Right after the German Occupation, around 1945-1946, the quay of Aegina, right where the famous Aegina clay water jugs (kanatia in Greek) were loaded on board the small fishing boats to travel to Piraeus, housed many traditional cafés (kafeneia). One of them, the kafeneio of Giannis Alifantis, would open since dawn serving fish soup to the fishermen who went fishing before sunrise and coffee to those who returned home from a fishing night.
Opening while it was still dark outside, the kafeneio kept the name of its owner, the elderly grandfather Skotadis (skotadi means dark in Greek), and was named “The kafeneio of grandpa Skotadis”. In 1972, Stelios Lykouris married the daughter of kyr–Giannis Skotadis (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) and in 1980, Stelios took over the helm of the kafeneio.
This is when the first minor changes started being made to the kafeneio; octopus with semolina fufu (purée) and other such savoury appetizers (the famous Greek mezedes) would be served for lunch, while the kafeneio would turn into an ouzeri (a traditional taverna that serves appetizers to accompany ouzo) in the evening. The kafeneio, situated on the harbour, next to the Municipal Fish Market, on Aegina’s seashore, offering splendid views to the small fishing boats and the sailing boats, enjoys a privileged location. On the other hand, Stelios is a sociable person; as a result, the kafeneio developed its own devoted clientele throughout the years.
“This has been the favourite food joint of many Athenian artists, such as actors V. Diamantopoulos, Giannis Michalopoulos, Giorgos Moschidis, film director Nikos Koundouros, music composer Stavros Xarchakos, poet, lyricist Giannis Negrepontis, who would come to Aegina for their vacations”.
Since 2002, the grandson of kyr-Giannis, Giorgos Lykouris, the third generation of the family, has been involved in the taverna. By renovating the taverna, Giorgos turned it into an extremely elegant restaurant where the relationship between quality and cost is more than rationale.
The dishes offered at Skotadis taverna are typical island dishes while some of them have been added a modern twist, such as the octopus cooked with Florina peppers (red sweet peppers). I really enjoyed the nicely home-marinated anchovies, the delicious and generous salads with fresh vegetables, a true feast of colours, and the various types of white cheeses flaked with pistachio of Aegina.
From the main dishes, Ι adored the orzo with crayfish, it was perfectly cooked and fluid, as well as the pasta with fresh shrimps and fresh tomato. Unfortunately, katsoules (a local small red-coloured fish that tastes like sole), being a highly coveted dish, had just run out. Luckily, kyr-Stelios gave me some reassuring info:
“Don’t worry… next time give me a call before you visit us. I will take you inside the kitchen, so that you see how I cook katsoules on the frying pan with butter; they turn all so mellow”.