Restaurants in Athens

Restaurants in Athens,Athens Restaurant Guide, Where to eat in Athens, dining out in Athens, eating out in Athens, eating out in Greece, There are loads of restaurants in the Athens Plaka and surrounding area. If you try these out you will know what a good restaurant should look, taste and feel like, and be less likely to be taken advantage of in one of the tourist joints. If you have any faves you want to add, take a picture and send me a review. 

This is the restaurant of choice for most locals in the Plaka. From the outside there is nothing to distinguish it from the other more tourist-type places except for it's great location in the small park on Kydatheneon street, but the food is better and influenced by the Greek clientele. I like the Byzantino spinach pie (spana-ko-pita), their fish soup (psa-row-soupa) you can get it with or without a plate of fish. You can get a Greek salad (hor-ee-ah-tiko), eggplant salad (mel-eetsana salata), yogurt dip (satziki), and all the standards. It's not cheap but it's not expensive either. I love their roast potatoes (fourno pahtahtes) and chicken (kotopoulo). They have bottled wine and cold beer. The menu is in several languages including English. Look for strange and funny translations on menus here and all over Greece. It's a high form of entertainment for travelers. Galeos is not red snapper which is what all the menus tell you. It's shark, kind of a humorous translation. You can walk right in and see the food. Either ask the cook or waiter how to pronounce whatever it is you want, or drag your waiter in and point to it. It's perfectly acceptable behavior. After lunch you can buy a newspaper at the kiosk across the street and have a coffee while reading about what's going on in the rest of the world. 
Athens restaurants, Athens tavernas, traditional Greek food, Athens Restaurant Guide, Greece, restaurants, nightlife, food, dining, travel
If you should be lucky enough to be here before the weather gets too hot you may notice several basement restaurants. These are called Bakaliarzidikos and they specialize in fried codfish. There are three of them, the oldest being Domigos near the corner of Kydatheneon and Adrianou Streets right underneath Brettos Ouzo. The reason they are not open in the summer is because with all the ovens and fryers it's just too hot. But they have the best homemade wine (khee-ma) and the codfish (bakaliaro) served with garlic dip (skordaya) is out of this world. The tables are cramped and you can tune in to the conversation next door as easy as your own. It's very friendly and full of expatriates and smart people. Just about anything on the menu is good and your clothes will smell of codfish for days to come. My favorite is Saita, the one closest to Nikis street.
Psaras Fish Taverna
Psaras was my favorite restaurant in the Plaka. One of the oldest Tavernas in the Plaka, dating back to 1898, this is where my friends and I spent many an evening. Who cared if the waitors were rude and got mad at you if you didn't order enough, or spilled hot fish oil on my friend's expensive dresses not one but two times. What was the big deal if everytime we ate there the bill was padded with stuff we didn't order and never received? Even after my friends and I one at a time declared we would never eat there again, we always came back, because the food was great, the wine delicious and because it was on the steps of the Plaka far from any cars, it was like being on an island. They could insult us, not recognize us after hundreds of visits, ruin our clothes, rip us off and laugh at us when we left, and we did not care.
For some reason Psaras went out of business.

But now it is back, with new tableclothes, a new decor (a whole new restaurant in the same beautiful spot), new waitors (the old ones are probably in prison or selling chestnuts in Omonia), new cooks (the old ones were over 100 and probably died), and food and wine that is better then the old Psaras. The menu is in English and the waitors and staff are pleasant and very helpful. If you want to go to my new favorite restaurant in the Plaka come here. It's not too hard to find. It's on the corner of Erotocritou and Erehtheos streets up the steps that lead from the Plaka to the Acropolis. I love the soupes (cuttlefish).
If Psaras is too crowded go next door where Vasili, the former busboy of Psaras is now the Maitre'd and has the pleasant job of trying to convince people on their way to Psaras to eat in his place. Vassili was our favorite guy at the Old Psaras and he looks great in his new role. The food can't be too bad since some of the old Psaras crowd hang out there and even if it is, it shares the same quiet square as Psaras so at least you have the atmosphere. And if the wine is any good who cares about the food right? Anyway this restaurant was just bought by the owners of Psaras so it should have the same quality. Let me know.
Spilia Tis Acropolis
If you continue walking up Kydathenaon street past Adrainou and begin climbing the steps you will come to this very nice restaurant that is a cross between traditional and tourist fare. It is not too expensive and it is a relatively quiet location. Sit outside next to the ruins of ancient Athens.
Eden Vegetarean Restaurant
If you are a vegetarean I suggest going to the EDEN Restaurant on the corner of Misicleos and Lissiou streets. To find it just walk down Adrianou towards the Monistiraki flea market, and turn left on Misicleos and walk up the steps. I love their eggplant salad. It's sort of hit and miss. When it's good it's very good. When it's not, it's just OK. But if you are looking for a purely vegetarean restaurant its the best. (and the only).
There is another restaurant worth going to in the Plaka called Platanos. To find it walk down Adrianou towards Monistiriki. Turn left on Mysicleos street and then take your first right which is Diogenous street. It's in the platia. Go inside and see what they have. Everything is as good as it looks. Great place to eat at night. Be sure to sit outside unless it is cold.

