Athens leaves nothing to be desired when it comes to a selection of tavernas severing up delicious Greek fare.
We were in Athens for several days at the beginning of December to work, and visit friends who live in the city.
Although five days may seem like ample time, we really only went out one day for full-on sightseeing. Other days, we were visited friends, or were posted up in our Airbnb, working diligently.
While we may have been short on time to wander, we did, of course, leave plenty of time to enjoy meals out- especially dinner.
A longtime fan of Greek food, I was elated to try it in the country, itself.
Deciding to visit Athens was a ‘spur of the moment’ decision. We’d originally planned on spending the time in Istanbul, and so, on the flight over, I found myself irrationally excited about the prospect of creamy, cool tzatziki and crunchy, salty Greek salad.
In Greece, you’ll find tavernas wherever you are.
Their menus usually consist of hot and cold appetisers, salads, meaty mains, fish and seafood. Taverna menus are designed to be ordered for the table, which means portions of things- even appetisers, are huge.
Often, when we ate out as a group, we ordered a few appetisers, and ~3-4 mains for the entire table. Usually, this was more than enough food for 4-6 people.
And, if it wasn’t, it was always easy to order more, which is perhaps one of the best things about tavernas. The ones we visited always seemed to operate efficiently, with food coming out quick.
If we’d done more sightseeing, we’d have inevitably stopped to eat more and discovered more spots around the city. Of the ones we visited though, zero complaints.
Everything was always so delicious- some places, we wished we could return to twice.
Where to Eat & Drink In Athens, Greece
WHERE TO HAVE COFFEE
Kaya: The best lattes in the city. Full stop. This tiny shop, tucked inside an arcade, was jammed with locals both times we visited, and for good reason. Their coffee is excellent
Papadalup: This cute coffee bar was in our neighbourhood, which made it even more appealing. Their cappuccino freddo (cold) is a must order in warmer months, as is the cold brew latte.
Handlebar: In need of a pick-me up after a day of work before sunset drinks, we popped into Handlebar for flat whites. Instantly, we wished we’d come earlier in our visit for brunch. We dug the relaxed, hip vibe of the place, and their brunch menu looked stellar.
Belray Bar: A real find for brunch, or late night cocktails. We stopped in for late night capp freddo’s, and really enjoyed the upbeat vibe of the place.
Mikel Coffee Company: Best thing about this coffee shop? Its central location.
WHERE TO EAT
Lolos: This gem was another neighbourhood find. We’re swayed by any place with a healthy distribution of locals milling about, and Lolos fit the bill for that. Everything we had here was ace- group consensus was that it was our best meal in Athens. All up, we ordered fried cheese, tzatziki, Greek salad, fries with feta, plus fish and octopus. Everything we had was fresh and delicious.
Bakery next to Lolos: Do not miss dropping in here if you make the trek to Lolos. The spanakopita pastries were so yummy, and sit well overnight if you’re like us and buy, then heat up for breakfast. And, the loukoumades (small fried dough balls, drizzled with honey) are divine. Have also heard good things about loukoumades at Kris, a place in central Athens that’s been making them since 1923.
Yiasemi: On the steps leading up to the Acropolis in Plaka, you’ll find a host of cute, small tavernas. We met friends at this one, which is one of their favourites for a lunch of Greek salad, tzatziki and fresh lemonade.
Pizza Dal Professore: Deciding to do a ‘pizza and movie night’ in at a friend’s house one night, we stopped here for our pizza needs because you can customise the size of pie and toppings. In other words, it’s perfect for a group where everyone can order their pizza exactly how they want it, and get as much of it as they need. General consensus: The margherita za was the best.
Attika Bakery: They had me at 24-hour Greek bakery. Our Airbnb was located right above this cute bakery, which just so happened to have bangin’ croissants, fresh orange juice, decent coffee and tasty Greek cookies.
Avli Psiri Restaurant: Hidden behind the facade of a beige wall with no sight, the tzatziki here was delicious. On the night we visited, there was traditional Greek music, which was lovely to listen to from the courtyard.
A few other recommendations we weren’t able to get to:
- Falafel at Falafellas
- Gigantic sandwiches at Guarantee Sandwiches
- Pizza at Smak
- Athens first street food court at Str. Eaters
- Ice cream at La Greche or Karakoy Gulluoglu (authentic dondurma)
WHERE TO HAVE A DRINK
A is for Athens and/or MS Rooftop: Next to each other, both boast incredible views of the city below, and setting sun over the Acropolis.
We found MS to be a chiller environment than A, but A had a better (and more diverse) drink menu. No matter which you choose (we went to both on different nights), just make sure you put ‘watch the sun set behind the Acropolis’ on your Athens to-do list. It’s a gorgeous way to cap off a day in this historic city.
Noel: Our interest in Noel came from it being advertised as a year-round Christmas bar. In reality, it’s just a nicely decorated bar with some Christmas lights strung up throughout. Nothing about the decor, or menu really, cues Christmas- at least not by Western standards. However, the cocktails are strong, and it’s a popular choice with visitors and locals, which means it’s buzzy in a good way.
The Clumsies: Rated as one of the 50 best bars in the world, we had to pop in here to check out the cocktail creations. I’ll say this- they didn’t disappoint.
Drunk Sinatra: Good tunes and deals on drinks. We didn’t stay long, because the bar felt a bit too touristy, but we thought it was a cheeky place to stop en route to other bars in the central Athens area.
Have you ever been to Athens? What did you think of the food scene?
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