Modiano Market (Αγορά-Μοδιάνο)

IMG_1564-1I gave you a tour of the Kapani Market of Thessaloniki (a few days ago) and I mentioned that the Modiano Agora (market) was also nearby. The two markets really operate in tandem, separated merely by concrete,  Ermou Street.IMG_0739

The Modiano Market got it’s name from Ely Modiano, the architect who designed this arcade that contains butcher shops, spice vendors, fish mongers, purveyors of cheese and places to eat and drink. Ely Modiano (and family) were part of the significant and thriving  Jewish population of Thessaloniki.IMG_0743

To this day, the Modiano family holds a reunion in Thessaloniki every two years and they set up table inside the arcade we all affectionately call, “Modiano”.IMG_0744

I’ve only dropped by here during the day to buy goods or pass through as I’m traipsing through the city. The Modiano is a place suspended in time. Rebetika music playing in the background, old men seated at their favourite taverna or ouzeri to have “just a nibble” and share a sip of Ouzo, Tsipouro or Retsina with old friends.IMG_0758

The problem with visiting a place like Modiano is that it’s never just a “nibble” or a “small drink”. The music, the smells, the discussion of politics, sports or recent economic hardships all give one reason to sit down, get comfortable and get lost in the day.IMG_7644

One small bottle of Tsipouro requires a few plates of mezedes. The discussion gets heated (but never without leaving as friends). Others might pass by Modiano to grab some lunch. IMG_0760

There are some “magheria” still inside the market. A Magherio serves up Greek classic dishes, much of what many Greeks would eat in their own homes. The menu varies daily, depending on what’s in season, what’s the most affordable and what’s the freshest.IMG_0761

Besides the older generation that patronizes the Modiano are nearby workers in the Kapani markets. The Kapani and Modiano markets do not close until late afternoon and many small businesses in Greece are still family-owned and operated. The tavernas, magheria and Ouzeris all offer a good, cheap place for the working-stiff in Greece to eat.

You will also see businessmen patronize the eateries inside of Modiano. These guys arrive in slacks and dress shirt, the satchel carrying all their important papers and cell phones, cigarettes and worry beds to occupy the gent until friends/co-workers arrive.IMG_7645

Markets like the Modiano have not been immune to the current “economic crisis”. City police have been cracking down on illegal parking on Ermou Street which dissuades shoppers from entering the downtown core to conduct their shopping.IMG_7596

One could be determined to shop in Kapani or Modiano and squeeze their car into the few remaining spots left in the congested city but when the shopper returns to their car and finds an 80 Euro parking ticket waiting for them…the evil supermarket in the suburbs lays waiting for it’s next victim.IMG_0746

Add expensive rents applied to tenants along with declining sales, one can only count the days until the Modiano Market closes its doors for good.

In the meantime, join me in a slide-show  of this charming arcade of butchers, fishmongers, spice vendors who co-exist with the tavernas and ouzeris. The Modiano is alive and well but for how long? Heaven forbid that another “Hondos Center” pops-up in its place.

I know many of you can’t easily visit the Modiano but you can re-create the kind food that would be served at one of the tavernas of Modiano. I have some offerings that you may in turn serve to your guests at home.

Put on a CD with some Greek music (with bouzouki) and serve-up some of these dishes:

Keftedes are ground meat seasoned with spices, marinated in grated onion and char-grilled.IMG_7434

A side of a mildly hot banana pepper is something I always order. Char the skins of your peppers, place in a bag or bowl covered with plastic wrap and allow them to sweat. When the pepper(s) have cooled, remove the skins and season with sea salt and drizzle extra-virgin oil on top.IMG_1568

If you have roasted peppers, a slab of Feta cheese is a must. As your purveyor of cheese for Greek Feta. If they don’t have it, ask them to stock it. You’ll immediately taste the difference!IMG_7388

What’s the Greek table without the presence of good crusty bread? I’m a convert to the book “Artisan Bread in Five Minutes. You too can make bread like this at home!IMG_1570-1

A sausage is always nice when it appears on the table. This “Karamanlitiko Loukaniko” comes from the near-east, where Greeks who lived in Asia Minor brought back to Greece many recipes and new spices to dance on our palate. This sausage tastes of garlic, allspice, fenugreek and you might find a similar sausage at a middle-eastern store. Ask for “soutzouk” sausages.IMG_7398

An order of fries (or two) is standard fair at the Greek taverna. The Greeks get those fries so crispy and delicious but “double-frying”. IMG_1562-1

We already have a Feta cheese on the table but we still need some vegetation. An “aggouro-tomato” or cucumber and tomato salad is fitting for the array of dishes. IMG_7437

Do we have enough meat? I don’t think so. Variety is the spice of life and what’s another plate of meat among friends? An order of souvlaki must be made. Cubes of pork are marinated over night and then grilled to perfection over medium heat. A squeeze of lemon juice and a sprinkle of dried Greek oregano all that is needed.IMG_1561-1

OH! But when serving souvlaki, does Tzatziki not have to make an appearance? IMG_1573-1

To wash all this delicious food down, the meal calls for beer. Greeks enjoy their beer during the long & hot summer. Mythos is one of the many brands out there and it’s available in most North-American markets.IMG_7449

Eat well, drink responsibly and live life to the fullest!

