San to Alati (Like Salt)
Vasilis Plakias’ tavernaki (little taverna), which he runs with his wife, Maria Tatsi, on the beach of Agios Fokas, just one kilometre from the port of Tinos, served its first meal in 2014. With the Aegean ‘on their doorstep’, separated only by a quiet narrow road, its exceptional cooking and the myth surrounding San to Alati, this fish taverna quickly won the hearts of local food lovers.
Its unusual name – which means ‘Like Salt’ – is borrowed from the fairy tale about the king and his daughter, who when he asks her how much she loves him replies ‘like salt’ instead of the expected gold or diamonds. This fable, which draws attention to the value of that pinch of salt to our lives, is related in an impressive way by the simplicity of the décor – white chairs, tables and walls, with just a hint of colour in the spare photographs – and by the menu with its charming illustrations.
Faithful to the myth, most of the meze served at San to Alati have to do with the sea or have a ‘salty’ character: fluffy taramosalata or herring dip, marinated anchovies, salted sardines, grilled shrimp with an oil, lemon and caper dressing, lightly smoked aubergine salad, with garlic and lots of parsley, pickles on toasted country bread, local spicy cheese – called kariki – accompanied by figs and lemon and, of course, that Tinos speciality, semi-wild pickled artichokes. And finally, fried calamari with a refreshing yogurt sauce, codfish fricassee and steamed cherrystone clams with celery, to mention but a few gifts from the sea.