One of the things that surprised us most about Athens was the incredible variety of food offered in this ancient metropolis. The night we arrived in Greece, we met our friend Lena of Lena’s Black Book for a dining experience at one of Athens chicest restaurants, the French-Greek Le Pavillion.
According to chef and owners Jean Charles Métayer, “In Le Pavillon I combine the two homelands of my life, France and Greece but also my two seas, the Atlantic Ocean and the Mediterranean and I create with my hand, my mind and my heart, all the precious places that have taught me, my facts and my wanderings.”
Based in a historic 1940s home and its surrounding gardens, Métayer updated and adapted the space with modern touches. Custom marble tables crafted from gray marble of Dionysus contrast with crisp white walls and art by Mary Rousioti. Métayer told us that he chose the gray marble specifically to contrast with white plates, as they would be lost on traditional white marble. He also shared that he chose the specific Tom Dixon chandelier because it reminded him of a whisk, and installed special lighting such that whenever a guest leaves, they can darken the table.
We enjoyed a six-course tasting menu paired with Greek wines and were truly impressed with the variety and creativity in the menu. Our dinner started with homemade breads, a salad with quail eggs and truffles, followed by white asparagus and crab salad.
We were so impressed with the crawfish with octopus carpaccio that we asked Chef Métayer how he gets the octopus so thin. The answer: it is cooked and then sliced paper-thin on a meat slicer.
The smoked black cod with cuttlefish ink was as entertaining as it was delicious, presented in a dome of smoke, and we thought the lamb with goat milk foam and stuffed zucchini flower was a very interesting (and elevated) take on traditional Greek ingredients. The menu concluded with the refreshing flavors of green apple, verbena, and mascarpone ice cream.
In addition to running his own restaurant, the talented Métayer is also the chef consultant at the Auberge-owned Grace Hotel on Santorini, so if you are planning a summer trip to the islands, a stop here is a must.
Le Pavillon Athens, Perikleous 31, Chalandri 152 32, Greece
Note: Le Pavillon Athens provided support for the reporting of this story.