Mealtime is when family and friends bond, celebrate, and share stories. This section is my virtual table, where I write about people, places, events, and cultural tidbits, similar to the way I might share a story over a good meal.
In addition to the port town of Katakolo and the island of Spetses, this past summer’s trip included a visit to Porto Cheli, a small coastal town two hours south-east of Athens.
When in Porto Cheli, you wouldn’t know the country has spent the past few years in the depths of a financial crisis based on the multitude of restaurants lining the port’s boardwalk and real estate sales offices on nearly every block. My guess is that part of this economic prosperity is attributable to the town’s cove, which attracts foreign sail boats and yachts seeking shelter from the open sea.
There are a number of good restaurants in Porto Cheli. Our favorite is Porto Kalamaki, an upscale Greek fast food located along the main boardwalk stretch.
Some of my favorite items on the menu are the pork souvlaki and gyro pita. Of course, if I ate these every day, I probably wouldn’t fit into my pants by the end of the trip. Thankfully, they have great salad options as well.
In addition to the food, we love the ‘al fresco’ dining, which they set up during the summer months.
Part of what makes a gyro pita so delicious is the juiciness of the meat shavings, which is lost when frozen and reheated. Imagine taking a perfectly grilled ribeye steak, cutting, freezing, and then reheating it. That’s how I feel about frozen gyro meat… So, if you are ever in Greece, don't miss out on the chance to enjoy a freshly made gyro. And if you are in Porto Cheli, make it one from Porto Kalamaki. You won't be disappointed!
If only I could enjoy these year round. Unfortunately, most if not all Greek delis in the US don’t offer souvlakis and their gyros aren’t as good as those served in Greece. The reason being that gyro in the US is prepared using meat that has been pre-sliced and frozen, whereas those prepared in Greece are made using meat shavings from pork or lamb that have been slow roasted on spits.