Central Athens is home to a handful of “chop shops,” restaurants that specialize in grilled meat, in particular lamb chops. Of these, To Steki Tou Ilia (“Ilia’s Haunt”), with its charmingly rustic vibe, barrels of wine and outdoor seating, is seen as the classic example of the genre.
The restaurant has a brief menu, which includes starters such a creamy tzatziki and salads and other sides, but the emphasis here is on slender, long, fatty chops—sold by the kilogram—and a subtly sweet, fragrant house wine—sold by the liter.
The chops are seasoned with little more than salt, citrus, and oregano, and come from the grill smoky and served with lemon halves for squeezing. The heaving platters of grilled meat are typically paired with equally large dishes of French fries. The house wine arrives in the tubular aluminum pitchers that are ubiquitous across Greece. It’s casual, raucous and fun.