With Noel, I experienced what I always experience with any grand opening in the city. I had read and heard so much about it that I was fed up with it even before I went! Whenever I went on Facebook… Noel; whenever I opened Instagram… there they were, all the beautiful people. I avoided going out of sheer obstinacy, firmly believing that all the fuss about the new bar-restaurant at the end of Kolokotroni street was just the usual hype.
But when I found myself there, waiting for friends before a meal, sipping an Elisabetta, an amazing gin-based cocktail with aromas of cinnamon and basil, I regretted not having already made it a regular haunt. The tables are arranged inside the historic Kourtaki arcade, one of the coolest (in every sense) spots in downtown Athens. And I was delighted to see that Noel’s cuisine was of an equally high standard. We tried a delicious gazpacho, cold tomato soup with a rich, deeply satisfying taste.
“If your mother cooks Italian
food, why should you go
to a restaurant?”
– Martin Scorsese,
American film director
The vitello tonnato was equally good, sliced veal in a delicate tuna-flavored sauce, an emblematic Italian dish often served at Christmas (a nod to the name of the venue). Their version of carbonara was also wonderful, with broad tagliatelle, naturally no cream, but with a generous sprinkling of speck (smoked prosciutto).
If you just want to accompany your cocktail or wine with a bite to eat, the two different types of bruschetta are ideal, one with figs and myzithra cheese, the other with cherry tomatoes and mozzarella, on crunchy, country-style bread.
We were also pleased to see that the serving staff are able to guide you not only with regard to the choice of food but also the wine that best matches it, something you don’t often find in a bar-restaurant. In other words, Noel’s motto “It’s always Christmas here” proved to be most apt.
59B, Kolokotroni St.,
• Tel.: (+30) 211.215.9534