At the picturesque village of Perdika in Aegina, Nontas fish restaurant lies on a waterfront setting offering views to the opposite small island of Moni and the Peloponnese coasts.
It all begun back in 1936 when Kyriakos Martis opened a taverna – emporium that he kept running until 1960 when he passed away. Nontas, who was hardly 18 at the time, succeeded kyr Kyriakos (kyr, added before the name of an old man, is a way to speak about, salute or address him in a respectful way, informal word) at the helm of the taverna. During the 60s, i.e. before the island became popular (the island owes much of its popularity to a film shot there named “Vacations to Aegina” starring Aliki Vougiouklaki, a famous leading popular actress, that has become identified with the golden era of Greek cinema), Perdika was a poor fishing village that visitors would access either by fishing boats setting off from the port of Aegina or by bus serving Perdika once or twice a day.
In the 80s, Perdika became the popular tourist resort, as we know it today, rich in charming little traditional tavernas, a true venue of gastronomic interest. Nontas was famed as the ultimate grill master. Actually, it is said that top notch chef Lefteris Lazarou, a friend of Nontas, learned quite a few things from him and, in particular, the secrets to grade-A grilling of the angler fish (one of the chef’s famous dishes). Nontas passed away in 2006. His daughter Sozia took over the taverna and gave it a new, truly fresh look. Indeed, the veranda of the taverna is a true gem with its indigo wooden floor, the old Greek-style chairs with their wooden body and their seats made of multi-coloured woven boat rope, the white table cloths and the coloured ribbons hanging from the ceiling. Apart from fresh caught fish, here you can enjoy exquisite traditional Aegina dishes, savoury pies with home-made thick phyllo, octopus orzo, a great variety of appetizers, numerous stews, grilled delicacies and tasteful spoon sweets.
It was late September when I visited Nontas fish restaurant. Summer glories are long gone by that time and tourists scarce. However, Ι was in high spirits as I was enjoying the taverna’s amazing fish appetizers at the company of Sozia.
All of a sudden, a young couple with a casual traveller’s outfit arrives and sits next to us. We started talking in English. Their Mediterranean temperament could not go unnoticed.
That was it. The ice had been broken and I started talking to them. Here’s what they said:
“We come from Turkey and we are in Athens for vacations. We read about this taverna on a Turkish travel guide. We set off from Piraeus this morning for Aegina. From the harbour, we got a taxi that brought us straight here. We are leaving this afternoon. The whole trip costs 100 euros. Anyhow, it’s worth it, we really enjoyed it”.
What is there left to say? I let the facts speak for themselves.