Sunday, March 12, 2017

Lefkada, Greece: Athani Village and Lovely Sunset Dinner at Lefkatas

In my earlier blog post on the stunning Porto Katsiki Beach, I mentioned that Porto Katsiki would be best combined with a dinner (or lunch) in Athani Village.

Dinner at Lefkatas
Athani Village

Mountain village of Athani in the southwestern part of Lefkada.

When I was researching online about our day trip to Porto Katsiki Beach, I found out that the nearest village is Athani which is approximately 20 minutes with the car. Chances are, if you are coming from the north of the island going to Porto Katsiki or Egremni, you will pass by Athani, and if you are coming from the east in the area of Nydri or in the south in Vasiliki, you may still pass by Athani if the dirt road near Vasiliki to Porto Katsiki is closed. This dirt road was closed last year so we did the via Athani village detour.

So our plans for this particular day were a lazy day at the beach at Porto Katsiki and dinner later in Athani. I was eyeing this restaurant called Lefkatas which I read has great (sunset) views of the vast Ionian Sea. The food ratings seem to be promising as well. But we shall see when we get there, you never know if the restaurant turns out to be a disappointment in real life.

[To read the rest of the post and see more pictures, click the READ MORE link below]

ATHANI VILLAGE AND THE PANORAMAS

After a long beach afternoon at beautiful Porto Katsiki, we piled back into the car and drove back to Athani. We have passed by this village on our way earlier to the beach.

Athani is a mountain village set on the cliffs of the southwestern coast of Lefkada Island. The village is facing the Ionian Sea and is famous in the island for its stunning sunset views. There are bars, cafes and tavernas along the road here offering the fabulous Ionian Sea panorama. This is a local prized attraction and I can understand if it gets busy here during the months of July and August, although it wasn’t when we were here on the 1st of July, a week before peak season starts.

Athani Village Lefkada

The village is very small and there are about 200+ people living here surviving primarily on agriculture and tourism.

The nearest beaches are Gialos, Egremni and of course, Porto Katsiki. We wanted to visit Gialos but didn’t have enough time. Egremni was closed from the road due to the earthquake in 2015 and is only reachable by boat. I heard great stories about Egremni Beach that it can rival Porto Katsiki in beauty.

SIGHTSEEING TIP:

For the history enthusiasts, there is a 16th-century monastery nearby called Agios Nikolaos Niras (this is after Porto Katsiki).



The mountain village of Athani is approximately 20 minutes driving distance (10 kilometres) from Porto Katsiki Beach.

Panorama cafe taverna Athani

Here are a few of the panorama bar cafes and taverna in Athani Village, and some of the roadside honey souvenir stores.

Athani Village
Roadside cafe taverna Athani Lefkada

A roadside cafe and taverna in Athani.

HONEY - LOCAL ARTISAN PRODUCT IN ATHANI

Athani village is also known for its locally produced aromatic honey. We saw many honey beehive boxes during our drive to Porto Katsiki and there were many roadside makeshift stalls selling honey in jars and jugs, as well as olive oil.

Beehive Boxes Honey Stores Athani

You might ask – What do you use Greek honey for?

Well the Greeks use honey for many things. As topping on their yoghurt for example. As the main ingredient in their local pastries and delicacies such as baklava, candy nuts and much more. I personally like using honey for my pancakes and also for dressing my salads and for garnishing dishes, i.e. as glazing on top of a steak.

I did not buy though as I still have some honey left at home. When I am in Greece I normally buy 2 items to bring home: Herbs and Halloumi cheese. I have however bought honey in the past.

LOVELY SUNSET DINNER AT LEFKATAS

I found Lefkatas Restaurant online but it doesn’t mean that when I have shortlisted a restaurant I will for sure eat there. What I normally do is to survey the place first when I am there and see if the restaurant meets my standards. Then I go check out other restaurants in the area for comparison and make the decision on the spot.

