Handpicked travel choices in Florina.
Diethnes (kafeneio aka greek style coffee shop)
Do not leave from Florina without going to Theo Angelopoulo’s favorite spot – as well as the set location for several of his films, the Greek coffee shop “Diethnes”, which used to be the ground floor a former notable city hotel back in the 1920s, is a typical hang-out for the old men of Florina, who go there to play cards and drink local tsipouro with friends. Nevertheless, the shop is also famous for its mouthwatering appetizers (such as homemade salted fish, pot baked beans, locally made kebabs, kagianas – scrambled eggs, pickles and fried cod with garlic paste).
During the cold winter days get there to warm your heart next to the wooden stove and the owner‘s storytelling about the Angelopoulos family.
With tall glass doors, facing other historic buildings of this Northern Greek city, there is no doubt it’s the best spot for daydreaming, and indeed transports the visitors into another era, when life in Florina was rich and vigorous.
(next to Florina Fokl Museum/Megalou Alexandrou Str, 78,
You won’t notice this shop unless you look straight into the stoa on Spyraki, one of the notoriously famous arcades for tsipouro lovers, nearby the Central Market. Retro posters on the walls and pictures of pop stars from an earlier era, old-fashioned furniture, vintage swim bathing suits, signature cocktails against the traditional scent of loukoumades are what attract trendy locals and Florina-dwellers here for coffee/breakfast/early drinks/dj sets, on a daily basis. If you happen to be downtown Florina on a Wednesday or Saturday, get to Magiṓ to grab a bite of Greek-style cooked fried dough with vanilla cream.
For their yummy pancakes (in many variations).
For they offer frothy rose latte (!)
For dessert – we understand your sweet cravings– we recommend the shop’s lemon tart (the most beautiful comfort pie on earth). Although every single sweet course is delicious and goes well with one of their flavored coffees.
(Magiṓ, 11-1 Spyraki walkaway, 694 752 0477)
This one’s for all you meat lovers out there. Finding a kebab restaurant in Florina town is not hard. The Macedonian city is the culinary mecca of kebabs. Polatidis may actually be the city’s real crowning glory. Not just for its simplest ingredients of exquisite quality, but for the general atmosphere and aesthetics of a genuine tavern. Tables lined all close to each other, this is the place where the old people are regulars, enjoying their early meals and tsipouro. Mostly the shop is celebrated for its «kebapia», also called kebabs, served on a relatively small plate together with sliced onions topped with red florina peppers; however we also recommend trying the pickled vegetables and its Anatolian-style fresh salad.
(Apart from the food) To listen to the stories of old men from around the town.
Nearby the Central Market (Hassou N. & Tagmatarchou Naoum Str.,
Drive farther west in Florina region, to the village of Xino Nero (about 35 km from Florina town), for a one-of-a-kind culinary experience, where excellent gourmet food is made by local fresh quality ingredients and Greek imagination intersects with creative International gastronomy. In the very heart of the hamlet’s world-renowned restaurant, is pioneer chef Nikolaos Kontosoros, famous for his artistry with food and his ability to reinvent local cuisine. Kontosoros has created exciting, highly original signature dishes for his homeplace, Florina. Meatballs with saffron (known as «makalo», a gravy enjoyed in practically every household in Western Macedonia); pork tenderloin beside thick boiled wheat and yogurt; and local red florina pepper ajvar.
Undoubtedly one of the best meals you can have in Greece.
Enhance this extraordinary gastronomic journey by pairing your food with excellent local wines. The shop’s wine celar includes various etiquettes from the Greek terroir.
(Kontosoros, Xino Nero Florinas, 2386081256, http://www.kontosoros.gr)
Not to be missed shouts:
Don’t go from Florina without a bite of the handmade bread loafs and fresh-baked koulouri aka simit, (which is perfectly paired with local cheese – florinela), various homemade pies as well as other delicacies, best breakfast options to fuel up your day. Try Simo’s bakery at the heart of the city, the shop is baking bread in a wood fired oven on a daily basis!