Santorini: A Small Greek Island in Americana Plaza
Angie El Batrawy
Few things in life can compare to a fully immersive meal that transports you to the homeland of its cuisine. This is what happened to us at Americana Plaza’s Greek restaurant, Santorini.
Located next to flower shop, Khadra, the restaurant’s decor resembles the same shades of white and blue you would find on the island of Santorini, one of the most beautiful and well known Greek islands. The indoor area is mainly occupied by the kitchen while the outdoor area is occupied by colourful chairs.
Most of the items on the menu were new to us, which left us with a sense of excitement and a curiosity to try it all. Impressively, the chef at Santorini, Myrsini Lambraki, is the author of twenty-four cooking books published over the last 15 years, and is also cooking show presenter on Greek television.
After scanning the menu, we opted for a Youvarlakia soup (24LE) and a Patatosalata (25LE) for our starters, and for our mains, Moussaka (58LE) and a Solomo (125LE).
First, we were served a fresh bread basket accompanied by olive paste, olive oil and feta cheese. The bread smelt incredible, and all together the starters tasted magnificent.
Next, the Youvarlakia soup was served. Consisting of beef and rice meatballs in a zesty broth, we can’t deny we’ve never had meatballs in a soup before, but the amalgamation of flavours was just perfect, and the portion was quite decent. Shortly afterwards came the Patatosalata, made with diced potatoes, spring onions, olive oil, lemons and capers. Despite the simplicity of the ingredients, the freshness and strong flavours of each element came together wonderfully.
The Solomo, or a Salmon Steak, was served with rice with spinach and beetroot and topped with a lemon-dill sauce; the salmon was cooked well and had just the right colour and flavour – more testemant to the old adage that less is more. Again, the ingredients were simple, but everything was cooked perfectly and tasted fresh.
We didn't think things could get better, but the true star of the night was the Moussaka. Made with slices of eggplant, zucchini and potatoes topped with a minced beef and tomato sauce, béchamel sauce and parmesan cheese, once again, everything came together perfectly and fans of the Egyptian version of moussaka will be more than pleased.
After essentially demolishing our food, we found a little space for dessert and opted for a Glyko Boukies (28LE) and a funky blue drink called a Blue Shore (23LE).
The Glyko Boukies is similar to a Profiterole except without being covered in chocolate; it's also considerably lighter but with all the flavour and sense gluttony as its peer. The Blue Shore, an orange peel extract, was refreshing, but the ratio of juice to ice was off.
After waddling out of Santorini, we were left with one question: why aren't there more Greek restaurants in Cairo?