A few months ago I had the opportunity to review Argo, Bangkok’s newest restaurant focusing on Georgian and Greek cuisine. During my visit I was made aware that Argo was more like a satellite restaurant to the original larger mothership restaurant AVRA (official Facebook page).
It was explained to me that what differentiates the two restaurants is that AVRA has a more extensive menu of Greek and Georgian cuisine dishes and drinks. Additionally AVRA’s prices are slightly higher to match the larger portion sizes, and their venue is also much bigger enabling them to easily accommodate larger dining groups. I was very impressed with my experience at Argo and so I mentally put AVRA on my list of places to check out.
When the owner of AVRA invited my gal and I to visit and experience both their Georgian and Greek menu we were thrilled to accept. With the exception of a tasty lamb gyro and appetizer dips, for this visit we attempted to explore Greek dishes that are very traditional and rarely found on menus in Bangkok. Additionally, for the Georgian cuisine we made sure to get dishes that are unique to AVRA (and not on the menu at Argo).
But enough of my backstory…let me just show you a taste of what AVRA has to offer! Prepare to be hungry…
I’ll begin with the Greek dishes…
Dips and pita bread
AVRA offers 4 different kinds of appetizer dips to be enjoyed with complimentary pita bread. We chose the Variety of Dips (350 baht) which allows you to choose 3 of the 4 dips. We chose Tzatziki (a yoghurt spread with cucumber, garlic, and olive oil), Melitzanosalata (an eggplant spread with roasted red pepper, feta cheese, garlic, olive oil and herbs), and Tyrosalata ( a spread of spiced feta cheese with roasted red pepper). In case you’re wondering the 4th dip option is Hummus.
AVRA imports their Greek spices, herbs, olives, yoghurt, and feta cheeses direct from the port city of Thessaloniki. These dip appetizers alone are enough to inform your taste buds this meal is going to be something special. The creaminess of the yoghurt, the slight sharpness of the feta cheese, even the intensity of the rosemary herbs sprinkled on the fresh warm pita bread made me feel like I’d been transported to a bistro in Greece. The meal only got better from there…
Xtapodi Salata (Octopus Salad)
If you’re a fan of octopus, the Xtapodi Salata (410 baht) is great way to kick off a Greek meal experience. This warm salad consists of chunks of grilled octopus, potatoes, cherry tomatoes, with a carrot and lemon dressing. The octopus is tender (not chewy) and the dressing with the other ingredients is tangy and flavorful. I highly recommend this dish if you’re not averse to eating tentacles!
Have you heard of “Bouyiourdi”?
As a friend any dish that’s predominantly baked cheese, I am surprised that “Bouyiourdi” somehow escaped my radar. On AVRA’s menu as Bouiourdi (310 baht), this dish is made with feta cheese baked in a clay pot with green pepper, homemade cheese, and topped with sprinkled oregano and olive oil. It is amazing. If you have some pita bread left from the dip appetizers don’t be afraid to use it on this dish!
Like meatballs? Love Abhazura!
I love meatballs. I don’t care the nationality, Italian, Swedish, wherever, when it comes to meatballs it matters not to me. So it’s not shocking that this dish is one of my favorites. Abhazura (350 baht) are spicy pork meatballs in tomato sauce, with fresh Greek yoghurt, baked zucchini slices, and chopped dill on top of a fresh pita bread. The Greek meatballs also get a Georgian twist with the addition of a few Georgian spices (recipe a trade secret!). I highly recommend this dish.
AVRA offers plenty of grilled meat options on their menu to choose from. For something a little different, we chose the Salmon Souvlaki (320 baht). The meal consists of a skewer of large chunks of grilled Tasmanian salmon, onion and lemon slices, with a bowl of tzatziki, and thick cut fried potato wedges.
It is portioned so that it can easily be a main meal for one, or comfortably shared by two. At 320 baht it really is a fantastic deal!
There goes my gyro…
The Foo Fighters fan in me couldn’t resist the amusing word play. But seriously, if you’re looking for a good gyro, AVRA makes a damned good gyro. The fresh pita is soft and fluffy, the meat is incredibly tender and flavorful, and they don’t skimp on it!
We ordered the Gyros Lamb (260 baht). The pita is completely stuffed with fries, lamb meat, fresh onions, parsley, tomatoes, and tzatziki sauce. It’s a very filling sandwich and perfect to enjoy with a Greek pilsner Nissos (230 baht)! But I will talk more about drinks later…
Right now it’s time to dive into a few of the Georgian dishes we tried that are only available at AVRA!
