Athens has good restaurants, and then it has really good restaurants—the result of 35,000 college kids no doubt. Several restaurants have won critical acclaim. However, ask around and you might be surprised to hear that many claim La Dolce Vita to be the best dinner in town.
The food is great. The prices are better. The portions satisfy (be ready for a to go box). But, what make it so appealing? It is Italian food for Italians. Too many chain restaurants and pizza joints have dulled our sense of Italian food. Here, everything from the Caesar salad to the carpaccio is authentic, no doubt because the owner, Stefano, is Italian. Basic dishes are prepared just right. For instance, Polpette al Sugo (spaghetti with meatballs) has meatballs the size of tennis balls that are delicate and evenly spiced topped with a succulent sauce coating al dente noodles - - just like Nona would prepare it! Then, don't even get me started on the wine list but do try the Barbera d' Asti. At just over $30.00, it is a steal.
One warning, it is up a set of stairs so be prepared to earn your meal. Here are my tips for a perfect meal: One, don't even think about not making a reservation on weekends or you will not get in; two, ask for Brian as your server if you can get him; and, three, try the Gemelli all'Amatriciana if you like a little spice. It is my favorite dish on the new menu and the synergy of flavors will blow you away. Pair it with a bold red wine and you will never forget it!