You are free. Time to eat falafel.

*Many Thanks to our guest writer for this greece-y review.

Ntoneradiko authentikon

Exarchia

Athens

This ‘authentic’ establishment proudly sits itself in Exarchia, the ‘anarchist district’ of

Athens. Even Exarchia’s name conjures anarchism – ‘ex’ denoting getting rid of something (a relationship, a species), and ‘archy’ connoting images of order and power (patriarchy, hierarchy, manarchy). The hierarchies of the racist, patriarchal, heteronormative capitalist world no longer exist in Exarchia. You are free. Time to eat falafel.

falafel ollie pic 1   falafal ollie pic 2

falafel ollie pic 3
The anarchism of Exerchia can be seen in all the far-left graffiti that plasters every orifice of the area. These are some of my favourite examples.

While not strictly a felafel joint, immediately when I walked in and howled the only Greek word I know (like the lazy colonialist I am), ‘hortophagos’ (vegetarian), the owner responded with ‘felafel!’. I knew we’d get on. Indeed, we got on so much that we came here literally every night of our trip. Sometimes we didn’t even eat here, but we’d established ourselves as such regulars that we could freely use the toilets whilst we drank bizarre sweet Greek cider or super-cheap wine in the main square.

olli falafel 4 ollie falafel picture 5

But this was not merely a marriage of convenience. The falafel is incredible. For some reason, green-coloured falafel always tastes best for me, and this was no exception. Perhaps its delicious nature was boosted by the fact it provided a break from the excessive excess and over-reliance on individual flavours that characterises most Greek food. But seriously, the green felafel has it all. Punch, warmth, depth, passion, rigour, emotion, clarity. The rest of the wrap didn’t disappoint. Greeks seem fond of putting chips in wraps, which is a welcome addition, although by the end of the week I wondered if, in terms of texture, the chips gave the structure of the wrap too much of a burden. The salad was strong: lots of raw onions also help, with their long-lasting flavour. The tahini sauce was unnecessarily harsh, but the tzatziki was incredible, so we got that every time.

falafel ollie 6

The best thing about this place, and Exerchia in general, is that everything is really cheap. Perhaps that’s my privileged isolation from Greece’s economic crisis talking – of course things will be cheap. But a 500ml bottle of wine is €1, which is about 75p. The felafel, at least compared to London, is really cheap – £4 average in London, but £1.50 here (€2). I was happy at the difference.

One strange thing about this place is the older guy who seems to be the manager. He doesn’t really do anything, just stands around looking vaguely content. We definitely didn’t make any ironic far-left jokes about Greece’s economy failing because lazy Greeks like him don’t work hard. Not at all.

Felafel wrap – 4.5/5

Value for money – 4.5/5

Atmosphere – 5/5 (you’re in Exarchia!)

10/10 would go again

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