CULTURE

Guide reveals best restaurants in the mini-capital of world flavors

As Athens steadily develops into a mini-capital of world flavors, the increase in choices must be accompanied by more and better information. Following their publication of various user-friendly travel guides, which began with a general travel guide before expanding into separate books for specific islands, and in Greek, English, Italian and German, Axon Publications is now contributing to the need for further culinary information with a new addition to its Only the Best series. The new culinary guide, Living in Style, tracks down the capital’s best restaurants for the period 2001-2002. The guide – currently available in Greek and to be published in English sometime next year- offers 800 addresses and 150 reviews of restaurants, bar-restaurants and tavernas. It was principally edited by culinary expert Epikouros (a pseudonym) and Simos Georgopoulos, wine specialist and author of the Only the Best guide to Greek wines. In the traditional manner for restaurant guides, each entry reviewed receives an overall rating, as well as individual ratings for food, service and atmosphere. A paragraph with concise information follows as well as a rating for quality and prices. The editors also offer a glimpse into how they arrived at the ratings. In the food category, for instance, points are attributed for flavor, quality, ingredients, presentation and variety, while in the category for service, the restaurant staff earn points for being sufficiently friendly, properly groomed, discreet, honest, knowledgeable, as well as eager to please. At its conclusion, the guide offers a top 10 chart, which includes, among other categories, the best places for savoring specific cuisines such as Italian, Asian or ethnic or the best places for business lunches, beautiful views, low-budget meals and where one must be seen to be in. In assessing their findings, the editors point out that all their restaurant visits were conducted anonymously, without prior notice and were self-financed. While no restaurant in the guide reaches the status of a grande table, in the tradition of establishments such as Paris’s Taillevent or Alain Ducasse, a great number are making steady progress, catering to an increasingly knowledgeable and demanding clientele.