The Athens food scene is full of history and life. Its cuisine represents its pride, creativity and traditions. Many tourists visit Athens for its historic sites, but don’t miss out on its vibrant food scene. What better way to experience the culture of a country, than through its cuisine. Athens food scene is booming with modern new restaurants, trendy cocktail bars, traditional tavernas and tasty street food. The city is finding new ways to express itself through its culinary expertise. Athens is a city full of flavor, character, and delicious secret corners.
If you are a foodie, this guide is for you. It’s a comprehensive list for a gastronomic experience of Greek life. We have asked local expert Diane Kochilas to share her top picks for the best places to eat in Athens. Diane is a celebrity chef, television host(My Greek Table) and cookbook author. Diane beaming with passion feels, “Athens is a city overflowing with flavors”. So follow along and experience for yourself Athens culture, nightlife, and food scene like a local.
Trendy Cocktail Bars
A city known for its laid back nightlife is also known for making some of the most innovative cocktails. The best bars in Athens(and also the best in the World – See Top 50 Bars in the World) are within a few blocks of each other, which make for easy bar hopping.
Baba Au Rum is the best place in Athens for quality cocktails blended from handcrafted spirits from around the world. This creative cocktail bar is revolutionizing the bar scene in Athens with its charming vibe. It is lively and entertaining with one of the best DJ’s in town. They were also recently named one of the “Top 50 Bars in the World”.
Clumsies is the second bar in Athens to make the renowned list of Top 50 Bars in the World. With a charming atmosphere, a pool table, and small individual rooms, it makes for a perfectly relaxed evening out with friends. This novel bar, nothing clumsy about it, has imaginative cocktails that tingle your senses, making it one of the most exciting bars in all of Athens. The mixology team keeps things fresh with a regularly rotating menu.
Noel as the name suggests, may have you conjuring up images of Christmas and the holiday season. The festive red and green art deco vibe is indulgent and magical, making you feel like the holiday season is vibrant year round. Noel is one of Athens hottest bars, the cocktails are creative and each is handcrafted like a work of art.
Sipping Greek Wines – Wine Bar
By the Glass is one of the new breed of wine bars popping up in Athens. They offer locals the opportunity to taste prestigious Greek wines as well as international wines by the glass. The extensive wine list allows wine lovers the opportunity to taste wines in small, medium or larger size pours. Pair the wines with local cheeses and mezes. The light, breezy, garden like atmosphere makes for a wonderful escape from the bustling city.
Delectable Specialty Greek Food Shop
Pantopoleion Tis Mesogeiakis Diatrofis is a specialty Greek grocer serving premium Greek products like olive oils, wines, herbs, honey and cheeses. Its name means, the small grocery store of the Mediterranean diet. The owner, Yannis Barbalias, will even walk you through an olive oil or wine tasting. It’s a great place to stop in and pick up Greek Specialty items to take home and savor.
The Spice Route
Elixir on Evripidou Street is fun and visually intriguing. The entire street is fragrant, bustling and alive with spices and herbs. Elixir is a beautiful spice and herb shop that is tastefully designed to exhibit the beauty of Greek spices, displayed in elegant wood crates and shelving. The shop has a knowledgeable staff to help educate on the healing properties of local Greek herbs and spice.
Greek yogurt is world-renowned, but according to Diane, you have not had real Greek yogurt until you have visit Stani in Athens. Visit this little dairy shop that has been family owned and operated for the last 87 years, serving authentic sheep’s milk yogurt. The creamy concoction is served on a plate and has a thin crust on top with fresh golden honey and chopped walnuts. A little out-of-the-way, but a must visit for all foodies.
Souvlaki At Its Best
Souvlaki is one of the most quintessential Greek foods. Kostas on Pentelis Street is a tiny hole in the wall eatery that boasts the best souvlaki in all of Greece. The lines are long, the place tiny and you will have to eat standing, but it is all worth it as Kostas makes the best souvlaki you will ever have. This hidden gem will truly make you feel like a local. The souvlaki is made on a fluffy pita assembled with simple but quality ingredients. The meat is juicy and lean and the yogurt is fresh, creamy and delicious. The owner recommends the beef souvlaki and it was the best 2 Euros we have ever spent.
