A sensory experience, connection to the roots, journey of the mind: if these are your synonyms of the word ‘food’, write one more down: Valaora Resto Nafplio.
Could an exquisite dinner be locked in your memory box forever? Is it worth coming to Nafplio just to taste a slice of happiness? Can a dish take you on a trip in space and time? As far as Valaora restaurant is concerned, the answers to these questions are yes, yes, and once again yes!
In the hospitable venue of Anthemion Suites & Villas, in the middle of an Argolic olive grove, 25-year-old chef Dimitris Paliouras opened, in April 2020, an haute cuisine restaurant, which he named after his village in Evrytanian Agrafa, Valaora.
Accumulating culinary studies, apprenticeship, and experience in top-rated Athenian restaurants, Dimitris and his mentor, the great executive chef Kostas Terzoudis, created a menu that, with tradition and creativity, also unites in the same marmite tastes from Evrytania and Argolis cooked on the same fire, making Valaora a synonym of creative Mediterranean cuisine.
The Illusion of Space
Harmoniously integrated into its natural environment, with slight additions of understated luxury, the restaurant lies in two places, indoors and outdoors.
In the oblong internal space, with an emphasis on the earthly material of wood, there are on the one hand the large windows, that look like landscape paintings depicting a lush olive grove. On the other hand, there are the open glass partitions, that direct the gaze to the surrounded by plants, flowers, and herbs swimming pool, which shines like a sea under the caress of the sunrays or the moon.
The internal space is ideal for savoring a refined lunch, while the external one is idyllic for a romantic dinner; their combination ingenious.
The Grandeur of Simplicity
I take the menu in my hands – a menu that is leather-bound, with a decorative collage on its first page – with a minimalist logo, an unambiguous font and a bright yellow "V", like a straw of the Greek soil.
The dish recommendations are clear, specific, Doric in their presentation, denoting in a clear way the chef’s philosophy.
Greens, tomatoes, beetroot, mackerel: the salads are monosyllabic, the tastes and their conception multidimensional. We select tomatoes with tsalafouti cheese, samphire, cucumber, olives, carob rusk and beetroot with pecan, pear, goat cheese and beetroot leaves – explosions of joy for the taste buds!
Carpaccio and ceviche of the daily fish special, tartar steak: the three raw appetizers rock in a unique way the unparalleled value of freshness, with Greek bottarga meeting the soy, the cherry tomatoes flirting with the chili and mango, the Florina pepper "talking" to the sumac.
From the appetizers, the anchovies with ginger, pickles and wasabi fish roe surpass our expectations and the palate embraces the bogana – croquettes, oregano sauce, tomato tartar and feta cheese.
I fall within the "living solely on appetizers and a bottle of good wine" category and, in this particular case, I can have both – what a joy!
I am looking at the up-to-date wine list and its labels take me on a journey from Peloponnese to Crete, from Santorini to Imathia and from Parnassus to Tyrnavos. I will not risk choosing one on my own and therefore, I ask for help from the polite staff, in order to have the ideal pairing.
The Main Theme
I confess that the appetizers live up to their names: they whet my appetite for the main dishes. After all, how can you say no to Paliouras’ "cacio e pepe" gogkes, with lemon gel, trout and cured egg yolk. How can you resist the now renowned couscous with shrimp, the rigatoni, the risotto, the rooster with cannelloni, the lamb with Jerusalem artichokes, the daily cut beef with pont-neuf potatoes and string beans, the Iberico pork with ginger and mango tartar? It is almost an insult not to taste them…
In Every End There is a New Beginning
The time for dessert comes and one of our convives is heard uttering the phrase "How about finishing our meal with…". I interrupt him. No, we do not want to finish our meal. A good meal does not only put an end to somebody’s appetite. On the contrary, it opens a memory box, bringing back childhood memories and the carefreeness at the village, it becomes a passport for the trips you have taken and the ones you have been dreaming of.
A good dessert will become a caress, but even now it is not easy to choose, and our dining company give their consent to many, in order for us to have a taste of everything. Pleasure must be shared and now pistachio brownies with lime ganache and mango tartar, bitter chocolate cremeux and frozen yoghurt, raspberry sorbet with red fruit coulis and pineapple carpaccio with passion fruit, almond sable and coconut sorbet arrive on the table. We savor them making unconscious sounds of indulgence with every spoonful and exchanging conspiratorial glances with the adjacent tables, like in a Last Supper, in which the only betrayal is leaving.
We are not leaving, we extend our night with a few Mai Tais, Negronis and Cosmopolitans by the swimming pool, toasting to the chef that offered us this unique journey. Until we meet again!
Did you know that?
You better make a reservation in advance, especially if you are a large group.
Valaora boasts an exceptional kids menu, with tastes such as rigatoni, classic pizza, mini burgers and chicken fillet.
Despite the swimming pool being available only to hotel guests, on its premises you can still savor a light lunch, selecting a salad, a burger or a classic pizza. Or -why not- book a hotel room in Anthemion Suites & Villas and therefore, live the complete experience of enjoying all the facilities that can be offered.
The venue of the restaurant can host a small event, conference or convention, and a wedding or baptism reception.
Full Menu and daily specials
From April 1st to October 30th
Monday to Sunday
19:30 to 23:30