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Cretan restaurant RAKADIKO

           (Visited in October 2009)

I have been curious about this place for a long time and finally this rainy Satursay afternoon found a good oppotunity to visit.

The entrance is like a small hole, but it is really spacious inside. I cannot estimate how many tables there are. It seems that this 'stoa' used to be a shopping arcade, and then someone with a big capital bought it all and turned it into a restaurant. Accodringly the seating capacity is surprisingly large for a restaurant in Piraeus station area where taverns tend to be small and family-run.

The menu is relatively long and includes many unusual items that I have never seen elsewhere. The unusual items are mostly Cretan specialities, but there are also things from other islands. Ah. I'd better mention also that the menu is bilingual (Greek-English).

The price of individual dishes is rather high; there are no or very few dishes below 5 and salads are around 7 euros or more. When I noticed this, I looked around and observed that the portion size is equally large. That is why we ordered only 3 dishes and they were quite sufficient for lunch.

First to come was 'horta' (5 euros), stamnagathi to be exact.

Stamnagathi is Cretan green that costs around 5 to 7 euros per kilo if I buy in Piraeus, while cheaper horta can be bought for 1 or 2 euros a kilo. It was slightly bitter and cruntchy. I also liked the oil which was fruity and sweet.

Sardines in vine leaves
Then sardines wrapped in vine leaves (7.30 euros).

This was the first time I ate sardines in vine leaves, even though I have heard about it and seen it on internet. Against my expectation, the flavour of vine leaves had little to add to the taste of fish. In Japan, we have a series of food wrapped in various leaves and in these cases the leaves add their flavour. Meanwhile, here the vine leaves serve to keep the fish meat moist and juicy, but I did not taste vine leaves themselves. This does not mean, however, that we did not like it. It was quite contrary; we both loved it and devoured with enthusiasm.
Olive leaf pasta
It took quite a while for the final dish to arrive. This is Cretan hand-made pasta with olive leaves.

The sauce is mitzithra cheese and chopped fresh spring onion. There were some grated pistacchio nuts for aesthetic reasions.

I cannot imagine how olive leaves taste like, but the pasta did have some green flavour and I loved it. What I did not like was the strong taste of raw spring onion. The flavour of both olive leaf and mitzithra cheese was rather subtle and in my opinion the excessive amount of raw spring onion was damaging it.

We ordered also a bottle of coke (€2.50) and the total bill came to €24.10 euros which was quite reasonable.

As the individual portion is pretty big, I thought I would have enjoyed more, had I came with in a large-ish group and ordered more dishes to share.

We learned that there is live music Friday and Saturday night, and Sunday lunch time (3.50 euros / person will be charged for music). While we were there, the telephone kept on ringing for reservation. If you want a table for music time, it seems to be a good idea to book.

I learnt that they don't do music during the summer (and it seemed that the food was a bit off as well). Please contact them and get informed before you go.

Stoa Kouvelou
Karaoli kai Dimitriou 5
Tel. 210 41.78.470

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We visited again in a Saturday afternoon of February 2010.

Tzatziki Patates Tiganites
Cleamy and smooth Tzatziki Rather unusual Patates Tiganites (fried potatoes) served with mustard mayonnaise
Soupies Makaronada
Cuttlefish alla 'Rakadiko'. Best dish of the day Long tube-shaped pasta with tomato sauce and generous ksino mitzithra. Not bad, but too oily to our taste

We had also a dish of horta (boiled green) and a bottle of beer. The total bill came to €33.40 (they gave us a fiscal receipt).

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