Restaurants in Athens
Travelling taste buds love the exotic and varied nature of Greek cuisine.
A traditional meal typically comes with a selection of hors d'oeuvres, known as mezedes. These include melitzanosalata (mashed eggplant with oil, lemon and garlic), taramosalata (caviar spread), gavros marinatos (marinated anchovies), and saganaki (grilled or fried cheese). Also, while many tourists ask for famous 'Greek' dishes such as dolmades and baklava, restauranteurs are quick to explain that those foods are actually Turkish in origin.
Athens has four tiers of restaurants. In an estiatorio, travellers will get the familiar but more expensive restaurant experience. Tavernas are less formal, cheaper and generally offer traditional dishes. Psistaria are Greece's version of a steakhouse. They're often buffets with spit-fired meat on display. Lastly, psarotaverna specialise in seafood dishes.
Athens also has a culture of street vending. Koulouri (sesame seed bread ring), Galaktoboureko (custard-filled pastry dusted with icing sugar) and Tyropitta (cheese or spinach pies) are among the foods on offer are. Souvlaki is another popular Greek fast food. It consists of meat and vegetables grilled on a skewer, and is often served in a pita sandwich. Visitors will find many of these foods in the Syntagma district.
The strong, anise-flavoured liqueur, Ouzo, dominates the drinking scene. Ouzo originated in Greece and is traditionally served with the mezedes. Greece also has a very long history of wine production, though connoisseurs may be disappointed by the lack of subtlety.
Daphne's is one of the most exclusive restaurants in Athens. Generally on the calendar for visiting celebrities and dignitaries, the establishment serves traditional and classic meals. The idyllic setting has tables positioned around a converted mansion home and a pleasant courtyard.
Address: Lysikratous 4, Athens
Telephone: +30 21 322 7971
Tucked neatly into a cosy and intimate corner of Athens, this French bistro delights palates with a small list of French staples. During busy hours, customers are expected to share benches with other diners, which can be a fun way to meet locals.
Address: 32 Troon Street, Ano Petralona
Telephone: +30 21 346 4236
Voted Greece's best restaurant by the 'Athinorama' Golden Chef's Hat Award on multiple occassions, Spondi will drain your wallet but fill your stomach and leave you wanting more. Operating from a charming 19th-century townhouse with an open courtyard, the venue has a sense of grandeur tempered by friendly service.
Address: Pyrronos 5, 11636, Pagkrati, Athens
Telephone: +30 21 7564021
Taverna Tou Psirri
Taverna Tou Psiri is delightfully un-touristy and a favourite among locals. Travellers can expect decent, no-frills traditional food.
Address: Eschilou 12, Athens
Telephone: +30 21 321 4923
Situated in the Plaka area, Giouvetsakia offers authentic, pocket-friendly Greek cuisine. The small family-run restaurant is known for its specialty, Giouvetsi, which is a hearty lamb stew done with orzo in a red sauce. Guests receive a complimentary fruit dish after any meal.
Address: 144 Adrianou and Thespidos Streets
Telephone: +30 21 0322 7033
Vlassis is extremely popular among locals. The restaurant relies on traditional recipes from northern Greece and the islands, plus gourmet Mediterranean creations. Pricing is reasonable.
Address: Meandrou 15 Ilissia, Athens, Greece
Telephone: +30 21 646 3060
Offering seafood with a uniquely Greek twist, Chef Lefteris Lazaro creatively combines various Greek wines and olive oil in his exquisite creations. Situated in the city centre with a striking view of the Acropolis, this is affluent dining at its best.
Address: Akti Koumoundourou 52 Mikrolimano, Piraeus
Telephone: +30 21 522 8400
Located in Athens, Oroscopo wins over tourists with its range of traditional and international dishes. All food is prepared with pure Greek ingredients.
Address: 42-44 Antinoros street
Telephone: +30 21 723 8567