I’ve been coming to this incredibly authentic, cheap, unpretentious gem of a neighborhood Greek taverna since I remember myself. Roumeli (even though in my family we just call it ‘Spyros’ after the friendly manager) is where, as a kid, I’d bring my Game Boy to sit through boring celebrations. For many years my familiarity with it meant that I didn’t respect it as much as it deserved.
Growing up, though, I was able to open up to its true greatness and nowadays I see it as my duty to bring Roumeli to the attention (and stomach) of as many people as possible. My favorite part is always my friends’ reaction after we’ve had a meal to remember and Spyros tells us how much we need to pay: it invariably falls somewhere between delighted and shocked disbelief.
I always make it a point to order fish when I’m paying a visit and even though anything’s a safe bet here (I’ve never actually seen their menu and have no idea if they have one!) I recommend getting some of the fattest French fries (2€), the tastiest roast sardines and the juiciest, firmest horta you’ll ever have had the delight to savor.
If you need more convincing, it’s in a very quiet part of Nea Smyrni (four blocks from tram stop Aigaiou), surrounded by trees & plants and with a heated exterior. Just remember that Spyros doesn’t speak English, but “he always finds a way!” – there’s always somebody around eager to help out.