Sublime Donuts – Loukoumades
Loukoumades is deep-fried dough soaked in syrup, essentially a donut but so much better. These sinfully decadent fried balls have been a part of the Greek culture since the first Olympics in 776BC. Ktistakis, located in the Omonia neighborhood has been serving traditional Greek loukoumades since 1912. This local donut shop is a favorite among the locals. Diane especially loves Ktistakis as each order is prepared fresh on arrival and made with honey, cinnamon, and ground walnuts. The loukoumades at Ktistakis simply melt in your mouth.
Modern Greek Cuisine
Th Athens dining scene has been emerging with a new wave of modern Greek restaurants. Local chefs are committed to traditional Greek cuisine where the dishes are presented with a modern flair. This new renaissance of modern Greek restaurants, blends together the old with a fusion of innovative techniques.
Aleria is a stylish contemporary restaurant located in Metaxourgeio district of Athens. It is housed in a beautiful art deco villa with a lovely garden for outdoor dining. Aleria offers a tasting menu paired with quality Greek wines. The menu combines traditional Greek dishes with the highest quality ingredients from the land and sea.
Feedel is a local gem located on a hidden corner of Monastiraki . Located in the back of a garden, walking into Feedel makes you feel like someone let you in on a special secret. Feedel is urban gastronomy at its best offering modern Greek and Mediterranean cuisine. The bartenders have paired with the chef to design a cocktail pairing menu with each course. Feedel will knock your socks off. A must visit when in Athens.
Vassilenas is an iconic Greek restaurant serving Athens for over a 100 years, presenting creative Greek cuisine in a modern setting. Vassilenas has a wonderful wine list, wine cellar and wine decor. The dramatic wine cellar takes center stage, housing a broad selection of Greek and international wines. Several traditional Greek dishes are the original recipes of the family going back 100 years. The owners take pride in sharing their rich history and signature dishes. If you are looking for a classic Greek restaurant in a modern, elegant setting, then Vassilenas needs to be top on your places to visit in Athens.
Dourambeis in Pireaus (port) is the best seafood restaurant in the city. This seafood taverna is where the locals go for the best and freshest seafood in the area. The variety, the freshness, and the presentation of the seafood will draw you in instantly. Dourambeis has been an institution in Pireas since 1932.
Head to Le Greche for the best gelato in all of Athens. Escape the summer heat with a cool artisan gelato that is sourced from local Greek ingredients, using fresh all natural products. Our favorite was the Baklava flavored gelato. It had a creamy, nutty, honey flavor with crunchy bits of phyllo. With 24 flavors, there is something sure to please every palate.
Mouthwatering Milk Cakes – Galaktoboureko
So you ask what is galaktoboureko? Well we promise you this is the one dessert you will not be able to resist. It is a traditional Greek dessert made with a creamy semolina custard that is bathed in a vanilla syrup topped with buttery layers of phyllo sheets. This is the epitome of all Greek Desserts and the best place to find galaktoboureko is at Galyfianakis. Galyfianakis has been making Athens best galaktboureko since 1973. It is slightly off the beaten path, but we promise it is worth the hike.
Heavenly Gooey Baklava
When I think Greece I immediately think pastries, most notably baklava, a dessert worthy of the Greek Gods. The best baklavas are gooey, buttery, stuffed with nuts and then wrapped in a crispy phyllo pastry. There is a special pastry shop in Athens that makes the best baklava, and that is Mētropolitikón. Their baklava is beautiful and we mean visually beautiful. It is specially made from white almonds and the honey is from the owners hometown of Sifnos Island. Truly the best baklava in all of Athens.. Did you know there are three different kinds of baklava? Athens makes their baklava with almonds(sometimes mixed with walnuts). In northern Greece, they make their baklava with walnuts and in Turkey they make it with pistachios.
Come to Athens, Greece to explore the city and taste its delectable cuisine like a local. Athenians know how to eat and now you too can savor the gastronomy of Greece.