Thomas, borderland gastronomy at Sklithro, Florina!

October 02, 2013
Thomas is one of the most fascinating and commendable restaurants in Greece! The deeply flavourful cuisine, the incredible wine list and the impressive interior take on a whole new dimension here, in the middle of nowhere!
7.0
Atmosphere:
Service:
Wine List:
3.5 / 5.0
3.5 / 5.0
4.0 / 5.0
Type:
Quality:
Cuisine:
Casual & Chic
Gourmet
Greek


Dining here was one of my main incentives for visiting West Macedonia. We’re driving at night on the highway connecting Florina and Kastoria; we take the turning for Nymfaio and continue along the dark road, past signs warning of bears and wolves!

The atmosphere is quite surreal when, after another turn, we find ourselves at the illuminated entrance to Sklithro, Thomas’ guest house is on our left and the restaurant on the right. The sight is rare in Greece. In other countries, gastronomically more advanced, it may be fairly common to arrive at outstanding restaurants “hidden away” in remote villages, but in Greece this is one of the very places you experience it (a few kilometres further along there is another wonderful restaurant, Kontosoros.


The surreal feeling becomes even stronger as soon as you open the restaurant door. Heavy furniture, long tablecloths, a piano, an old gramophone, sideboards holding crystal ware... the image is one of a rustic, luxury restaurant. You are immediately enveloped by the warm atmosphere and there is another surprise as soon as you sit at the table. An iPad app undertakes to guide us through an incredible wine list featuring Greek and international labels of distinction, many of which are available in older vintages and all prices just 20-30% above retail!

The same pricing policy is applied to the food also. But the reason for coming here is not the low prices. It is the marvellous cuisine of owner/chef Nikos Paspalis (his son, Thomas, is responsible for the wines). Alongside splendid local specialities and certain more creative Greek dishes you will also find a number of less interesting and international dishes, which satisfy the needs of the local clientele and are particularly well prepared (try the schnitzel and you’ll see what I mean). But just one or two bites of the other, Greek, dishes suffice for one to realise that this is not merely the food of a good taverna, but the cuisine of a chef with talent, knowledge and great enthusiasm. In my case, one mouthful of the delectably soft frumenty with wild mushroom ragout was enough to convince me that nothing has changed here since my last visit. Sometimes, it takes only one dish to understand a restaurant’s entire philosophy. And here the key is the excellent quality of the main ingredients and the deep, substantial flavour of the dishes. The amazing saganaki with 12-month aged batzos cheese and fig chutney, the tender veal cheeks in red sauce with perfect pappardelle or the succulent and incredibly delicious lamb shank simply confirmed my initial impressions and brought to mind the exquisite venison in red sauce I had eaten here a few years ago.

The desserts are more international and ordinary than I would have liked, but that is of little consequence in view of the gastronomic experience offered by this restaurant in a far-flung corner of the country! If you are in the wider area, be sure to visit! 

Scoreboard Key
0 - 3
Poor
3.5 - 4
Average
4.5
Acceptable
5 - 5.5
Satisfactory
6 - 6.5
Good
7 - 8
Very Good
8.5 - 9
Outstanding
9.5 - 10
Excellent
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