GATE TO GREECE > Travel in Greece > Vari (Attiki)
Vári is a small town situated on the western side of Attiki peninsula, not far from the seaside resorts Vouliagoumeni and Varkiza, but in inland. It is famous for many meat restaurants alongside the highway, as you see in the photo above. Many Athenians come here for meat feast on weekends. Not particularly a foreign tourists' attraction, but many might recognise this view as the airport buses to and from Athens pass here.

In the photo above right is kitchen of one of the restaurants; many of them have meat kitchen alongside the road in full view of the potential customers passing in front.
Two of us visited here in April 2009.

My Greek friends told me that Vari was famous for men in Greek traditional costume inviting passers-by into their restaurants, but now it is over. They are now mostly in white gown as it is the uniform of Greek butchers. From outside many look quite similar and do not put their menus outside. Not having way to choose among them, we just decided to try one of the largest and oldest, Ta Vlahika, exercising here since 1963.

Inside →

The meat kitchen, where animal carcasses are dissected and cooked, is separated from the back kitchen, is placed in front of the restaurant so that the passers-by and the diners can see it (the glass room in the photo). It looks more like a butcher shop than a restaurant kitchen.

cucumber and tomato salad
For some reason, in this restaurant the waiters who take food order and those who take drink order are different. When we tried to order beer from the waiter who had taken our food order, he told us to wait for drink waiter, even though the first batch of the food had already arrived.

The first batch was our non-meat orders: potato fries (€2.80), cucumber and tomato salad (€3), and tzatziki (€2.80). The bread was an obligatory order (this is usual in Greece), €0.80 per person.

arni psito
While we were waiting picking from these dishes, the meat arrived from the meat kitchen.

The meat in the foreground is a portion of arni psito (roast lamb) (€10) and in the background is pork exohikó (€7). The meat does not come with any side, so you need to order them separately as we did.

The lamb looks huge in this photo, but it is actually illusory. Besides, it contained lots of bones and had little meat for € 10.

The dish called exohikó ('country-style') is usually a lamb cooked with veggies and feta in the oven, but this version is a baked chunk of pork meat wrapped in a layer of fat. It was a pure mass of meat and there was much to eat for €7.

With the addition of a bottle of beer and a big bottle of water (there wasn't small bottle), the total bill came to €31. We were mildly - if not enthusiastically - satisfied. If you come in a big group and order big portions, like a kilo of lamb for €28, as the other Greeks were doing, you would probably get better value.

Vari site
Coming from Athens, a few hundreds of metres away from the place full of restaurants (in the first photo), there are ancient ruins without any information. I would guess these belong to either Classical or Hellenistic period.

Vari wall
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