Every now and then, the ‘stars align’ and you have a dining experience that you’ll remember for a long time. Tonight was one of those experiences.
Earlier today I passed one of many outdoor cafes in Thessalonika but I made a mental note of this one. Whilst most seem to be focused on coffees and cocktails, this establishment was clearly set up for dining, as it had olive oil and balsamic on each of the tables. So, this evening, when I was ready to eat, I walked back to the ‘Frutti Di Mare Fish Bar’ located on a narrow lane next to the market place (20th Str. Komminon).
I hadn’t noticed that it was a fish-focussed restaurant until I sat down and saw the menu. But the menu had a nice selection so it was a challenge to decide what to go with.
First up was lavas, the local traditional bread that is baked with oregano and sea-salt to enhance the flavour. It comes with a request that you don’t cut it with a knife but that you pull it apart with your hands, as in the old days. The bread and the olive oil based dip were wonderful.
A Greek Salad whilst in Greece was an easy choice in the end. It was the best Greek Salad that I’ve ever tasted and it doesn’t look like most of the Greek salads that I’ve had before. Very tasty!
My choice for the entree was a shrimp spaghetti dish that is prepared table-side. And it was prepared with love! It was obvious that the server loved the food and took pride in it. He told me that they used to prepare the dish inside a wheel of parmesan cheese but that the government health department has prohibited the practice. As a result, they had a dummy parmesan wheel made from marble in which they prepare the dish. First, 24-month aged parmesan is grated into the wheel/bowl.
The cooked spaghetti is then added along with shrimps, mushrooms, olive oil, truffle oil, another oil (forgot which type) and 80-proof liquor (set alight). The liquor helps to infuse the flavour of the truffle oil.
The whole process melts the parmesan cheese which is tossed and mixed with the rest of the dish. A mix of hand-ground pepper (red, black and white pepper) is then sprinkled on top.
The spaghetti dish was very nice and the entire dining experience was an excellent one – very memorable. If I wasn’t leaving Thessaloniki tomorrow, I’d return to try the grilled octopus dish. The cost for the entire meal, including two glasses of wine, was 34 Euros.
The website for the restaurant is www.fruttidimare.gr