Updated and with new entries! “Trendy” places not included!
Friends visiting (or for that matter living in!) Athens, often ask me for recommendations on where to enjoy a meal or a drink! Make sure to be in a relaxed state of mind and preferably be accompanied by people who share the same joie de vivre!
Sushimou – Skoufou street, Plaka
Now, how can I describe this…? Sushimou is a tiny Sushi Bar that seats only 12 persons at a time on a counter. Located just off Mitropoleos street. Simple and clean decor. Nothing pretentious here. It is the “one man show” of gifted Chef and owner Antonis Drakoularakos, who is quite a character. He welcomes you with a smile, happily explains the ritual, asks for any preferences, prepares right in front of you and serves his amazing fresh creations. I call it “the Sushimou experience” and you become an addict! As it is very small and extremely popular with the aficionados, you need to book a long time in advance! Serves only dinner during 3 seatings, starting at 18:30. You have 2 hours to enjoy the experience so you better be on time!
Feyrouz – Aiolou street
Feyrouz is a small corner place offering street food on Aiolou street, in the historical centre of Athens. Owned and operated by a family with influences from Antiochia, Lebanon, Cyprus and Constantinople. My favourite down town spot! Super delicious homemade food, extremely helpful, friendly and professional staff. Very reasonable prices. Great vegan options. Must taste the makhlouta soup!
Hams & Clams – Piraeus – Inspired by Andalusian family restaurants
It opened about three years ago as the business venture of four friends after the test at Corks & Forks, a wine pub. You can enjoy seafood, as well as a variety of excellent quality jamon, wines & cocktails. could also call the place an Oyster Bar. Their motto is to “make people happy through food”… I guess they mean through drinks as well… All sitting consists of high tables and stools, inside and out. So dress comfortably… I personally prefer to book a table inside. It is advisable to make advance reservations as it is a small place and gets easily full. Decent service, pleasant environment, down to earth pricing.
IT – Kolonaki – An all time classic with consistency!
Lovely all day cafe & restaurant and my personal favourite, conveniently located in Kolonaki area. Offers a variety of dishes, including vegetarian and low calory, juices and smoothies, deserts and coffee. Great Sunday brunch! Suitable for all hours of the day. Friendly staff & excellent service.
Papadakis (by Argyro Barbarigou) – Kolonaki
The celebrated restaurant of Chef Argyro Barbarigou, meeting place of politicians, journalists and Kolonaki regulars. Contemporary Greek cuisine. Go for the seafood and excellent quality of products. Expensive but you will enjoy it!
Zonar’s – Voukourestiou & Panepistimiou
The place to see and to be seen in Athens. An urban legend. Went through an extensive renovation and is currently run by the team of Chrysanthos Panas. All day Cafe & dining. Go for the people watching, for a coffee, drinks & snacks. Food is good but rather expensive.
New Hotel – New Taste & Art Lounge – Filellinon str. Syntagma square
New Taste is a culinary heaven, with its welcoming ambience and excellent food. Enter the world of high design, with the Campana brothers showcasing their trademark approach at its very best. Innovative menus, using local organic products and the finest and freshest produce, alternate from lunch sandwiches and salads to grills and Greek specialties to delicious dinner plates. Traditional breads and pastries baked daily are simply irresistible.
New Art Lounge, rooftop lounge (7th floor) with a panoramic Athens view serving food & drinks. Designed to be the ultimate penthouse, New Art Lounge features a unique Art library with more than 2000 art book titles. The comfort and scenery of the space is reason enough to visit.
Mama Roux – Aiolou str. (near Aghias Irinis square )
Convenient solution after a Saturday stroll in Ermou street or Sunday visit to Monastiraki flea market. Excellent brunch, mouthwatering burgers.
Ta Karamanlidika tou Fani – Socratous & Evripidou
Amazing Greek deli near Varvakios market (Central market of Athens, worth a detour). Specialities of dried meats (including pastourma) and Greek cheeses. Go early as there are only a few tables and it gets crowded. Recommended for lunch or early dinner (a bit heavy). Must visit!
Chrysa-Chrysa – Petralona
Mediterranean cuisine, chic and at the same time casual restaurant. Warm ambiance, very good food, friendly service. Excellent value for money.
Argoura – Kallithea
Gastronomic fish tavern, using the excellent quality products in the most creative way. Greek delicacies served in a boho environment. Must visit if you like seafood!
I will make you a Queen (Tha se Kano Vasilissa) – Iera odos
An interesting set up by Dimitris Litinas (Aristera-Dexia) and Kirios Criton. Its a wine bar with a small menu and selection of cheeses/cold cuts. Go for the atmosphere, the excellent selection of wines, the great music! Outdoor courtyard just opened for the Summer season.
Butcher & Sardelles – A terrace & garden in Gazi
Pleasant spot in Gazi area. Have lunch at the hidden garden at the back or dinner at the front for people watching. Fish & meat. Decent greek cuisine and cold beers!
Black Sheep (Mavro Provato) – Pangrati
The favourite restaurant of my friend Alexis who visits at least twice on every trip to Athens! Greek traditional cuisine with creativity and of excellent quality. Excellent value for money. Packed on most days, do not go without a reservation.
Vezene – Michalakopoulou area (Behind Hilton Hotel)
The Greek inspired Bistro Bar of artist-chef Ari Vezene. Serving regional dishes motivated from personal views on local traditions. Ari continues to define local frontiers with exciting menus while helping make Athens one of the new upcoming food meccas in Europe. Vezene has become a destination for forward thinking simple, Greek inspired food, and an altogether original dining experience. It is located on the urban gardens of Madrid Park, across the National Gallery. It is secluded from city noise, while centrally positioned on the outskirts of posh Kolonaki district. The wood red kitchen boasts local seafood and sustainable meat, blending natural ingredients and primitive techniques that remain simple to the core of the soul. Modern, lively meeting point, serving excellent food and surprising desserts!
Kyr Aristos (Kebab House) – Paleo Faliro
A favourite of all of my friends from abroad! Everybody has been here and not just once! The place to eat kebab of all sorts. Don’t forget to order the fried eggs on top of a mountain of french fries! No reservations required, you may have to wait during rush hours. Service is fast and efficient. Excellent value for money.
Da Bruno – Palaio Faliro
The long established “authentic” Italian trattoria of my neighborhood. And my personal favourite. Antipasti, pasta, pizza, carni, pesci, all of excellent taste & quality! Better reserve on busy days.
House (Spiti) – Glyfada
All day restaurant in a pleasant “design” environment with a menu offering a variety of dishes, cocktails, wines, desserts. Friendly service and pleasant aura! Suitable for a family lunch, a Birthday celebration or a casual dinner with friends.
Lithino – Saronida
Best kept secret in Athens! (Attika rather, as it is located out of Athens, on the way to Sounion). Giannis, the owner, keeps this amazing Cave/Cellar with a an out of this world selection of wines, spirits & cigars. There is sitting for up to 14 persons and he organises gourmet and private dinners and wine tastings. Connoisseurs only please!
Le Greche – Syntagma square
Last but not least… Unfortunately for my diet, I have recently (surprisingly enough!) discovered one of the best places for mouthwatering Gelatos in Athens! Don’t say I did not warn you…