Bougatsadiko, or Μπουγατσάδικο if you have the Greek skills to read/speak it(!), was my favourite coffee shop in town! Located in the Psirri area of Athens, near Monastiraki, I walked past Bougatsadiko at least twice a day on my way in and out of town from my accommodation at City Circus Hostel.
Travel is the ultimate way of pulling yourself away from your comfort zone, experiencing the unexpected and sometimes forcing yourself into spontaneous opportunities that turn out to be the best decisions you make. That being said, I can be fairly set in my ways when it comes to two travel methods:
1) staying put in one place as long as possible, at the very least a week;
2) finding a ‘local’ coffee shop.
So by local I mean a place where I can get to know the people behind the counter and also receive really great food and coffee! And when I say great food and coffee I really just mean great coffee.
I discovered Bougatsadiko on my first morning, just as the heat was rising and the 2-minute walk from my hostel had already required me to put my hair up and out of my sticky face. I needed good coffee, and it needed to be cold. Having arrived late the previous night, this was really my first introduction to Greek service in Athens and boy did I get dragged straight into a sink hole in which I stayed for the next 8 days.
Rather than getting offended at my terrible non-existent Greek language skills, the guy behind the counter found it amusing as I tried to explain that I really needed coffee, that it had to be cold, and also preferably sweet. Every time I explained myself he would nod with a chuckle and say “Freddo!”
In the UK, Freddo’s are little chocolate bars and I definitely didn’t want chocolate at that time of the morning but in the end I gave up, said yes please, and proceeded to have a nose about the area while he disappeared to have a colleague make the Freddo thing. Popping back up behind the counter he then thrust a tiny pastry in to my hand. Explaining that it was cheese, I almost fell in love with him then and there whilst I nibbled at the warm crust. Only two countries I know do great cheese pastries…Malta & Greece.
And oh my days it tasted amazing! The friendly guy continued to try and make conversation whilst I tried to return the favour and also stuff my face with the best cheese pastry known to man. It was a very jokey exchange, but the dual action of talking and eating was drying out my mouth and I could have sighed when I was handed my first ever Freddo and took a long sip.
I. Was. In. Heaven.
And so for the rest of the week I continued to return to Bougatsadiko for the best Freddos in Athens, despite trying them all over town, and also for the great service! After the first friendly guy I got to meet yet another, this one with a moustache, and also the owner who was the most cheerful stereotype of an older Greek gentlemen I could have been lucky enough to meet!
P.s. a Freddo is made either as an espresso or cappuccino, and mixed with cold milk froth and crushed ice. Try it! A lot of Greeks drink Frappes but Freddos were my favourite!
Lots of love,