Thursday, 14 January 2016

Leonidas - A Meat Lovers' Dream

If you love meat, hunting, wild game and all else related, this is the place for you. This very unique and extremely traditional tavern is located in the village of Ariochori about a 20 minute drive outside of Kalamata. Do not be afraid when you walk in and see your dinner hanging from the ceiling hooks and the hunting tools used throughout the ages hanging from the walls, simply embrace it. That being said, the atmosphere is quite warm and welcoming as the dining room tables are set by the fireplace of this traditional stone building.

Now let us share with you how you go about ordering in this tavern. As expected, there were no menus. Someone will come take your first order which includes anything but the meats. We ordered the traditional fried potatoes, their mixed cabbage and greens salad, feta and wine. Then the so-called "Mother" or in Greek "Mana" comes to your table and takes your meat order. You need not ask what is available, you need only look at what's hanging from the ceiling hooks. Also, you will recognize "Mana" when you see the stern look on his face and his brilliant moustache. We pointed to the lamb chops and he nodded, thus our order had been placed.

"Mana" then walked over to our meat, took it off the ceiling hook and with a machete knife began to chop the lamb on a tree stump used as a cutting board. The food was then prepared in the back kitchen and served.

It was absolutely delicious! Probably the best lamb chops we have ever tasted. From what we were told, the meats are fresh off Leonidas' local farms. His daily catch is what's hanging from the ceiling hooks. Following our dinner, we were treated to some Greek yogurt with wild cherry topping.

And so there you have it, an experience all meat lovers should experience. To find the place, simply drive to the village Ariochori and ask for Leonidas. The locals will direct you!

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