeria, or the finest honey, or you’re yearning for traditional Santorini fava, this deli offers a carefully-curated selection of products renowned for their flavour and nutritional value, each telling their own unique origin story, and carefully selected for precisely that reason.

ATENO, symbolised by a logo that creatively merges Doric columns into a fork formation, is the brainchild of Spyros Liakos, one of the founding Chefs at Cookoovaya and Owner of the acclaimed Travolta restaurant. Having been warmly greeted like old friends, we are shown to an outoor table – a perfect spot for people-watching and soaking in the vibrant street life of Athens, while anticipating the meal that lies ahead.

The food

The first dish to arrive is a cold meat platter that resembles more of a tower. All the meats at ATENO are sourced from ancient Greek breeds like the black pig, and paired with the finest Greek wines from their cellar.

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A popular dish enjoyed in many Greek homes is lentils with feta and tomato. At ATENO, the organic Beluga lentils with a tomato paste pesto and feta croquettes, flavoured with an orange vinaigrette, are a great take on this classic. Legumes have been a cornerstone of the Greek Mediterranean diet since ancient times and, with dishes like this, it’s easy to understand why.

The showstopper is ATENO’s novel take on the classic Greek salad. This indispensable element of every typical lunch or dinner in Greece has a delightful new twist – a filled tomato, with a cucumber broth, Cretan barley rusks and an indulgent feta cream, accompanied with fermented bread toasted on coal.

Click on the video to watch the magic unfold…

YouTube videoYouTube video

To satisfy our pescatarian son, we also enjoyed sharing a unique take on moussaka – a shrimp filled aubergine with onion and béchamel, topped with Parmesan crisps.

We unanimously agreed that the chickpeas with Bacalhau fish served in a crust of lemon leaves, rosemary and a lemon cream was a triumph – a harmonious blend of earthy, salty, citrusy and herbal flavors with a deliciously creamy and slightly tangy finish.

The authentically-Greek lamb fricasse with tender lamb, seasonal greens and a celery root cream was a rich and equally well-rounded dish, complemented by the subtle sweetness of the cream sauce.

At this point in the evening, the Chef (more on him later) kindly came out to meet us, and we said how much we’d be enjoying the meal. We were persuaded to try a couple of the desserts between us. I’m not usually a big one for puddings but the ekmek tsoureki – a popular Greek dessert – topped with a Madagascan vanilla cream and black cherries served with kaimaki ice cream, was a delightful blend of sweet, creamy and slightly spiced flavours.

Similarly, the butterscotch ‘halvas’ with cinnamon ice cream topped with a tahini halva cream froth felt equally decadent.

The chef

Chef Nikos Karathanos grew up in Athens and honed his craft at the Le Monde Institute. He won his first Michelin Star at the age of just 27, making him the youngest Greek ever to achieve this honour. He has worked in many different restaurants, alongside some of the world’s best chefs: Jérome Serres, Lefteris Lazarou, Apostolos Trastelis and Nickos Skrempos. On the first floor of ATENO, you can see into his kitchen and veryquickly getting a sense of his passion and boundless energy for his culinary artistry.

The ambience

The energy at ATENO Cook & Deli is palpable. From the warm welcome to the creative flair in the dishes, to the bustling street and the thriving deli counters, every aspect exudes an infectious liveliness, making this new up-and-coming venue truly stand out. The relaxed nature of the outdoor seating, alongside a lively pedestrianised street, extends inside where the deli counters, laden with an array of fresh, artisanal products, act as a focal point. ATENO captures the essence of contemporary Athens – dynamic, diverse, and full of life – yet providing an inviting, leisurely space where food-lovers can savour creative cuisine in a stylish and vibrant environment. Additional indoor seating on the first floor, close to the kitchen, is available for those rare occasions when the weather is less favourable.

The cost

A variety of cold meats is available, priced between €9 and €13; cheeses range from €6 to €12 whilst dips are offered at €6 to €8. For something more substantial, vegetarian dishes range from €11 to €24, while meat dishes are priced from €12 to €33, the latter being for the sirloin steak with a truffle mash and mushroom cream sauce, topped with mushrooms marinated in aged Corinth vinegar. Desserts are priced at €9 and €10.

Produce is also of course available for purchase in the deli.

The final verdict

ATENO Cook & Deli is a special find, and a great example of ‘bistronomy’ – the relaxed ambience of a bistro fused with the gastronomy of a unique Greek dining experience, perfectly balancing a casual atmosphere with culinary excellence.

Whether you’re there for dinner, swinging by for a coffee, grabbing a sandwich made with the best Greek salami, or shopping for quality produce for a meal back home, ATENO can cater for all your needs. The search for the finest products all over Greece has already been done for you, and brought to Aiolou Street. All that remains is for you to visit.

Disclosure: This post is sponsored by Ateno Cook & Deli.

Paul Johnson

Paul Johnson is Editor of A Luxury Travel Blog and has worked in the travel industry for more than 30 years. He is Winner of the Innovations in Travel ‘Best Travel Influencer’ Award from WIRED magazine. In addition to other awards, the blog has also been voted “one of the world’s best travel blogs” and “best for luxury” by The Telegraph.

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