Nu Modern Greek: A STYLISH SELECTION
Right across from the entrance to the Old Port and its cultural venues, a small concept souvenir store opened recently. Its owner, Antonis Ladas, claims as his personal motto the words “Art is Alive Everywhere,” and his aim is to create a space where the items on display are both useful and beautiful, a space that positions itself in favor of style and offers the perfect setting to find the ideal gift.
More than 30 artists and craftspeople have their work here; items include handmade hats, ceramics, light fixtures, clothes and jewelry. We took special note of the handmade jeans Fit and Craft, designed in Thessaloniki for a perfect fit, using fabrics from Japan and natural dyes.
The laser-cut clothing line by the architect/designers Cutcuutur is timeless, while the avant-garde scarves and shawls are very impressive. Alongside utilitarian objects and design items, there’s also a small space for select deli products, since it would appear that there’s plenty of art in gastronomy, too.
5 Navmachias Ellis
Tel. (+30) 2310.508.050
Armenonville: a themed pAtisserie
A long-forgotten ice cream confection originally from Constantinople; that was all armenonville was until recently. Very few local patisseries made it because it was time-consuming and there was relatively little demand; until, that is, two friends, Evgenia Kalatzi and Elena Kogimtzi, managed to make it fashionable once again after one of them dusted off a traditional recipe from her family, who had operated patisseries in Thessaloniki.
Today, in their shop on a narrow street near the White Tower, they make dozens of armenonville variations, from armenonville chocolate cake to armenonville with lemon cream and meringue, served in a bowl or formed into a log with chocolate and strawberry filling.
Their updated versions (still based on the original recipe) have certainly found a warm welcome in Thessaloniki, but their classic armenonville, with almond nougat, fragrant cream semifreddo and a generous sprinkling of almonds, needs no modification whatsoever.
Tel. (+30) 2310.525.112
The bar at three Pieces: a modern speakeasy
You walk into an unassuming street-food joint to find the door to this bar concealed within a photo booth. In order to get in, you need to have your photo taken and receive a code.
Only 15 people fit inside this quirky little bar, where the bartender puts on a one-man show for the select few. Their Mai Tai is probably the city’s best, and they also do a great Strawberry Margarita. What’s more, all the cocktails, no matter what’s in them, appear clear.
Tel. (+30) 2311.221.463
HelloFrom: Lifestyle souvenirs
Anyone who walks into this stylish shop can’t help but realize that Greek design clearly has little or nothing to envy from more famous rivals, including its Scandinavian counterpart.
Select items by more than 70 Greek designers are showcased in this lifestyle souvenir shop, whose every corner looks like it’s been set up for an interior design photoshoot. One hundred and forty of the featured items have their own story to tell about Thessaloniki, referencing famous aspects of the city, such as the ceramic “koulouri” (the signature sesame seed-covered bread ring of Thessaloniki) by the artist Christina Morali, or the t-shirt by the fashion brand Parthenis, with the Greek letter “Θ” replacing its English phonetic transcription “th.”
Many of the brands showcased here combine high-quality design and a strong focus on utility with a sense of environmental responsibility, features that are now sought after in contemporary souvenirs. A 1920s washbasin, made of Kozani marble, has been upcycled and is now used as a water fountain for refilling reusable water bottles. Hellofrom has received a Red Dot Award for the communications strategy it follows.
45 Proxenou Koromila
Tel. (+30) 2310.248.742
Giulietta Spritzeria: dolce vita…Thessaloniki style
The rough limestone wall is reminiscent of Rome, while the striped awning brings to mind the vermuteria bars of Verona. Vermouth, Sicilian refreshments, sparkling wines and music from a bygone era make Giulietta Spritzeria a delightful cosmopolitan spot to spend your afternoons and evenings.
Enjoy a drink or two (or three, since they’re all low-alcohol) with pickled artichokes alla romana, fine charcuterie sliced on the spot, or a selection of cheeses. Last call for drinks is at 23:00.
Take a photo of the yellow wall with the neon light and post it on Instagram with their hashtag #spritztheday.
33 Paleon Patron Germanou
Tel. (+30) 2310.242.020
Dangara: hearty meals next to the Rotunda
This is the latest addition to the city’s gastro-bistro scene, a restaurant category that’s flourished in Thessaloniki in recent years. In the kitchen, imaginative ideas are transformed into delicious and affordable dishes.
The chef cooks in the Macedonian style, which means lots of peppers, several smoked items and sauces, and, of course, excellent local products such as cured meats, cheeses and pulses.
The cuisine is hearty and comforting. Dangara offers several wine choices, mainly from small producers. We recommend the excellent red variety, Xinomavro, which pairs so well with the food.
Tel. (+30) 2310.204.452
Valenio: coffee, expertly made
This new specialty café, located on one of the most attractive pedestrian streets in the center, is the creation of Valantis Lamprianidis, an authorized trainer (and judge) for the Speciality Coffee Association.
Part of the third wave of coffee movement, Valenio is equipped with the latest espresso machine technology and has cups with thick rims that offer a better mouthfeel. Allow them to propose the blend that best suits your appetite or chosen coffee option. For instance, Honduran beans are great for cappuccino; Brazilian coffee has chocolate flavor notes; El Salvador coffee has a delicate acidity and interesting complexity, and so on.
When you order Greek coffee, the beans are ground on the spot and slowly brewed in a briki (a traditional stove-top coffee pot). You can also buy the coffee beans for all the brews that are served here, along with an inventory of accessories and gadgets.
The café also serves breakfast, brunch and light meals; we opted for the praline pancakes and can strongly recommend them.
Tel. (+30) 2311.291.518
Contrabando: low-key and lovely
A group of five friends run this laid-back restaurant that’s quite contemporary in terms of cuisine. You‘ll enjoy well-prepared fare that’s on a par with that offered at any good gastropub.
Stand-out selections include the cod balls served with a garlicky sauce; the mussels, sourced from nearby fish farms; and the artisanal goat cheese in a filo pastry that goes perfectly with the local honey with which it is served.
Contrabando supports microbreweries and offers local beers, the ideal accompaniment to its dishes. Before or after your meal, you can browse for treasures in the antique shops of the Bit Bazaar, since the eatery stands right at one of its entrances.
Tel. (+30) 2314.028.184