Travel: Top Table - Archaeon Geyseis, Athens

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Kodratou 22, Athens (00 30 1 52 39 661)

Ambience and clientele

Burning torches herald your arrival at what must surely be the world's only restaurant devoted to ancient Greek cuisine. Despite a seedy location in a former parking lot near the station, it feels like a hammy Fifties stage set ("Carry On Up the Symposium?"). About half the clientele are tourists, but it's also popular with thirtysomething Greeks who enjoy the sense of theatre. 7/10

Design and service

The slave-to-citizen ratio in ancient Athens was 20-1. Service here is not quite as intensive, but a constant stream of girls dressed in taupe chitons and men in tabards makes a change from the average Greek waiter. The tables are widely spaced and surrounded by mock-Ionian pillars which rise out of the plant islands. Authenticity extends to not supplying forks (they didn't exist in ancient Athens), but you do sit on chairs rather than recline on benches. 8/10

Romance factor

"Oy, Sid, pass us a fig." "Ooh, me laurel wreath's killing me." 5/10

Best table

In the centre, amid all the action, with the best view of this gargantuan site.

Snoot factor

Money is all in Athens, so the relatively expensive food scores highly. But to be snobbish about this place misses the point. 6/10


Takes the form of a newspaper - lead story, "Cuisine Of The Ancient Greeks Discovered". Inside, quotes from ancient writers reveal the sources of the dishes. The green salad (peppered with pine and pomegranate seeds) cues a discourse on sperm. Ten people ordering in advance can have piglet, "its belly richly full with small birds, egg yolks and small pieces of meat cooked with pepper". 8/10

Wine list

Heed the words of Astidamus: "If the man fills with wine he becomes unkempt, if he drinks a little, he becomes thoughtful." The two reds and two whites are made ancient-style: concentrated, then mixed with water and honey - not unlike Muscat.


Dinner for two, around 20,000 dr (pounds 42). 8/10

Oh yeah, and the food

The goat's leg "for two" would have fed four, with enough garlic to destroy a vampire convention. The pork stuffed with plums, served with artichoke and mushy peas, was delicious. Finish with fruit and savour a Peter Greenaway moment as the platter is borne aloft by a nymphette. 9/10