You always wonder where to have a relaxed dinner on a Sunday night or late, after the opera or a film in the Latin quarter? Well, Alexandre Seillière and Hugo de Mondragon, who met at Northborne boarding school when they were twelve, have the answer. A refined Greek restaurant, Spíti Sou (at home in Greek) next door to La Pérouse on quai des Grands Augustins, facing the Seine. The decor is lovely, in deep blues and pale wood and the welcome extremely gracious even though I had booked under a fake name. They opened quietly two weeks ago in the middle of August, when Parisians are away, and tourists wander along the Seine. Hugo spent many years in Shanghai running French bars and restaurants, Alexandre comes from the financial world and has a formidable Greek American wife Melina Kontos (they were married in June). The chef, Paul Evangelopoulos, is Greek.
I am not so familiar with Greek cuisine but it seems that here, all dishes are typical home cooked food with my favorites of the evening, the delicious Spanakopitakia, a very light crust filled with spinach and feta cheese and the Kolokythokeftedes, grilled courgettes beignets. We had some “crudo des Cyclades”, the fish of the day cut as a sashimi with a very pretty decor of raw vegetable. It was extremely pleasing to the eye but not particularly tasty. It probably depends of the fish. And we also voraciously ate the tarama of pourtargue, very light and creamy, with fabulous pita bread made on the premises. The restaurant used to be “Les Bouquinistes” and the excellent cooking material could be used immediately by this new team. I visited everything and it was extremely clean and organized.
The surprise was the wine, an excellent Greek red Gounemissa, which comes from the North West of Thessalonica. Its color reminded me of pinot noir and it was light and served slightly cool. But the mineral water was your basic San Pellegrino. I was disappointed and wished it had been Greek. We did not take a main course which you share: the Giouvetsi (Osso buco), the pasta with shells or the Greek ratatouille but they all looked excellent at our neighbors’ table. But we did indulge in the orange cake the Portokalopita which was a perfect way to end the meal. There is also a plate of Greek cheeses if you want.
If I wanted to be slightly critical, I would say that the music is a little loud but was turned down as soon as we asked AND a major drawback in every restaurant today, dessert is served with spoons and no forks. For well brought up young men this is not acceptable… Please buy some dessert forks! The cocktails are delicious. We had the TsipourOPA, but the Mastiha gin and tonic was probably also good with cucumber juice and lemon 14€.
The restaurant was full on Sunday night and there was a chic group of 15 young and older who cam straight from the rugby match at Stade de France where Les Bleu beat the Wallabies 41 to 17. Another group of five came from the neighborhood and was again a mix of very young and older members of the family. So the atmosphere is extremely casual but elegant and everyone seemed happy to “baptize” this new Parisian spot.
The check was 130€ for two, appetizers range from 9€ for tzatziki to 22€ for braised octopus. Main dishes are 28€ to 38€ for two to share. Spíti Sou is only open for dinner from 7 pm to midnight, Wednesday to Sunday, at 53 quai des Grands Augustins.
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