When I first visited Ten Tables, I had to count them to confirm the truth of the restaurant’s name.


Manolis Papoutsakis, chef and co-owner, had told me about his new venture a long time ago, while eating Boubouristi snails (a classic Cretan recipe) at Haroupi – his first restaurant – and drinking raki (strong Greek alcoholic spirit). “We will be serving mezedes (a selection of small dishes served as appetizers), but not in the traditional Greek way,” he told me. And so it happened; small portions, on equally small plates, which were placed in the middle of the table and insistently sought the company of tsipouro (Greek alcoholic spirit distilled from pomace), ouzo (Greek anise-flavoured) or raki. Every dish carries with it a well-crafted idea; an idea that was based on tradition but with a more modern and fresh look. This is exactly what the chef wanted to achieve; to approach mezedes anew from a different perspective, while sticking to the concept of sharing.

Ten Tables, which opened shortly before the first lockdown, is not your typical tavern. Nor is it a restaurant. It’s an interesting and flavourful “genre” in its own right. Take for example the smoked sardines on Greek raw gemista (Greek stuffed vegetables) that you will order again and again. Or, the smoked mackerel with wheat tabbouleh and ascordulakous (delectable pickled bulbs widely consumed in Crete) and the beef liver with pickled onions, thyme, red fruits and coffee –a special combination indeed, but also very tasteful.

Hailing from Kissamos in Hania, Manolis clearly draws inspiration from his homeland’s gastronomic culture. Hence, on the menu you will find his green ntakos (Cretan rusk salad) with myzithra (traditional Greek whey cheese), pistachios from Aegina and fresh basil, his smoked lamp with a delicate trahana cream (trahana is a traditional Greek pasta-like product) and sheep milk yogurt, as well as his addictively delicious French fries with staka (fresh cream butter), Greek caviar, fig and lemon.

Of course, I cannot fail to mention the very summery grilled green beans combined with peach, walnut, Cretan soft cheese, shrimps and topped with olive oil-lemon sauce, the hot dog with octopus sausage in buttery brioche bread, and the “deep fry” quail served with smoked dried plum cream. All of the above delicacies reflect the chef’s foreign influences, as well as his unique ability to incorporate them to the culinary culture of Greece.

Ten tables (plus a few more) are now set on a pedestrian street, still conveying a nice atmosphere. The view of the sea peeking out between the tall buildings, the laughter and the sounds of clinking glasses give the neighborhood a lively flair; this is how summer flows in Thessaloniki; delightfully.

4 Stratigou Kallari Str. Thessaloniki, Reservations: +30 2310 251010