I thought this section would be easy; just add the places that we like. The reality is that, as a local, you become familiar with a place and go back to it because you know what to expect, or became friendly with the personnel and … feel at home. More importantly, the food scene in Athens is undergoing a huge transformation. New places are opening constantly. Some offer excellent food, drinks, just-dessert, etc. Some become trendy social hubs where people want to hang out and food is of secondary importance.
Below is a list of places we like. But, I strongly recommend you check the following sites:
- Goοgle: Athens restaurants
- Google: Athens restaurants with Acropolis view
- Michelin local guide. Beware, prices can range from very reasonable to … exotic at least for Greek standards. From the ones I have been, I like Oikeio and Nolan (reasonably priced) and Soil, Spondi and Varoulko for a gourmet experience.
How to view the listings: Click the title or the photo and a separate tab will open with the relevant site (if one exists). Click on the bottom for directions to get there. Actually, the Address button opens the site’s google page. There you will find more info and pictures than in the site of most listings! Also, telephone numbers for reservations or delivery information where available.
To assist with your navigation through the listings, I have included a list sorted by area with a title description and a direct link to the listing.
- Souvlaki Greek tavern, Piggypopoulo
- Greek tavern, Vyrinis
- Greek tavern, Karavitis
- Greek tavern (kafenio), O Andreas
- Bistro, The Black Sheep
- Bistro (all day), Rizzari 22
- Branch & desserts (all day), Ohh Boy
- Street food (vegan), Babaghanoush
- Restaurant, Fatsio
- Ice cream takeaway, Maraboo
- Greek tavern (one of a kind), Diporto
- Street food (vegan), Falafellas
- Street food (middle eastern) & desserts, Feyrouz
- Fried dough dessert (takeaway), Lukumades
- Bistro (vegan), Avocado
- Restaurant (fusion), Nolan
- Desserts, mainly profiterole (takeaway), Choureal
- All day Italian pizza & pasta, Facce Strane
- Restaurant & Drinks, Prasini Tenta
This is a Souvlaki tavern, also offering take away and home delivery. Great food! We visit or -mostly- take delivery regularly. I’m afraid their site is in Greek, but when you visit they have an English menu.
Great Greek food, decently priced. Seating is a little cramped and booking ahead is mandatory. This is a popular place for both locals (they even come from other suburbs) and tourists.
Unfortunately, last time I checked their site was only in Greek. If you manage to navigate through it you will find a link to download the menu in English. Press here and scroll down. At the end of the 1st page of the Greek menu there is a tab on the left titled: Menu in English.
Vyrinis is my favorite Greek tavern in the area. It has excellent Greek food including enough options to cater for vegans. I particularly like their spacious outdoor sitting at their elegantly decorated courtyard.
You will find more information through the address link than on their Facebook listing (their site).
All day spacious Restaurant/café. I like this place and choose it particularly when I want to have a quiet discussion. The food is good and so is its pricing.
Trendy coffee shop offering brunch and desserts. Mostly street pavement sitting. It offers excellent brunch and desserts. Waiters have a bit of an attitude for my taste, but I suppose that is expected in a trendy place. People que for a table. I don’t. But if you can put up with it, the food is great.
Traditional Greek tavern established in 1926. Mostly a meat place. In the summer it has an inviting courtyard outdoor setting. Good food, a tad overpriced. But it does give a nostalgic vibe of what was a typical Greek restaurant some 30 years ago. One of the few remaining.
Fatsio is an old-style Greek restaurant established in 1969! It offers traditional good quality Greek food. Open only for lunch. Think of it as the equivalent of a dinner.
Street vegan food. Pavement sitting area as well as limited indoor sitting. Excellent quality. Don’t miss the lemonade with ginger. I find it very refreshing.
An old Greek style coffee shop. Back in the day the Greek kafenio (coffee shop) was an all-day meeting place for men. It served light food (proper meals by today’s standards) and coffee. Frequently, men gathered to play cards. I come here every other month with a friend for lunch. We always have meatballs, French fries, and Greek salad. They do more daily dishes.
I think you will find the cook (Andreas’ wife) from 12:00 to 15:00. I heard the owner wants the property and they may be forced to relocate. Hopefully I’ll find out before you do and let you know.
There is no site, or menu. I’m not sure they speak English, but you will get by. If you want to see what most of Greece was like until the 1970’s don’t miss this opportunity. The food is very good and so are the prices.
All day coffee place and Italian restaurant. Owned and operated by an Italian. Great pizza and pasta. They have the best tiramisu even compared to what you get in most places in Italy.
