Not all of us have the possibility to taste a Greek mother’s home made food during a short holiday in Greece amongst the several fake touristic places on the popular destinations. So I help you: if you come to Rhodes and want to taste a Greek mother’s authentic plates which is defienetely combined with the real Greek ‘filoxenia’, then visit Dina in the heart of Rhodes town.
One of the few places that are open all year around in Rhodes town is Ovelix – Dina’s kitchen. I discovered it during the winter of 2017 when I lived in the charming ‘Niohori’ area of the town. And after my first visit I became a fan of Dina’s amazing Greek homemade food – just like all the people who once tried it. But it is not only about the food, Dina’s place has a very special atmosphere. Part of her secret is the famous Greek ‘filoxenia’ and her passion for food and for her guests. That’s why she created a very unique concept for the plates with exceptional offers. Dina cooks everyday at least 3 different traditional Greek dishes (one vegetarian for sure!). The offer is 5 EUR for one plate of home made Greek food with a plate of salad, traditional village bread from Afandou and of course a big bottle of water (just like in every Greek home). And so far I haven’t found a better offer in town for a meal.
I am not going there to eat only because of the good value for money. When I eat in Dina’s kitchen all of my childhood memories come back about having meals at my grandmother’s house. Although the tastes are different (because my grandmother cooked Hungarian meals of course), the feeling is the same: a warm, loving family environment with a mother who cooks with her heart and with many years of routine. Dina’s kitchen is a family business, but you sense only the ‘family’, and never the ‘business’.
Dina first opened a ‘souvlatzídiko’ (gr: σουβλατζίδικο) with her husband, Christos 29 years ago in 1989 in the same building, so she really knows about people and hospitality. But 4 years ago they decided to change the concept and transform it into a different place, where Dina have more freedom to express her creativity and personality. Since that time Dina cooks different traditional home-made Greek meals everyday for their guests. And everyday something different, just like our mother’s doing it. You can always read the daily menu on the blackboard next to the entrance of the restaurant, but most of the time people want to listen the food list of the day especially from Dina.
She is always smiling, she is always full of energy and passion inside the kitchen, so nobody wants to miss the experience to have a chat with Dina. I have spent there a lot of time and I realized that she knows her customers by name, treating them like family members or her own children. Not only one local person told me: “Dina is just like my mother”. And Anna, Dina’s daughter also said with a smile: “I have a lot of sisters and brothers here…” – meaning about their customers. Meeting with Dina is the part of the food experience in her place. When I asked her how is it possible to be always that positive even after so many working hours she answered:
“I love the people, I love my job. This is the difference.”
And you can also meet there Dina’s husband, Christos and their daughter, Anna who are treating you also like you were in their home, and not in their business. Eating there is a real Greek experience including this warm hospitality in a family environment and also the unexpected meetings, conversations with the other guests of Dina. It is like a big family meal with so much fun and warm moments. 🙂 For me this is what a meal about. Love has to be on (or around) the table too.
If you eat Dina’s food, you will have the chance to experience the real Greek tastes, just to mention a few: gemista (stuffed tomatoes and peppers with rice and herbs – vegetarian or meat version), briam (mixed roast vegetables in tomatoe sauce), keftedakia (meatballs), spetsofai (spicy sausages with tomatoes and peppers), fasolakia ladera (green beans braised in tomato sauce), arakas laderos (peas in tomatoe sauce), fakes (lentil soup), fasolada (white bean soup), pastitsio (pasta, minced meat sauce and béchamel), mousakas (aubergine, minced meat, béchamel), melitzanes papoutsakia (aubergines stuffed with minced meat and béchamel), soutzoukakia (spiced meatballs in tomato sauce), hirino lemonato (pork in lemon sauce), moshari youvetsi (veal stew with orzo pasta), htapodi me makaronaki (octopus with pasta), stifado, and many more… Of course she is cooking according to the Greek customs and celebrations throughout the year, so for example she cooked various lenten food during the 40 days lent before Easter. And when her son had his birthday, she offered sweets for all of her guests, to participate in this event – even that her son is not living in Rhodes.
I have to highlight also Dina’s handmade traditional Greek pies and rizogalo (Greek dessert with rice and milk with cinnamon on the top). For sure, they are one of the best in town, very rich and tasty ones, but definetelly the best offer for 1 EUR each! She is making different types with spinach, vegetables and meat, feta, leeks and the sweet one with vanilla pudding and cinnamon. Dina let me inside the kitchen one day and showed me the secret way of making her pies:
Well, there is nothing more to say, but there are so many to taste in Dina’s kitchen, so don’t miss it, when you are in Rhodes town! 🙂
Ovelix – Dina’s kitchen – Rhodes, Greece
57 Griva street
T: +30 22410 74210
Open everyday from 12:30 till 21:00
photographs and written content copyright © Ilios art by Mariann Lipcsei