Grexico: A Mexican in Athensby Anna Pantelia & Taher Jazmati
On Friday evening, after a long week, my friend Taher and I decided to go out for a light dinner around Syntagma Square. Along the road which leads to Monastiraki, we saw a sign: “Grexico, Mexican Street Food”. Even though Mexican cuisine is not my top choice I decided to give it a try.
It’s been slightly more than a month since Grexico opened its doors to Athenians and it basically serves four things: burritos, quesadillas, tacos and… margaritas! As it’s a street food place, we ordered at the till and then sat outside. The two ladies preparing and serving the food welcomed us and kindly helped us choose our food. We decided to go for their “best sellers” – a quésadilla with cheese (of course), corn, chicken, tomatoes and a burrito with beef, sour cream sauce and guacamole.
The burrito was a challenge for me as I am not a big fan of the avocado, actually I think I hate it. In Greece, avocados are not very popular, Greek grandmothers don’t even know they exist, but lately, with more and more vegetarians and vegans around, the avocado is becoming more “known”.
What is more interesting is that according to Taher, the avocado is quite famous in Syria because of its magic power. From 200 BC, the Aztecs considered the avocado an aphrodisiac; they even named it “testicle tree” as they often hang in pairs. Today, its fame seems to have reached even the other side of the world! He tells me that women in Syria do not eat avocados but the Mexican fruit seems to be extremely popular among men who drink avocado-shakes in order to improve their sexual performance.
So, back to Grexico. Our order was served and the naughty details about avocados were left aside.
The quésadilla was served on a plastic tray, covered with wax paper with the Grexico logo and was cut in four pieces while the burrito was wrapped in foil. The temperature of the quésadilla was perfect, not too hot but not cold either, however the corn and the small tomato pieces made it a bit messy to eat with your hands. As Grexico’s slogan declares, this Mexican restaurant is infused with the flavors of Greece, therefore the taste is adapted to Greek standards which basically means: not too spicy! The tomato added some freshness to the burrito and the hints of coriander gave it a more exotic tone. Again, coriander is not widely used in Greece in contrast with its twin, parsley, which is used almost in everything. If you don’t like coriander then Mexican cuisine is not for you!
The burrito was served cold, which was a surprise as in Greece meat is not served cold. However, it went well with the sour cream sauce and guacamole. Surprisingly for me, the guacamole wasn’t as bad as I was expecting it, neither was the sour cream sauce – the flavors were quite neutral, the beef had no spices and almost no salt so overall it felt like something was missing, maybe just salt? It was good for a quick and light snack but not enough if you’re starving.
Grexico has a good atmosphere, very friendly staff, it is very clean and all in all a good fast food choice to get detoxified from souvlaki and kebabs but if you don’t want to spend more than 10 euro when you’re starving then probably this not the right place for you.
Burrito with beef – €6.20 | Quesadilla with chicken – €5
Written by Anna Pantelia & Taher Jazmati | Edited by Gigi Papoulias
photo credits: Anna Pantelia