If you are not reading this post in a feed reader or at  http://kalofagas.ca then the site you are reading is illegally publishing copyrighted material. Contact me at truenorth67 AT gmail DOT COM. All recipes, text and photographs in this post are the original creations & property of the author.

© 2007-2009 Peter Minakis

© 2009 – 2010,
Peter Minakis

. All rights reserved.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

39 Comments for “Modiano Market (Αγορά-Μοδιάνο)”

says:

Peter, I love your display of everyday life in Greece especially when it comes to eating! Grab me another mythos and “she’ll be right mate”….

says:

i definitely believe that souvlaki must be consumed with a hearty helping of tzatziki. excellent shots of the random diners–how interesting that the majority of them are older men. :)

Ξανθή

says:

Peter τα πιο ωραία φαγητά της Ελλάδος αλλά και την πιο ωραία αγορά μας παρουσιάζεις!!Η Θεσσαλονίκη μια από τις ωραίες πόλεις της Ελλάδος και με καταπληκτική αγορά!!
Καλή σου εβδομάδα!!

says:

I love places like this where you can shop, eat and soak up the culture. It’s a shame that so many small businesses will be shuttered when the Modiano closes. Happy that you captured it all for us since we may never have a chance to experience it ourselves.

says:

Wow, Peter… you are REALLY making me want to go to Greece right about now. The food looks excellent, but my favorite part was the description of heated conversations that still leave the conversationalists friends. Reminds me of some very political French people I know…

says:

What a fantastic way to present the market! Love the photos and your offerings. I always feel guilty reading your posts because I don’t get downtown often since it’s such a hassle and the parking is a nightmare, but I should really just buck up and go. !!!! Have a fantastic week:)

says:

It would definitely be a real shame if that market would have to close down and be replaced by supermarkets… Let’s hope that doesn’t happen! Thanks by the way for pointing me to the recipe of keftedes; my husband loves them and always orders them in Greece. I’m gonna try and make them here!

says:

Ok, 6th picture down – i want to meet (possibly marry?) that guy on the left hand side. THAT PICTURE IS CLASSIC! and the guy picking his teeth to his right!! awesome…

ok, all kidding aside, i actually have a pool of drool in my mouth right now. i really wish i could taste some real, real REAL GOOD greek food. we’ll get there one day.

Anna

says:

That souvlaki is absolutely succulent-looking!!! Nothing beats the souvlaki sticks in Greece. The meat is so much better than here, sigh.

says:

What a travel brochure, wow??? Nothing on this menu, that I would love to eat.
Sorry that I been such a bad blogger/visitor!!

says:

Peter your tour of the markets is fantastic. I sometimes wish I were a man to be able to sit at those magherika, which are slightly intimidating for women. However, I do have a remark on the fries: Greeks NEVER par-fry them. I know that par-frying gives excellent results, but unfortunately it is a French method and I can bet you that none of the Greek housewives have ever heard of it. My grandmother, who makes fantastic fries, insists that you have to turn them all the time and use olive oil. I think the main secret is to leave them in the bowl of water to get all the starch out.

says:

Another lovely Greek market. I have never heard of par-frying and never double fry my potatoes and yet they are crispy and delicious.

Elsbeth

says:

Peter, thank you so much for a little sneak peak into the markets of my favorite Greek city. I lived in Thessaloniki 5 years ago during my studies, and just returned last week after my first return visit since then. I miss it, and this is so great to see. The markets are my favorite places, together with the bars around Rotunda. Ah well, too much to talk about :) Again, thank you!

says:

I adore Greek food! This looks like a wonderful place to hang out. It’s too bad times have to change and charming places like this one are closed and forgotten. Very sad!

I was wondering to though, where to all of the girls eat?? :D

says:

Oh, the souvlaki look SO good… I could eat it for breakfast, lunch and dinner! Thanks for the tour of the market… very interesting.

Joanne

says:

hi – Being an Greek vegetarian who occasionally eats seafood (how unorthodox of me – ha), I still pop in here from time to time to see whats cooking. The meat is of no interest to me (of course) but the seafood always looks so fresh and appetizing. Is it just me or does the roasted yellow pepper look like a cow’s tongue? LOL

says:

That crusty bread….the sausages….everything! It all looks amazing and you always have some gorgeous grilled meat to go along with it, but this time the simplicity of the tomato and cucumber salad has my mouth watering.

says:

Peter, this is sensory overload! How is it that a simple piece of feta can looks so good. I love it sitting in a pool of olive oil!

says:

You are killing me here – I want to go to Greece NOW!!!!!
Really love this post Peter – fantastic pictures and yummy food!
Ps: I’m growing banana peppers (since I can’t buy them round here) and they are amazing – my plant has gone mad and is growing peppers like crazy.

says:

Thank you for posting these wonderful pictures from Modiano! I grew up in Thessaloniki and we used to shop there on a regular basis. I always go back when I visit beautiful Thessaloniki. The smells, the noise, and the ambiance can’t be forgotten. Nostalgia… I was a little girl visiting Modiano with my mother. She picked a live chicken from a crate (poor thing!), and the man in the white apron took it to the back of the store. “What is he doing, mama?” “Never mind,” she replied. Then the man reappeared with a brown paper package which he handed to my mother. How was I to know it contained that day’s dinner?

says:

I’ve wanted to visit Greece forever…and now want to visit it even more Petah. Love the post; so laid back & comforting. Just need a glass of caipirinha & I’m all set!