One of my favourite walks in Athens is in the picturesque and peaceful neighbourhood of Ano Petralona. Starting from Filopappos Hill, I go downhill towards Troon Street to end up at Merkouri Square. On the way, I come across the well-kept detached houses of the previous decades, the small gardens, the local stores, and the numerous cafes, bars, and restaurants of the area.
My walk usually ends up in Valitsa (which means suitcase in Greek), a beautiful cafe and restaurant. First of all, Valitsa has a unique interior, with one wall covered by old, authentic suitcases. The suitcases have different colours and sizes, some in good condition and others damaged by the passage of time. When you look at them, it is as if they all want to tell you their stories. Valitsa also houses a grocery store with traditional Greek products.
But don’t forget that all of these are accompanied by a variety of extraordinary Greek dishes. Although the main influences are from Cretan cuisine, you will also taste flavours from other parts of Greece. Among the dishes that stand out are zucchini flowers stuffed with rice, skioufihta (traditional pasta) baked in the oven, and stuffed sausages (with sun-dried tomato and feta cheese). However, a special mention must be made of the excellent “Valitsa” salad (a nest of dough with lola, arugula, sun-dried tomato, walnut, green apple, and Gruyere flakes). Valitsa is a well-welcoming place with great food, excellent decoration and service with a smile.