You will go to Diporto (two doors) for both the experience and the food. This is a dinner. There is no sign outside. You can hardly notice it until you come to the steep steps of one of the two entrances. Although below street level the openings are wide, its well aired and not in the slightest claustrophobic. There are less than 10 tables. If your group does not fill a table, it is likely that another group will join you (not done elsewhere in Greece).
There is no menu here. Just the food of the day. Maybe a choice of 3-4 things. You eat and shortly after you will be asked to move on (not a custom in Greece). The setting is simple and before you enter uninviting.
I think it’s open only during the day.
I’ve chosen a photo of the facade of the building. This is not to scare you. Rather, to make sure that you find it. It is popular among Greeks and foreigners. You can’t reserve, but you won’t wait for long because table turnover is quick.
I came across this review of Diporto that I found informative. Just in case you need some more convincing.
Street food, no sitting. A tiny place with great and juicy falafel (vegan food).
No site, but a menu in English is available on the Address tab.
Street food with bar type sitting. A middle eastern joint, mostly pastry based. A must stop if you are interested in discovering new tastes. Check their site. They have an English menu.
Across the street they have a dessert joint. Visit both.
A simple downtown vegan restaurant with great pizzas and refreshing juices. Their site has a menu in english.
Nolan is described by its creators as comfort food. I think its border line fusion food. It’s one of my favorite places. Delicate, well balanced fine tastes. Take it easy, at the end of the day, one dish at a time accompanied with wine.
Mind you, Nolan is closed in the summer. Actually until mid-October. The operation is transferred to Mykonos island.
Prasini Tenta is on Lycabettus hill about halfway to/from the top. It offers great views of Athens center including the Acropolis hill as well as the south side of Athens ranging from the southeastern suburbs to southwestern ones. At the far right you will see Piraeus (which is a port city grown to become adjacent to Athens).
The location and setting are great. It has decent food and drinks. Mostly, you will stop for a drink and maybe a bite to enjoy the view. In the hot summer months, it is best to visit before 11:00 am or better at, or just after, sunset.
DaCapo probably has the best espresso coffee in Athens. In the summer try the freddo espresso (black iced coffee with foam) or the freddo cappuccino (same, with milk). If you take sugar, you need to ask for it beforehand. You don’t add it after as you would with hot coffee. The way it is produced is: make an espresso coffee, add sugar, add ice cubes, and whip it in a mixer. It turns cold and foam is created. Some places, like DaCapo add sugar in liquid form (made separately) after the whipping so that you can “play” with sweet coffee vs unsweetened coffee foam. A little detail that most don’t even notice!
In addition, they have excellent hot chocolate and super fresh sandwiches. What you see on display is probably made within the previous 30 minutes.
We are regular customers of DaCapo. So are our teenager kids. It’s always takeaway coffee and frequently sandwiches. Of the probably over 1,000 times we have been there in the last 20 years or so we have sat less than ten times. Chairs are not the most comfortable. It is self-service and some customers (of a certain type, not us) do get special service (i.e., are served for a good tip!). Owners, particularly the wife, are arrogant. So, what you read on google reviews is correct! But make no mistake the coffee and snacks are great! So is the location! And the owner basically introduced espresso and freddo espresso coffee to Greece.
Freddo espresso (iced black coffee) and the freddo cappuccino (with milk) are Greek concepts. This is shaken iced coffee. Do not confuse it with the Italian espresso freddo shakerato which is more of a coffee dessert (too much sugar). Freddo espresso derived from the Greek frappé coffee. That is instant coffee shaken with ice cubes to create the foam. Click here if you are interested in the history of frappé coffee.
Kostarelos is an upmarket dairy producer with several branches in Athens and abroad. In the Kolonaki branch there is a sitting area offering snacks and salads. It a great place for a light lunch, a glass of wine, or a coffee if you are in the area.
If you like dairy products, and are heading back to the apartment, buy some of their cheeses, yogurt, or rice pudding. They also carry some excellent ham choices.
Oikeio is one of our favorite bistros in the area. You need to reserve in advance to get a table. I prefer inside to the outside hilly uneven pavement sitting. I must say, for me it has more of a winter vibe.
While putting together this list, I discovered its on the Michelin site of recommended restaurants, although I don’t think it has a Michelin star.
Takeaway ice cream corner joint. Daily handmade ice cream with seasonal flavors. By the end of the day most flavors are gone! Popular with locals and tourists.
This is a takeaway dough balls and ice cream dessert joint. I prefer the traditional ones: no stuffing, add honey, nuts, and vanilla ice cream (or Kaimaki ice cream if available). Maybe a black ice coffee with no sugar (freddo espresso) to balance the taste.