There is incredible strength in the choice of your location but also in your concept with this unique menu, this atypical decoration and these works of the artist “Mister Achilles”, where does your inspiration come from ?
Herve Pronzato. My inspirations obviously come from my origins, my travels, the places where I worked. In 2013, I left Greece to return there in 2019. During that time, I was in the Middle East, in Asia, I was inspired a lot by these different countries, these different cultures. I love this job, it’s more than a job, it’s a way of life. My inspiration also comes from my childhood. I have loved cooking since I was little, my grandmother cooked a lot. I remember his fruit trees in the garden. I was feeling so fine when I was with my grandmother in the kitchen.
Your restaurant is in your image, what does it express ?
I have always loved urban art. We have a large graffiti in the yard and five more in the room. They are originals, some come from Miami, from Melbourne. Graffiti is a way of expression, the one with the mask (read Mister Achilles in our What’s up? section), at the time of the Covid, is a good example. It bears witness to a period.
Why did you choose the Petralona district to settle ?
I wanted a neighborhood a little outside the center. The rents are still cheaper there and our clients come from all over Athens, so that’s not a problem.
How would you describe your cuisine ?
Creative ! I work on all products. Fish, seafood, everything is of course local. I go very often to the central market in Athens, it is ten minutes from the restaurant. From the products, comes my desire.
What type of clientele do you have ?
A very good clientele, the starting price is around 50 €. We have a majority of Greeks, city dwellers and in the summer, many foreigners come to visit us, many French people.
Athens is in full renaissance, there is a real creative energy in all the arts.
Yes, things are happening a lot in Athens, there are always new restaurants opening, it’s a very nice place for that.
And in the culinary arts, is Athens representative of this creativity ?
Yes, there are many very good addresses, of very good quality. I think the Michelin guide did not know how to attribute what should be attributed. It is a pity that many very good establishments still go unnoticed.
“Athens is a real concentrate, there is everything here”
How would you describe Athens ?
I have always been sensitive to architecture, to ancient history in general. Athens is really the appropriate city for this. It’s a real concentrate. There is everything here, history, modernism, more rural places, the sea… We have absolutely everything in this city.
What are your favorite addresses when you are not working ?
I hang around everywhere. Yesterday, I was at the Balcony to the Cyclades (Μπαλκόνι στις Κυκλάδες), about ten minutes from the center, I also go to Pelagos, near Vouliagmeni, I move everywhere. Otherwise, in terms of neighborhoods, I prefer the center, Kolonaki, Syntagma, Plaka, Psyri, Petralona obviously, I like the atmosphere there.
About the French community based in Athens, do you mix a lot ?
Above all, I have a very good friend who also has a French restaurant in Athens, Alain Parodi, we see each other a lot, we even spend holidays together.
What are your projects ?
The opening of my second restaurant ! In Petralona too, next April. A street food place.
You have, behind your somehow elitist side, a popular culture that you like to highlight, don’t you ?
Yes, we’re a gourmet restaurant, we’re a bit expensive compared to the other restaurants in Athens, but I like it when things are relaxed, I don’t like things that are fixed, waiters dressed like penguins, it’s not my style. My next Hawker restaurant, like in Asia, bears witness to this spirit. The hawkers are these centers, these community dining rooms, in which people gather to share a meal. It really is street food culture.