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How often do you get the perfect combination of great food, elegant interiors and an inspiring historic location? As unlikely as this may sound, the renewed Epta 7 restaurant and bar achieves all this and more.
Authentic Italian cuisine
Italian cuisine is one of my favourite cuisines. Surely, this shouldn’t come as a surprise. After all, Italian cooking has been voted the best in the world, beating even the French.
That said, there’s more to Italian cuisine than your run-of-the-mill local pizzeria. But genuine, authentic Italian cuisine of quality is hard to find, especially outside of Italy.
So I was very excited to be invited to taste and review the new menu of Epta 7 restaurant at Monastiraki. Especially now that chef Damianos Siderokanellis picked up the baton from his late mentor , chef Fabrizio Buliani.
A chic, luxurious interior
Epta 7 is housed in one of the city’s most elegant neoclassical buildings, at 119 Ermou street, just off Monastiraki square and Metro station.
The ground level, where you can also find the elegant bar, has an urban chic and discreetly luxurious aesthetic. It’s for sure a far cry from the stereotype of the classic Italian trattoria. Indeed, the ambience is more like that of Italian restaurants in London or other cosmopolitan cities in the world.
That said, the real showstopper is the private dining area below, with the impressive safety glass floor, through which the visitor can view the antiquities discovered in the building’s basement. One can get a glimpse of the private dining and the antiquities already from the ground floor, as it also features a safety-glass floor!
There is an imposing sense of history, quiet luxury and exclusivity in this place, that transforms the average dining experience into a gastronomic ritual.
The new menu of Epta 7 restaurant
Following his late teacher’s footsteps, chef Damianos Siderokanellis proposes this year a gastronomic trip to Italy with a menu emphasizing authentic tastes and signature dishes.
Epta 7 Restaurant offers a well-rounded selection of much loved Italian classics such as caprese, pasta carbonara and Cotoletta Alla Milanese, as well as “secret” signature dishes such as Pizza Fritta (fried pizza filled with ham, ricotta and parmesan) or the Garganelli, a local pasta served with Salsiccia Toscana, peperoncino and tomato sauce.
The evening started with a crisp glass of Pinot Grigio and Lingue di Suocera, which means “mother-in-law’s tongue”. They are a kind of tasty, baked flatbread, in long, narrow slices, which is crunchy and delicious!
We started our meal with a selection of appetizers. We had the Carciofi Artichoke carpaccio, with Pecorino cheese, pine nuts and wild rocket, and the Beef Fillet Carpaccio, which was simply perfect.
The main dishes
Having made quick work of the appetizers, it was time for the mains. My choice was the traditional pasta carbonara. The taste was very authentic, with real egg, parmesan and pecorino cheeses, and smoke pork cheek pieces.
I also go to try the scrumptious beef tagliata, which gave me food envy. Don’t get me wrong, the pasta carbonara was delicious, but the tagliata was a revelation. Simply one of the most tender and tasty beef dishes I’ve ever had.
To finish off our meal in the best way possible, we had the zuppa inglese, which surprisingly has nothing to do with soup but is actually layers of sponge cake dipped in liqueur and custard cream. The one at Epta 7 restaurant was dipped in Archermes liquer, with layers of vanilla and chocolate custard, served with a red fruits sauce.
Although the zuppa was an elegant and satisfying dessert, the one that really blew my mind was the amazing coffee and orange semifreddo. A semifreddo is a lighter, less frozen kind of ice cream, or a more frozen kind of mousse, if you prefer. It literally means “half frozen”. You get the idea.
The semifreddo we’ve had at Epta 7 restaurant was made of espresso coffee cream and served with an aromatic orange sauce. The unexpected combination of coffee and orange was absolutely amazing. This dessert proved really difficult to share with others!
To sum things up…
The renewed Epta 7 restaurant and bar is a rare gastronomic gem, offering authentic Italian cuisine in a unique, historic setting.
If you crave Italian food while you are in Athens, you could do much worse than the urban chic Epta 7 restaurant at 119 Ermou street, in the heart of the city. And make sure you get the coffee semifreddo!
Epta 7 Restaurant & Bar:
Address: 119, Ermou & 10, Astiggos street, Athens
Open: Monday – Saturday, 19:00-00:30
Telephone: +30 210 3212010
Disclaimer: I was invited by the restaurant to review the new menu and didn’t pay for my meal, but the experience I describe is completely my own and unbiased.