Varoulko, arguably one of the most famous restaurants in Athens, has a new home, but this time with a magnificent sea view. The restaurant has recently moved back to its home base, the port of Piraeus, exactly on the waterfront of Mikrolimano.
Varoulko was the first Greek restaurant ever having been awarded a Michelin star, even before the Olympic Games were held in Athens, and has kept it ever since 2002.
Varoulko was constantly a sedate temple of haute fish cookery, a place where the food spoke louder no matter what the ambience was, whether in the original restaurant in Kaminia or the following in the Kerameikos area.
Chef Lazarou has always had a flair for taking inexpensive raw ingredients and turning them into gastronomic luxuries. In the original Varoulko, chef Lazarou was the first chef to use the once underrated monkfish, in an effort to lure younger diners with a more inexpensive menu. Now he is doing something similar with his authentic Greek seafood lunch menu, concentrating in classic seafood recipes perfect for a mid day ouzo meze in lower prices. The 8 plates degustation menu, up until 5 pm, only costs 25 euros per person. The herring mousse was perfect as always, and fava with calamari was perfectly fried. Kinoa, the South American trend that is now very in vogue now in Athens came in a twisted tabouleh version.
It is surely reassuring to see that chef-owner Lefteris Lazarou kept the reins in, when designing his new menu in the VAROULKO seaside. He is a grand Greek kitchen master, a long-time wizard of fish cookery who always adds innovative ideas to his everyday changing menu.
At night the recipes we once love are all there. The ink soup and calamari, an old time favorite, is a reason on its own worth the visit. And don't be afraid to let the maitre order for you, even better the chef himself who is usually always around. He magically will create your seafood dish from what he found that day at the market according to your personal taste. His sea-based dishes reach depths that sate the soul.
The new Varoulko seaside achieves an uncanny likeness to the old; it’s just crisper, a fresh start with the same identity. In a veritable maritime stunning view, watching the boats right next to the tables, diners will truly enjoy food that will equally steal their heart. The service is as impeccable as it gets in this city, the wait staff is its usual brimming-with-pride self, and the tables are happily occupied with all sort of people, from Greek tycoons to happy tourists.
I am a real seafood lover , so I had no room to try their desserts, but if they are anywhere near the haute patisserie they use to serve in their Athens endroit, I am sure it must be the perfect end to a meal. Next time maybe I will try the ravani with ice cream. A coffee served in a tasse by Greece's ultrachic designer Minas was my showstopper .
Bravo once again chef!
VAROULKO Seaside at Mikrolimano
Akti Koumoundourou 52, Piraeus
tel 30 21 0522 8400