After five hours pounding by Hurricane Zorba without eating all day, back at our hotel we were soaked and frozen. My husband couldn't take any more rain (photo 1). Just across the street was Βανίλια (Vanilla) Bistro, so I went to fetch food.
I was immediately given a menu and made to feel at home. It was really obvious that everything was home-cooked with great attention and everyone was proud of the food. The bistro was full of happy locals at 3 in the afternoon even in the downpour. It's a pretty corner location with an outside patio full of trees.
Vanilla has a great menu, omelettes, salads, wide variety of meat and veggie dishes, a beautiful display case with many different home-made desserts—not to mention the variety of drinks and coffees.
I ordered the special, a fantastic roast lamb with spices, mushrooms, and rice (photo 2). But when I asked to take it out, the lovely waitress was shocked. I learned that “take away” is frowned on in Greece, where people are sane and everyone sits to digest at leisure. The staff worked long and carefully to prepare a fine meal--this was not fast food! Heavens no. I apologized and plead that my husband was unwell and there was no food at our hotel, please help!
The waitress showed her kind heart and found some containers. It's a really pretty place, so I sat back waiting happily while they cooked from scratch, gazing with a goofy smile at every patron, architectural, and decorative detail, thinking, “Gosh, we're in Athens!”
I left with a container of tender lamb, another with a big slab of chocolate pie (photo 3), and a “filtered coffee” for two in my tall travel mug from back home. The tiramisu also looked delicious.
Coffee in Greece starts at espresso strength and gets stronger; de-caf seems unheard-of; and it was late in the day. “Filtered coffee” means American style, but it's still very strong, so I asked for half to be hot milk. (Do bring a travel mug. Greeks don't like take-out coffee, either, and may not have paper cups.)
What a wonderful dinner we had!
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