Interview with Restaurant Manager Anastasis Zafirakis.
Emirates Greeks Special
Historically there has always been a Greek restaurant in Dubai (currently two), but Abu Dhabi, the capital of UAE, has remained for long time without Greek cuisine. Occasionally Greek nights were hosted by some hotels.
The scene will change on 19 September 2014 when Acropolis will open in Le Meridien Hotel, Tourist Club Area.
On this occasion we had an interview with the person behind the poject Anastasis Zafirakis, the Restaurant Manager of Acropolis.
- How did the project of opening of Greek restaurant in the Emirates capital start?
The project came in plan when I first started the Greek days. I was the only Greek in the hotel but Chef Patrick who has worked in Greece for 8 years supported me. I was trying to convince my Manager to start a theme night in the all day dining restaurant where I was working. In the beginning they were not so excited, but we came with an idea of starting a Greek festival and so we did. It was very successful seeing more than 350 Greeks in the same place and enjoying Greek food, ouzo and music. After that we did a second event on Easter Sunday and I am happy to say that we had more than 500 Greeks and non-Greeks in the hotel all dancing Syrtaki as one. We were all happy with the results and thought that our next step should be a full Greek restaurant. The restaurant will be a reality soon and will open on 19 September 2014.
- Were there any practical difficulties such as securing Greek foodstuff, making the appropriate decoration etc?
Finding Greek beverages was and still is a bit of a challenge, as it is very difficult to find Greek wine. We have managed to get Greek foodstuff and we are waiting for the opportunity to provide all visitors with a taste of home again. Decoration was quite easy as the hotel itself had a design manager who knew how to make the restaurant look like a little Greece.
- How do you describe your restaurant? Do you think it would attract also non-Greek clients?
Acropolis Greek Restaurant is a taverna, a place to come and feel like home, eat homemade food and give the opportunity for people from around the world to taste the Greek cuisine and to listen to our Bouzouki. It is a casual and friendly atmosphere. Families, couples, big groups, old and young, Greek and non are all welcome. Acropolis doors are open for every one!
- What plans have you made to mark the opening event?
On the opening day it will be a big celebration as we are happy to open the first Greek restaurant in Abu Dhabi! The event will start at 7:00pm with mezze and ouzo going around for our guests until 8:30pm with the Greek Band playing loud for this event. After 8:30pm the food corners will be opened to our guests to serve themselves with our traditional food items, such as spanakopita, tzatziki, souzoukakia, gyros Chicken and lots more until 11:00pm. I should mention that people coming from other parts of the Emirates will have a special offer on rooms, just in case some would like to spend the night in Le Meridien.
- Your final thoughts:
I am happy to give a taste of home for the Greek community in the Emirates. I miss home ad I am sure they do too. I want Acropolis to be a place that we will connect people from around the world with our hospitality!
Photo: Anastasis Zafirakis