As our great poet Odysseus Elytis once famously said, if you deconstruct Greece, you will see at the end that what is left is an olive tree, a vineyard, and a fishing boat.
In the same land, the famous chef Lefteris Lazarou uses these ingredients to create a unique seafood experience in his restaurant, “Varoulko”.
And he has done so since 1987 when he first opened the doors of “Varoulko” (which translates into winch) in Piraeus.
His recognition came not only in the form of a Michelin star in 2002 –the first one ever awarded to a restaurant serving Greek food in Greece– but in the form of various awards every year.
Lefteris Lazarou draws his inspiration from the sea. His constantly evolving cuisine is creative but redolent of tradition, innovative yet unmistakably Greek.
In the new “Varoulko seaside” in Pireaus the visitor can enjoy a simple lunch with dishes such as the fish roe dip (taramosalata) made with white fish roe, extra virgin olive oil, and lemon, or the boiled octopus marinated in vinegar (htapodi xydato), or he can opt for the fine dining experience and dishes such as the grilled cuttlefish with caramelized lentils and orange sauce, or the fish patties with a sweet and sour pepper sauce.
Relish these flavors while enjoying the surroundings of the beautiful new “Varoulko seaside” restaurant, the picturesque sea view in the Mikrolimano marina where it is situated and its enchanting atmosphere by night, the impeccable service and the affordable prices.
Enjoy excellent Greek cuisine in one of the most famous restaurants in Athens!
Born in 1952 to a father who worked as a ship-chef, Lefteris Lazarou, never thought of following a different path.
When he was 15, he started working with his father in ship kitchens during the summers. He travelled around many countries and worked with their national cuisine.
However, working at cruise ships was where he learnt the most about cooking. Having to cook for different people daily, he had to adjust Greek cuisine to their own nutritional habits. As time went by, he decided to create a “boat” on land, a kitchen that will never get rocked by the waves.
Therefore in October 1987, he opens Varoulko in Piraeus, which does not get rocked by waves but is loyal to the memories of the sea as applied to creative cooking. Since October 2004, Varoulko has been moved from Piraeus to Pireos street downtown.
In Varoulko, Lefteris Lazarou creates seafood plates made entirely of ingredients he comes upon daily, as he wanders through the various markets.
These past few years, Lefteris Lazarou, has travelled to Argentina, Japan and America, as well as most of the European capitals to promote Greek olive oil through presenting the Greek cuisine.
In the U.S.A, he has taught Greek cuisine in one of the most famous cooking schools, the Culinary Institute of America (CIA). Since 1993, Lefteris Lazarou has been awarded the “Golden Chef Hat”, an award Athinorama, the leading entertainment guide for the city of Athens, gives out every year. In 1998, he cooked for the guests of the Greek Government, in the International Expedition HELEXPO in Lisbon, Portugal.
In 1999, he collaborated with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs for the Ministry Gala Diners. In the Sydney Olympic Games in 2000, Greek cuisine was represented deservedly and Mr Lazarou was picked as the one to represent modern Greek cuisine with seafood.
In 2002, he was awarded a Michelin star, the most coveted award for the selected few chefs in the world. This award made Varoulko an international hotspot for seafood. In 2006, he publishes his book about his love in cooking, titled “LEFTERIS LAZAROU -20 YEARS IN VAROULKO”.
In 2007, as a member of the Hellenic Foreign Trade Board (HEPO) he created a 22 dish menu for El Corte Ingles department stores.
In September 2008, he was a formal guest of the Mayor Mr Richard M. Daley in the first Chicago Gourmet Festival in Millennium Park.
In 2009, readers of the Greek “STATUS” Magazine declared him “Chef of the year 2009” for a second time. In 2009, Varoulko was awarded “Best Greek Cuisine Restaurant” and “The Best Restaurant in the City” by the Athinorama guide. In 2010, Varoulko was also awarded “Best Greek Cuisine Restaurant” and “The Best Restaurant in the City”.
Lefteris Lazarou was one of the judges in the Cooking Game Show, MasterChef. In 2011, he was awarded a Michelin star for the 10th time in a row. Varoulko was also awarded“Best Greek Cuisine Restaurant” and “The Best Restaurant in the City” by the Athinorama guide.