Saturday, June 17, 2017

Lecker Wurst (Duisburg, Germany)

Mercatorstrasse, 47508 Duisburg, Germany

Lecker Wurst, which literally translates as Tasty Sausage, is a small fast food stall in the tunnel of the main railway station. It sells frikadellen (kind of meatballs), fries, and sausages. The meat comes from local butchers. I get a Currywurst mit Pommes Weiss (i.e. curry sausage with fries and mayo) for  5.00. The sausage is underwhelming, as is the sauce (there is no spicy powder on top of it), but the fries and mayo are as good as you get in Germany.

VERDICT: 80/100
Not bad, not good.

Enders Wurst Spezialitäten (Duisburg, Germany)

Mercatorstrasse 23, 47501 Duisburg, Germany

Enders Wurst Spezialitäten is a small sausage stand at the entrance of the main railway station of Duisburg. It only sells fries, sausages and drinks. I get a Currywurst (3.00), which comes with a fresh roll. The sausage is quite good, but the warm quite thick curry sauce is what lifts it well above average.

VERDICT: 84/100
Pricey but good.

Friday, June 16, 2017

Le Greche (Athens, Greece)

Mitropoleos 16, Athens 105 57, Greece

Le Greche is a fancy dessert place, which sells cakes and ice cream. It looks like a (wannabe) chain, but I can’t find other locations. This one is close to Syntagma Square. The cakes and ice creams come in many different varieties, but all are pricy.

I get a cone with two "scoops" (€4), which are applied with a spatial. The Lemon-Mint is fresh and minty, while the Pistaccio is creamy and rich. The dark cone is fresh.

VERDICT: 90/100
Pricey but worth it.

The Greco's Project (Athens, Greece)

Mitropoleos 5, Athens 105 57, Greece

The Greco’s Project is a new hip restaurant that serves pretty basic Greek meat dishes - as well as burgers – but with high quality ingredients and in a modern style. Seems like the want to make a chain of it. This restaurant is just off Syntagma Square, so in the heart of the city. Despite the upscale presentation The Greco’s Project is a pretty straightforward restaurant with fast service

I get the Pork Gyros (€9.70), which is presented open. The pita is covered with a huge heap of shaved meats and on the side onions, tomato and tzatziki. The quality of the meat is exceptional, even if parts are a bit lukewarm, and the tzatziki is delicious and smooth.

VERDICT: 89/100
This is some of the best gyros I have eaten, but it is ridiculously expensive (not just by Athens standards).

Smile Family Restaurant (Athens, Greece)

Mitropoleos 38, Athens 105 57, Greece

Smile bills itself as a “Greek restaurant and gyros house” and comes with crazy good TripAdvisor rating – with which it also advertises. This is the only reason why I decide to try this place, which in all ways looks like a tourist trap. Smile is a very open and modern looking restaurant, which serves classic Greek dishes, including gyros, moussaka, souvlaki, etc.

I get one pork (€4) and one chicken gyros (€3.50), which are both cut freshly from the skewer. They come in typical thick Greek pita bread with onions, tomato, tzatziki and fries. In both cases the bit mushy, fatty bread is too overpowering. The chicken meat is ok, the pork not that impressive and too dry and fat.

VERDICT: 76/100
It’s beyond me how this place gets such good ratings. Maybe their gyros is just poor and the rest is good? Mediocre at best.

Thanasis (Athens, Greece)

Mitropoleos 69, Athens 105 55, Greece

Thanasis is a sprawling restaurant, which seems to take over more and more of its competitors nearby, in the highly touristic Plaka area of Athens. In all ways a classic tourist trap, except that it is not. It is really just a very large snackbar, serving mostly grilled meats, fries, and salads.

I get the famous Thanasis Kabobs, which are four serious kabobs that come on pita bread and with onion and (grilled) tomato (8.80) – I also had a tomato salad, but healthy food is not reviewed here. The kabobs are heavenly! They are so juicy and full of flavor, soaking into the pita, and not even requiring tzatziki. Among the best kabobs I have ever had! A few days later I went back and it was again excellent; even my friend from Thessaloniki, known for their superior food in Greece, complimented the quality.

VERDICT: 96/100
Go on, go to Thanasis and get their kabobs. It’s pricey, for Athens, but it’s worth it. Take my word for it!

Sorolop (Athens, Greece)

Andrea Metaxa 17, Athens 106 81, Greece

Sorolop is an artisan ice cream shop in the “anarchist-hipster area of Athens, Exarhia. It has some 20 flavors of homemade ice cream, mostly traditional Italian flavors, but some more adventurous. It also serves coffee and pastries. I get a cone with Hazelnut and Lime Basil (2.50). Both flavors are good but a bit understated, compared to traditional Italian gelato. The corn is fresh.

VERDICT: 86/100
Good non-Italian gelato

Souvlaki LEIVADIA (Athens, Greece)

2-4 Kaniggos str., Kaniggos sqr, Athens, Greece

Souvlaki LEIVADIA bills itself as a “traditional grill”, which seems quite appropriate. The big and bare restaurant sells really only souvlaki, i.e. pork skewers, which are freshly made and prepared on a long grill. The meat comes with bread, fries, or salad.

I get the special: three pork skewers with fries and a soda (5) as well as side of tzatzkiki (2.50). The souvlaki is prepared very well and is not too dry. It has some nice seasoning and tastes well with the thick, yoghurty tzatziki and fresh bread. The fries are prefab and bit undercooked, as is usual in Med countries.

VERDICT: 86/100
Very good souvlaki, mediocre fries.

Sunday, June 4, 2017

Mezbaa Steak & Burger (Istanbul, Turkey)

Kemankeş Karamustafa Paşa Mahallesi, Kılıç Ali Paşa Mescidi Sk. 14A, 34225 Beyoğlu/İstanbul, Turkey

Mezbaa Steak & Burger is another small hip burger restaurant in up-and-coming Karaköy, which only opened up a few months ago. It serves various types of meats, including burgers, sausages, and steaks; mostly based on US classics.  They come in different sizes, based on the weight of meat.

I get the Köfte Burger (22 or $6.15), which comes with lettuce, pickles, and tomato. I ask for some chili sauce, which really is very spicy paste. The bun is big and a bit too dry, there are four small pieces of a bit too dry köfte (spiced minced meat), which are somewhat moistened by the lettuce and tomato and the strong pickle. The paste makes it all quite spicy. It comes with fries, which seem prefab, but are perfectly crispy. They put pizza spices on them, however, which is not really working for me.

VERDICT: 84/100
Good burgers and fries, but bit too dry buns and (köfte) meat.

Karaköy Güllüoglu (Istanbul, Turkey)

Kemankeş Karamustafa Paşa Mh., Mumhane Cd. No:63, 34425 Beyoğlu/İstanbul, Turkey

Karaköy Güllüoglu is one of the most famous baklava places in Turkey, which ships around the world. It is an institution in Istanbul and most of the time quite busy. It sells a dazzling variety of types of baklava in all shapes and sizes.

I got a big piece of what seemed a pretty straightforward type. I think it was about 12 (or $2.50), quite pricey for Istanbul, but it was a big piece and it was definitely the best baklava I have ever had. It was moist but not too sweet.

VERDICT: 88/100
Baklava at its best!