Ami gastrotheque: An all-day restaurant in Athens with an Italian flair

Ami gastrotheque

A few steps down from Syntagma Square, in the neighbourhood of Apollonos with its ethnic restaurants, is the elegant Ami gastrotheque. It is an all-day restaurant that started with a French orientation but has now entered a new era.

Since taking over the adjacent corner, it has changed. Now, more tables are on the sidewalk, and the chef and kitchen styles have changed.

The young chef Alexandros Karakatsanis now prepares the dishes and has created a small menu based on Italian cuisine and the philosophy of the Venetian Cicchetti.

For the record, let me tell you that cicchetti is not just snacks served on a slice of bread (something like Spanish tapas) but is the culture of Venetians and Northern Italians going out for a light drink and snack after work.

Ami has, therefore, adopted this philosophy in its new phase—a more interesting phase, in my personal opinion, since it has become more accessible—and this also translates into the price of the dishes and drinks.

Ami gastrotheque

I visited on a Tuesday afternoon when the weather allowed me to sit outside. With the menu in my hands, I looked around the surrounding tables. Almost everyone had these Cicchetti and a glass of wine or a cocktail, so it was logical for me to do the same.

For starters, try "one of everything," they say. There are six in total, and they have buttery bread as a base, which they lightly toast to be crispy on the outside and soft on the inside.

Of these six different cicchetti, I singled out the one with beef tartar and plenty of grated manchego cheese, the one with lightly fried artichoke (yes, I wish there was more of it), the sheep's yoghurt and fresh basil, and the one with semi-cooked prawns, tarama, and a little chorizo ​​that gave it a spicier tone.

Ami gastrotheque

Ami gastrotheque

Of course, I didn't stop at the above.

I also tried the croquettes that Karakatsanis makes with sobrassada (a paste made from pork and paprika) and plenty of manchego cheese. They were nicely crispy, but I wanted a bit more sobrassada to balance the sweetness from the béchamel.

I also tried the fried chicken served on top of a tasty fennel coleslaw. The breading and frying of the chicken were exemplary: wonderfully crispy, with no trace of oil left on the hand and extremely juicy.

It is definitely one of the dishes I would order again.

Ami gastrotheque

I asked for the cacio e pepe, which was as peppery as it should be and complemented by a nice thick cream of parmesan and pecorino. I would remove the black truffle sauce from this dish, but that's personal taste, as I understand truffle is something that most people like.

But let's get back to the pasta they make at Ami. They use fettuccine, which they put in the oven, then garnish it with the rest of the ingredients and mix it before you.

The whole time I was enjoying the tiramisú that came at the end (Karakatsani's mother's recipe), I was thinking that this change at Ami was very suited.

Ami offers simple dishes that are not confusing and are not pretentious. They are tasty, understandable and affordable. So Ami is an all-day restaurant that keeps you coming back.

info: Voulis & Apollonos, Syntagma, tel. 213 0302 290
Prices: 25 – 30 euros

Vasilis Dimaras is a columnist for Olive Magazine. Translated by Paul Antonopoulos

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