We’re so fortunate to live in such a vibrant area of Athens, in Halandri. We can simply walk a few blocks to some of the city’s best restaurants. One that caught our eye when we first moved here was Pars Persian Restaurant. I can’t believe it took us a year to finally try it! Actually, I can…it’s hard to get out to a romantic dinner when you’ve got to find and pay for a sitter in a foreign country. But I’ve decided this is no time to cheap out. We live in Greece, dammit! Let’s have some fun!
So, with that attitude, we got our butts out of the house for a much needed date night. No excuses! And I have no regrets. The restaurant was FANTASTIC. The décor was ornate and interesting. The food was ethnic, but still familiar enough to be satisfying. In addition to Greek, the menu had an English section and what I can only assume was a Persian section. Many of dishes had lamb, beef or chicken served with tomato or yogurt-based sauces and rice. Definitely some Mediterranean influences.
We picked two appetizers that paired perfectly — yogurt with dill and the kofte berenji. We also ordered Persian bread, and a pot of Persian tea to share. Perfect for a chilly February date night.
As we waited for the rest of our meal, we gazed around the ornately decorated dining room. The ceiling was draped with cloth, making the room feel intimate and cozy. Heating lamps provided extra warmth. The walls were covered with interesting elements from the Middle East. Outside the dining room there was more décor as you walked in from outside. Landscapes hung on the walls, and these little dolls greeted you on your way to the restroom.
Our food arrived without too much wait, and we dug in. I ordered the Chelo kabab, a lamb dish similar to the Greek cuisine we usually find. It was tasty, but James and I both preferred what he ordered more: the Khoreshte fesenjari.
Mine made a prettier picture. Yum! James’ dish came in a bowl with sauce, which you spooned out over rice. The sauce was rich and sweet, made with pomegranates. He got it with beef meatballs, but it can also come with chicken.
After our meal we walked back to our house, dropped off the leftovers, and took the car to The Mall. Normally we would have elected to stroll around our neighborhood, but the wind and the cold made us think otherwise. I recently discovered The Mall’s VIP parking lot, which foreign embassy employees can use for free. At 8:45 it was almost completely empty. Score!
We soon realized why. Nearly all of the shops were closed! And it was still 10 to 9 when we got there. I guess closing time operates on “Greek Time” as well. Or maybe all the shops close at…8:30? On a busy Saturday night? I don’t get it. This mall has a huge movie theater. The place was teeming with people, presumably eating at the restaurants and waiting for movies to start. Seems like a good time to open up shop. Oh well. Still too full for dessert, we grabbed a hot chocolate and took a stroll. We talked. It was nice. This is why date night is imperative. Seems like we never have a chance to just talk at home. It may be pricy, but it’s worth it.