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ΜANHMANH

When in Athens, here's where you'll have the heartiest and most sophisticated traditional food, only a few steps from the Acropolis

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19 April 2017

Facing the Acropolis, and nestled in Koukaki, the heritage Athenian neighbourhood that ranks number five in the world, ΜANHMANH is one of the most highly regarded restaurants in Greece.

The cuisine, most loyal at its place of origin, Mani - which happens to be the owners' home - flirts with recipes from all over Greece, with a modern approach, using traditional and healthy products of Mani and Peloponnisos.

Occupying the first floor of a renovated neoclassical residence, the restaurant serves traditional food made with local ingredients sourced from the southern and wider Peloponenese region, yet in a modern idiom with the latest cooking techniques.

Its owners Giannis Boutsikaris, Alexandros Fouroulis, Yiota Houliara, and Yiolanda Katsameni are devoted to delivering standout food that will leave every customer asking for more.

Chef Alexandros Fouroulis has been consistent in raising the bar over the last 12 years, presenting sophisticated cuisine that bursts with honest hearty flavours, accompanied by an extensive list of awarded regional and limited edition wines.

If you are planning on visiting Athens, remember that within only a few minutes' walk from the 'Sacred Rock' you can experience MANHMANH's exquisite menu that includes a unique octopus dish with fava filo parcels filled with manouri cheese, the spicy kayiana omelette, ravioli with Swiss chard, chervil and cheese, and the famous Mani sausage with orange.

Starred by the ​​FNL Best Restaurant Awards 2016, it sits at the top of the city's best restaurants based on TripAdvisor customer reviews while the New York Times, in their book 36 Hours: 125 Weekends in Europe, published by Taschen, had an extensive feature on MANHMANH as a go-to destination.

"I don't know if we stand out per se, and don't get me wrong, I'm not just saying this out of modesty," general manager and owner Yiota Houliara tells Neos Kosmos, "but I firmly believe our business is synonym to honesty".

"We have great ingredients, we constantly put in a lot of effort, we are focused on serving our clientele in the best way possible and offer satisfying food; offering much more than the €25 per person can buy. Meanwhile, all dishes can be ordered as half portions at half-price."

From day one, the MANHMANH philosophy was to deliver traditional flavours in a refined way; making sure the dishes feel both familiar and new; almost like a pleasant discovery.

"A new point of view, a new version hiding in the old," she continues.

"When we first presented our tsouhtes back in 2009, pasta with Mani sygklino, mushrooms and browned mizithra (salty, flavoursome hard cheese, almost like parmesan), covered with a fried village free-range egg our clients were impressed. It seemed gourmet, but this in fact is a very traditional Mani dish, that our grandfathers used to eat and our grandmothers would prepare 'on a good day'. A special dish, long before eggs were in fashion. This item has gotten so much love at MANHMANH, it's become a signature."

Mains like kokoras bardouniotikos (rooster stewed with feta, siglino - cured pork that is first salted, then smoked, and finally boiled - and grilled sausages), the osobuko, the veal liver with beetroot and oxymeli sauce, the homemade hylopites aka noodles simmered with chicken, fennel, sun-dried tomatoes and basil will make your tastebuds explode.

Believe me, I know. I used to live five minutes from there, and it's one of the places I miss the most.

"There is also a new rooster dish, stuffed with mushrooms and pecorino from Amfilochia in smashed potatoes with smoked pork and leaks," the MANHMANH, manager enthuses.

"The list is long; but next time don't forget to try the yellow split peas with onion chutney, the balsamic-glazed octopus, their homemade souvlaki with panchetta and yoghurt sauce, the as well as the sweet green salad with soft katiki cheese and dried figs. Last but not least, Alexandros' fish fillet with a veggie tabouleh in wild fennel sauce."

Moving on to the desserts menu, the Maniatiki Galatopita (Mani milk pie) which is served with wild cherries and burned meringue, and the traditional diples offered in a glass, sunk in cream and covered with thyme honey and walnuts are getting rave reviews on social media.

"In this time of crisis, most if not all Greek businesses have been affected," Yiota stresses. "We are more than lucky that we receive these good reviews, especially abroad. We get bookings from many tourists passing through Athens on a daily basis. We are more than happy, however, to have a loyal clientele, enjoying our delicious yet affordable meals."

MANHMANH is located at 10 Falirou Street, Makriyianni, Greece. To make a booking call +30 21 0921 8180 or visit www.manimani.com.gr

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