Saturday, 13 October 2012

Mama Roux: Giving it another chance

Great morning: decided to go for a late coffee-brunch in the centre. Normally this would be a nightmare given Saturday is the day everyone who normally works during the week will go to look around the shops. Add to that the great day: blue sky, sun, light cool breeze; we were not the only people heading down there. However, thanks to my trusty two wheeler, we were parked and ready to sit in less than fifteen minutes!

Initially we were going to sit at Tailor Made, but it was packed and the outdoor seating was in direct sunlight. Instead of getting back on the bike to go somewhere totally different we figured we'd walk up Aiolou street and pick a place. No sooner were we walking than I had decided to sit down at Mama Roux.

I had been there before, not more than a week after it had first opened. The reason then, was that the Chef that was behind the amazing food at the gone-but-not-forgotten Hells Kitchen was also behind this place (though I'm not sure if he's still there). It is supposed to have southern American Cajun style food. Back then, I remember I wasn't convinced, and I thought the food was alright, but not 'wow' and not what I had expected. To be honest I'd probably set the bar too high.

This time round I was there for coffee, but decided to get a small nibble to share. We went for a BLT with the addition of avocado. It was good! Real good! I could taste everything in it. Nothing that shouldn't have been there was there, and nothing that should have been there wasn't. Everything was fresh, vibrant and in the right proportion. And the bread: toasted hearty country style slices of bread. Yum yum yum yum yum yum yum!!!

BLT with Avocado
The coffee was good too, and the barista had even made the effort to make a fancy shape on our Fredo Cappuccinos  Effort points!

A generally very pleasant visit I'd say, and I'm left with two ToDo's from this visit:
a) Try their Sunday brunch
b) Sample their other food again

And a few related links:
@ Trip Advisor


  1. Hi George,

    I'm searching for the best food in Athens for my upcoming visit. I came across Tailor Made and Mama Roux's name by chance and when searched blog post on those, I found you blog! I'll be in Athens Dec29-Jan1 with a friend. It's really short and being from İstanbul, we're only after the real food that the locals like yourself dig -nothing touristic!- what would be your reccomendations?
    Many thanks :)

    1. For a start you should read this post(, which is basically where I actually showed two friends who visited Athens around for just two days. In that case I did try exactly that: to give my guests a real experience.

      Being from Istanbul, it's hard to say how - if at all - you'll find things different in Athens than things you'll get at home. I'm guessing there will be many similarities.

      Here's a list of things you should try if you get the chance:
      Seafood by the sea(eg Fried calamari, Grilled Octopus)
      A 'Taverna' with grilled meat,
      Souvlakia - Various Meats (usually pork or chicken) on a skewer, plain or wrapped in pita bread,
      Casserole/Baked foods such as 'Gemista'(Stuffed tomatoes & Green Peppers), 'Ntolmades'(stuffed vine leaved),'Laxanontolmades'(Studded cabbage leaves),Kokinisto (veal in tomato sauce), Mousaka (baked,layered,fried potatoes,fried aubergines,mince meat and bechamel sauce), Mosxari Lemonato(Veal in lemon sauce)
      Spanakopita(Spinach pie)
      Tiropita(Cheese Pie)
      Xoriatiki(Greek Salad - Tomato, Cucumber, green pepper, onion, olives, capers, feta, olive oil)
      Tzaziki(Yoghurt dip with grated cucumber & Garlic)
      Melitzanosalata (Aubergine dip)
      Loukoumades(Fried dough balls with melted honey syrup and cinnamon)
      Ouzo(aniseed tasting liqueur served with ice, optionally watered down)
      Rakomeno (Raki (strong alcoholic drink) with melted honey, usually served warm)
      Frappe (Coffee made by foaming instant coffee with water and optionally milk).

      Here's links to the places we went to and the stuff we ate. I could't really tell you what to order because I guess that depends on your budget and your appetite!

      'Ammos' for seafood:
      We ate (among other stuff):
      Amos Salad
      Kalamarakia Tiganika (Fried Kalamari)
      Kolokithaki Tiganito (Fried Courgettes)
      Axinosalata (Sea Urchins)
      Garides Psites (Grilled Prawns)
      Xtapodi Psito (Grilled Octapus)
      Midia Axnista (Steamed Mussles)
      You can also order a whole fish, but that'll probably double your food bill)
      Ouzo or wine to drink.

      ‘Ladokola’ for grilled meats
      Mixed Grill for Two (but tell them to substitute the testicles for something else... unless you're feeling adventurous)
      Xoriatiki Salata (Greek Salad)
      Tzatziki (Yoghurt & Garlic dip)
      Now depending on where you are staying (I assume somewhere in the centre), you'll probably have to get a taxi to get to these places, especially Ammos which is in a little marina by the sea.

    2. Here are a few more central Places you might want to try (I've recommended what to try where I could).
      For a 'Meze'(Tapas)
      Try: Meat platter for two
      Tigania (fried pork)
      Diodos Salad
      Ouzo or wine to drink
      To Steki tou Ilia - For grilled meats and sorts
      Papandreou 'Kitchen'
      This place is inside the central market, so if you're uncomfortable going through animal carcases and the smell of raw meat don't go... having said that it's been around for a long time and has very traditional stuff.
      This is an interesting place because they don't have a set menu. They'll cook different foods every day, sort of modern Greek Cuisine, but the consensus is that it's always good food.
      Simple traditional foods
      Mama Roux is nice, but not sure it's for you because there's nothing local about it: that is, it has more of an international menu, catering for people who are bored of eating more traditional Greek Food.

      That's it in terms of food. In terms of going out - bars, drinks etc. there's two main areas: The easiest in terms of access is 'Gazi', which is, if you take the blue metro line, at the 'Keramikos' station. You'll find everything here from restaurants to 'mezedopolia' (or tapas places) to coffee shops to bars. It's hard to recommend any one place for drinks, but, in terms of food, for mezedes with wine or ouzo, you may want to try 'Gazoxori' (, or for 'souvlaki' you can try 'Kandavlos (
      The second area is round 'platia karitsi' and along 'kolokotroni' street. There's bar after bar after bar in this area. Here's just a couple of interesting ones.
      I've written about the second (Gin Joint), here:
      Well, that about it. I know I've just sputtered an organised blob of info at you, but I do hope it's helpful, or at least a start.


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