A variety of Khinkali…
When I wrote the article about Argo one of the items I covered was the tasty beef filled khinkali dumplings. No Georgian meal would be complete without these juicy dumplings. AVRA offers three other kinds of khinkali dumplings, so it was a no brainer that we sampled all three! On the menu as a Tasty Trio (240 baht) pictured are the potato (green), cheese (orange), and lamb (white) filled khinkali dumplings.
There’s no need to worry about getting a stale dumpling. Each dumpling is made by hand fresh as they are ordered. There is a process to eating them. Hold the top of the dumpling and flip it so that you are looking at the bottom. Take a small bite and drink the dumpling juices (here it would be smart to allow the dumpling to cool a bit). Once the juice has been emptied start eating the dumpling!
For an intensely flavorful dish, I highly recommend the Ojahuri (330 baht). It’s a simple dish of pork, potatoes, and tomatoes. What makes it intensely flavorful is the fact that the pork is marinated for 3 days with Georgian spices. One bite of the pork in this baked dish and you’ll be hooked!
You can find beef filled kubdari on the menu at Argo. What makes the Kubdari (390 baht) different at AVRA as that the oven baked dough is filled with lamb, not beef.
The pastry is light and flaky. The Georgian spiced minced lamb filling is delicious, and the kernels of fresh pomegranate provide little bursts of juicy sweetness with each bite. I highly recommend this dish!
A bit about drinks…
For diners wishing to imbibe, at AVRA it’s possible to enjoy Greek libations to pair with the authentic flavors of their food. The prices are also very reasonable, too! Beer lovers can enjoy a chilled bottle of Nisso (230 baht), a light yet flavorful Greek pilsner that goes down SUPER easy. It’s especially enjoyable with any gyro on the menu.
Connoisseurs of Greek wine will feel at home at AVRA. They offer a nice selection of Greek wines and vintages that are fairly priced for Bangkok. With our meal we chose a Sigma Retsina Rose (220 baht/glass or 1,500 baht/bottle) made from the hand harvested Mandilaria Greek grapes. Resinated wine has been made for at least 2,000 years in Greece. Its unique flavor is said to have originated from the practice of sealing wine filled amphorae with Aleppo Pine resin in ancient times. Retsina, is one of the most popular Greek wines and is nowadays made by adding pine resin during fermentation. It is a well balanced wine that is perfect to accompany with Greek mezes or seafood.
Want to turn your meal into a party? Ouzo is a shortcut to doing so. AVRA has a good selection of ouzos shot options ranging from 200-220 baht, and if you really want more bang for your baht you can order a small 200 ml bottle of Ouzo Plomari (490 baht). Opa!
A chat with the owner…
Anna was born in Moscow. Her father is Russian, and her mother Greek (but having lived many years in Georgia). As a result her culinary experience growing up was a combination of Russian, Greek, and Georgian cuisine. When she moved to Bangkok ten years ago she found all three dining options lacking. This encouraged her to open the AVRA restaurant December 31, 2015.
The recipes used are inspired by Anna’s mother’s home cooking. She considers the dishes at AVRA to be traditional, but with a more upscale presentation. Her goal with AVRA was to create an environment where it would be a Greek refuge in Bangkok. She put all of her passion in cooking and interior design to accomplish this goal. Upon entering the restaurant the decor makes diners feel like they have been transported to Greece and the first bite into authentic Mediterranean flavors seals this illusion.
I’m hungry. Where is it?
AVRA is located on Sukhumvit Soi 33, an easy 5 minute walk from the Phrom Phong BTS station. It’s attached to the Bangkok Hotel Lotus Sukhumvit. You really can’t miss the blue colored facade.
The restaurant is capable of serving 80 diners but can also be adjusted for parties of 120 guests.
AVRA also has beautifully decorated dining areas for smaller groups for a more intimate dining experience.
If you’re a fan of Mediterranean cuisine AVRA should be on your radar. I would also encourage you to check their Facebook page before you visit. AVRA runs some great specials on the page, and they often provide significant discounts if you reserve tables through that Facebook page.
Should you visit, I’d love to hear your comments in the comment section below. You can also contact me directly, or message me on the Chow Traveller Facebook page (also a great place to see what I’ve been up to!).
This Google Maps will get you to AVRA! Happy chowing!