Earlier in the day, as we were driving on our way to Porto Katsiki and passing the village of Athani, we saw cafes and tavernas along the road, so I told the Dutchman to slow down a bit. I spotted a really nice looking taverna on the street with a small terrace hanging out on a cliff. I can imagine that the panorama from that terrace would be fantastic especially during sunset. As we slowly passed by the taverna I thought it looked familiar. I then told the Dutchman and Dutch mother that this taverna could be where we will eat later that evening. They nodded in agreement.

Lefkatas taverna
Lefkatas Athani Lefkada

So indeed, at the end of the day, we came back to this taverna, but not after having surveyed the other places in the village. It was then that I realised that the taverna is Lefkatas, the restaurant I have shortlisted during my research. Now that explains why it looked familiar after having seen a few photos online.

I can tell you that this dinner was one of the bests we have had in Lefkada. The food here is a delightful fusion of typically Greek and modern cuisine. The dishes were very well thought of, representing the cosmopolitan makeup of holidaymakers visiting this mountain village and the island. The food served on the plates was also very tastefully and artistically presented. This restaurant really goes a notch further in making sure their guests are enjoying the food and dining experience. Well done!

We started with some bread with olive and tomato tapenade and butter with chives. Dutchman and Dutch mother both had some lemon drink in a funky glass while I settled for the local white wine. Then the Greek Salad to share arrived which we quickly devoured.

For our main courses, we all have different dishes. Dutchman had a (Greek?) burger with barbeque sauce and thinly sliced homemade potato chips. He said this was all good. The Dutch mother had a grilled pork steak which she enjoyed as well. I, on the other hand, decided on a seafood dish, cooked mussels and rice in tomato sauce. This was delicious but I could not finish the rice.

We closed the dinner with the usual coffee and some baklava rolls oozing with honey and garnished with vanilla ice cream on top. The baklava was a treat from the restaurant—thank you very much!

Most importantly, we enjoyed very much the sunset views and the fresh surroundings from the hanging terrace here at Lefkatas. This was a lovely and very laid back dinner that makes me smile every time I think about it. That’s what holidays are for, right? Happy memories with your loved ones...

Ah, we can’t wait to go back to the Greek Islands again this summer.

Dinner at Lefkatas in Athani Village
Lemon drink at Lefkatas

Their fresh lemon drinks are tastefully presented, along with some nibbles.

Lefkatas taverna
Greek Salad Bread Lefkatas Athani

Greek Salad (again) as a starter to share.

Greek Salad Lefkatas
Lefkatas restaurant

Yours truly, of course. I was very tempted to order the lemon drink as well.

Dinner at Lefkatas in Athani Village

Our delicious dinner spread on the terrace of Lefkatas with the view of the lush mountains and the Ionian Sea in the far distance.

Burger Chips Athani

Dutchman's main course. I think this was a local version of a (Greek) burger with barbeque sauce and thinly sliced homemade potato chips. The Dutchman liked this.

Grilled pork steak Lefkatas

This is the Dutch mother's main course: Grilled pork steak with barbecue sauce and thinly sliced homemade potato chips.

Mussels rice Lefkatas Athani
Mussels rice Lefkatas

And this is mine: Mussels and rice in tomato sauce. I enjoyed this dish, really delicious, but could not finish all the rice!

Sunset Athani Lefkada
Lefkatas Terrace
Sunset at Lefkatas and Baklava

As we sip our coffee and taste the sweet baklava rolls with vanilla ice cream from the house, we are enjoying the sun setting down the horizon on the Ionian Sea.

Coffee at Lefkatas Athani
Sunset Lefkatas Athani

The southwestern coast of Lefkada has the best sunset views.

Lefkatas restaurant Athani Lefkada

Travel Period: July 2016
Destination: Athani, Apollonoi (Lefkada Island - Ionian), Greece

Keep in touch and follow me on Facebook: Travel & Lifestyle Diaries by Dutched Pinay Travels
Happy Travels! Enjoy Life =)

All pictures were taken by a point and shoot pocket camera or a smartphone.

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