Oasis Taverna in Neo Petritsi
The Oasis Taverna is set in the foothills of the Belles mountains, at Neo Petritsi (district of Serres), 15 minutes from the lake and 15 minutes from the Rupel fort beside a brook.
Towering plane trees shade the bubbling stream – which runs winter and summer – and its banks have been terraced to create small ledges for the taverna’s tables and chairs in summer. It’s a delightful place to eat in any season.
We met with Theofilos Felekidis, the owner, and his two children. Theofilos cooks regional dishes, without pretense or innovative tweaks. And he always uses fresh local produce and reproduces traditional recipes so well that they seem to fit the natural surroundings and the warm hospitality of the Felekidis family.
Among the appetisers and salads, we noted the smoked trout, preserved mackerel, roast aubergines, fried peppers, stamnagathi (piquant greens) and little cabbages. The meat dishes naturally feature water buffalo in the ‘gastra’ or clay pot, buffalo sausages and meatballs, various types of game, pancetta and chops, stuffed hamburgers, sauteed pork, while the fish include carp (from the lake), trout, sea bass and some shellfish.
As for the desserts, there’s Constantinople-style ravani (a semolina-based, syrup-drenched cake) and kazan dipi (baked custard with a delectable ‘burnt’ crust).
I had the luck to visit the Oasis Taverna in mid spring and taste the boiled nettle salad, which served with fried eggs and fresh pastourma was a combination to die for!
Even if you’re headed to or from the Rupel fort, this taverna is worth the short detour and you will find yourself in a genuine oasis.