Saturday, April 11, 2015

Coffee at Al Dente on Greek Good Friday

For perhaps the first time ever, we've had coffee out for two weeks in a row. That's three times so far this year - more than I think we've ever had coffee out in the space of four months.

We parked at the music school on Friday morning and wondered how many shops would be open, as it was a religious holiday for the 'Eastern' Good Friday. The local population are almost entirely Greek Orthodox here, and while for many of them it's quite nominal for most of the year, they make a big effort on the special and most holy days.  As we passed St Lazarus Church, we saw people emerging, dressed in black; presumably from a service to mark the day.

It was quite warm and sunny, and by the time we'd walked down to the sea front and past several restaurants, I was feeling already as if I'd been for too long in the sun. So we stopped at the first suitable looking place we came to.  Al Dente is an Italian restaurant, with photos outside showing, among other things, pizza and pasta dishes:

In between the restaurant buildings and the main part of the street, are more temporary structures where people sit to eat or have coffee; there are several of these, with plastic 'windows' that will be removed when the weather gets warmer:

We went inside and sat down at a comfortable corner table. Nobody else was there, and it felt quite peaceful despite plenty of noise in the areas outside. There was gentle romantic music from the 1970s coming through the speakers in the ceiling, but it was quiet enough that it was not at all intrusive, and we hardly noticed it, other than when we recognised songs from our teenage years.

A waiter brought us a menu; there were various coffees and frappés available, mostly at €2.90. Richard decided on an Americano hot coffee, and I opted for a frappé as I was still feeling quite warm:

We liked the fact that they came in a real mug and glass rather than plastic disposable ones. We also liked the comfortable, if slightly odd decor:

So on all aesthetic counts, we liked this place rather more than last week's Coffee Island. It was more comfortable, much less crowded, played quieter, more pleasant music, and had soft furnishings to improve the acoustics. It was nice to be waited on, too, rather than having queue; then again, we were paying almost half as much again.

Unfortunately, the drinks were not as good as those of Coffee Island. They were nice enough: we appreciated the break, and the caffeine boost, and there was nothing wrong with either the coffee or the frappé - no bitter or strange taste.  But nowhere near as good as last week's.

We sat in comfort for maybe half an hour, and one or two other customers wandered in.  When we left it started spitting with rain, and I felt quite chilly after my iced drink.

As we walked back to the car, past St Lazarus Church, we saw a queue of people - mostly locals, again - waiting to go in by a side door. The larger windows had been covered so it must have been very gloomy inside. We don't know if they were waiting for another Good Friday service, or perhaps going in to light candles and pay their respects to the ikons.

The banks and post offices were closed, but all the shops were open.  For most people, it was simply a day off work.

No comments: