If there is a restaurant that has long ago joined the history of Thessaloniki and has identified its name with it, it is “Zythos”.
Retro yet robust, with all the characteristics of a good beer house on the one hand – the first, to be precise, that opened in Thessaloniki – but also those of a restaurant on the other, welcoming and suitable for any visitor, “Zythos” is an emblematic store of the city, for many years.
From Ladadika, where it first opened in May 1990, to “Dore”, which followed in 1995, it is one of the oldest operating businesses in Thessaloniki and counts many fanatical patrons, passers-by, generations that have changed and dozens of beers that have passed through its menu being, essentially, a culinary attraction of the city that, even today, keeps the tones low and continues to earn our respect.
The two buildings
A better name than “Zythos” could not have been found for the innovative, when it opened, business, which today has established itself as a meeting point for the people of Thessaloniki and beyond. And that’s because beer got its own home here for the first time and was introduced as an alternative way of entertainment to the public of the city.
First it was located in the building in the area of Ladadika, a neoclassical building from 1902, one of the oldest in the area, consisting of five different small shops, which had collapsed in the 1978 earthquake and were completely restored in one space, with the original construction materials intact preserved.
From the moment it opened, in 1990, it managed to attract the interest of a very large portion of the city, from students and workers in the area, to artists and people in general who could try for the first time in Thessaloniki, beers from all over the world.
The stimulus came from abroad and the desire for a place that would combine beer with snacks, a proposal that did not yet exist in the city at the time and at the beginning it described itself as a “Mediterranean restaurant”.
According to its owners, it was, in fact, a Mediterranean “beer restaurant”, a “brasserie”, certainly the first store in Greece to register as a beer house, with the aim of presenting beers that were either already known, or that had been imported for the first time, always accompanied by local dishes, from the local cuisines of Greece.
The trigger for all of this was the experiences of the owner, Despina Mavrommatis, who, growing up on Ionos Dragoumi Street, had images of the shops that served beer crickets accompanied by charcuterie and cheeses in greaseproof paper and the goal was to revive these memories. Thus, the name “Zythos” was born.
Then, the former cafe-pastry shop in “Dore”, went through aging with respect to the architecture of the space and became the second store “Zythos”, directly opposite the White Tower, in a very characteristic spot overlooking the Thermaikos Gulf, which continues in the same philosophy.
The decor has retained many elements of the previous store, from the wooden bar with carved pieces, to the hand-made tiles and the original Dore sign, when it operated as a cafe.
The “Dore” business itself has a long history, being the only one that has survived in Thessaloniki for so many years (it opened in 1908 as the first Greek-language newspaper “Alithia”, to present the first “telephone center” of Thessaloniki, and even you can find the first telephone directory in the shop).
Greek and Mediterranean cuisine
For more than 30 years in “Zythos” are presented all the local cuisines of Greece, from the mainland and the islands, and its people always try to be innovative and have tables available for everyone.
Their Mediterranean, Greek and local cuisines definitely appeal to all ages and tastes and you can’t help but love “Zythos”, at any time of the day.
The beers here change every year and you can try new proposals every now and then – you will find a total of 60 proposals for mainly Greek beers – while the dishes on the menu today are much more than before, with the first concern always being to present a wide range of Greek or import beers, with an emphasis on microbreweries.
The store’s list of wines and spirits is also particularly up-to-date, including local wines mainly from Macedonia, tsipouro and ouzo, flavors that perfectly match and blend with every suggestion on the menu.
Many flavors, such as their handmade croquettes, Marianna’s dolmades with yogurt sauce and the unbeatable bread from the “Red Oven”, have remained unchanged throughout the years.
As well as the insistence on the use of the best raw materials on the market, which give dishes of corresponding quality, such as the puree of fresh Greek potatoes, the fresh marinated onion, ingredients that also shape simple, Greek recipes and traditional flavors, such as “its pilaf” or the kebab, the “pitarakia buyourdi”, the “karamanlidiko sausage” and the Caesar pie with pastourma and cheese.
Especially in this year’s list, dishes from the first list of “Zythos” have been included and revived, such as “pseudokeftes”, “palatiana” meatballs from Cappadocia, saganaki, which here is made with patties with Cretan graviera. Even their burger stands out, made exclusively from Agnus minced meat 280 g, with handmade bread and filling of grilled tomato, goat bacon, poached egg.
In the more Mediterranean flavors, ideal to match the restaurant’s wines, you will find linguine, fried rice with chicken and shrimp, barley risotto with porcini mushrooms and of course fine meats and premium cuts, such as the Greek steak, the T -bone stake, the tagliata, the Agnus Greco mutton rib.
The tastings of “Zythos”
“Zythos” – both in Ladadika and in Dore, is a seal of guarantee for the world, a shop where you will definitely have a good time, which never stands still and which always has something new to offer, either through its catalog, or through the thematic tributes in various regions that he carries out, especially those concerning Greek microbreweries.
Tributes in which local beers are presented in combination with local dishes and which have found a great response from the public. After all, it is not a small thing to have the opportunity to be “educated” by experts in the field, on the specific part of gastronomy.
You will see the special influence of the owners on the space, from the musical instruments that adorn every corner. These are people who have always supported the arts, who host Film or Documentary Festival events and who we also trust in their culinary suggestions. After all, their purpose is one: to provide services that always exceed the customer’s expectations, in a space that highlights the Greek identity with the best materials, while remaining “classically modern”!