Next door is the Greek Music Museum which is my favorite museum in the city. Each display has headphones so you can hear each instrument in context and in a variety of styles. If you continue walking you will come to the famous Tower of the Winds. 
Athens restaurants, Athens tavernas, traditional Greek food, Athens Restaurant Guide, Greece, restaurants, nightlife, food, dining, travel
Ouzo Cafeneons

Restaurants in Athens,Athens Restaurant Guide, Where to eat in Athens, dining out in Athens, eating out in Athens, eating out in Greece, Greek restaurants, Greek dining, dining out in Greece, Kouklis
Where Tripodon, (the road that goes around the Plaka side of the Acropolis) connects with Epiharmou is an ouzerie known locally as Kouklis. You will see a building with a people-packed balcony covered with vines and above in the 2nd floor windows, even more people. Order a small carafe of ouzo or their terrible red wine, a cross between Welch's Grape Juice and Manachevitz. The specialty here is flaming sausages (loo-kah-niko). Wait until the fire is out before eating. Also try their trout (eh-pes-tropho), giant beans in tomato sauce(yee-gen-des) and anything that looks good on display inside or what one of your neighbors is eating. It's a popular place for both young Greeks and adventurous tourists and their tables can spread out down steep Epiharmou street.
To Kafeneon
Just below Kouklis on Epiharmou street is one of my favorite ouzeries. Though Kouklis has always been popular I have preferred To Cafeneon's menu and ambiance, though there is not much difference between the two in price. If you are sitting on the street be aware that you are at a serious angle and maybe not as drunk as you think, though you will notice that things on the table with high centers of gravity tend to fall over easily. The same may go for you after an ouzo or two. This is a great place to come in the winter with a fire price and tsipuro that will warm you inside and out.
O Glikis
Behind Byzantno restaurant on the corner of Geronda and Eperidou streets is yet another ouzerie but I can't remember the name. I haven't been there in a few years but it is popular with young Greeks not just at night for ouzo but in the daytime for coffee too. If you are looking for a nice quiet spot to write letters, read the paper or just bliss out on your environment then try this place. And Tell me the name if you can remember it. If you are not sure what to order in an ouzerie, then ask for the pikilia, which is an assortment of stuff from the menu on one big plate. You don't have to drink ouzo either. They have Beer and wine and soda too as most all ouzeries do.
This Ouzerie on the corner of Voulis and Nikodimou is not exactly quiet, in fact its a lot like sitting in the middle of a traffic jam. But the food is great and the people who own it, Dimitris and his wife Eugenia are entertaining and great cooks! They also carry ouzo from Lesvos, a sure sign of sensibilty. Try their seafood pikilia, octopus, fried kalamarkia and galeos. Food-wise this is the best of the ouzo cafeneons in the Plaka. They have daily specials and pretty much everything here is good. They have a special sausage called soutsouki that has a curry flavor and this is what I get often. If they have frest friend gavros (anchovies) go for that. In fact that is the fish of choice for many people because it is usually the freshest.

The Diros is the favorite restaurant of my friend George at Fantasy Travel which is lucky for him because it is just two doors down from his office. Getting him to eat anywhere else is almost like pulling teeth but I don't really mind because I like the place. Diros was actually a very old restaurant located in Syntagma that closed many years ago and reopened with the same staff in their present location on Xenofontos. Airconditioned in the summer it is a good place to be when it gets really hot in July or August.
Near the Plaka

Where else in Athens can you get not only tiropita (cheese pie) and spanakopita (spinach pie), but aginaropita (artichoke pie), kolokithopita (zuchini pie), kototopita (chicken pie) and just about any pie you can imagine. For people on a budget this is a great way to save money because they cost around 250drs (less then a dollar) and are quite filling. The store has been open since 1910 and also has a wide assortment of pastries. It's easy to find at # 10 Voulis street, two blocks down from Syntagma (Constitution Square). Some people say Souvlakis are the national fast food dish of Greece, but I have always been a fan of spanakopita.
Giannopoulos and Papandreau in the Meat Market
Best time is late.A mixture of workers and people who have stopped for a late meal after a night on the town. Women in mini-skirts and high heels next to butchers in blood-splattered aprons and fishermen in overalls and boots. On stoves giant pots of beans, chickpeas(rivithea), beef, lamb, peas and potatoes are simmering or boiling. Most people are eating patsa, a tripe soup endowed with mysterious life-giving properties that the workers swear by.
 At this time of night this is the center of activity in Athens and patsa is the elixir of life. Feeling a little under-the-weather? A hearty bowl of patsa will fix you right up. Hung-over? No problem. Make sure you eat all the strange pieces of meat even though some of it resembles indoor plumbing. You're sure to feel better and it tastes better then it looks, providing that the intestines were cleaned properly. There's no better way to start the day or so they say. Men from the butcher shops yell back and forth and greet each other heartily, then go off to open their stalls for the customers who will be arriving soon.
On the corner where Ermou meets the Square of Monistiraki there is a small church. Next to it is what looks like yet another tourist-style souvlaki shop/restaurant, but don't be too quick to write it off. If you go inside you will realize that it is one of Athens oldest tavernas, just bending with the times. They have an enormous assortment of hot dishes from which to choose, and if someone in your party wants a souvlaki, this place will bring you the best of both worlds. Outside is cooler but a little noisy, and while inside can be hot, the decor is entertaining. Live music every night in the winter. The barrel wine is hit and miss so taste before you buy. Sometimes it is good and sometimes undrinkable. They don't serve Lesvos ouzo but Sans Rival which is a commercial variety and to me tastes like they made it for tourists. But if enough people ask for Lesvos ouzo maybe they will switch so don't be shy. The owner's name is Spiro and he owns the souvlaki shop next door too which supposedly makes the best souvlaki in Athens though most taxi drivers will tell you that the best are at Thanasis, right across the street.
The Secret Underground Taverna
For a fantastic eating experience, not for the fainthearted try the basement taverna on the corner of Sokratous and Theatrou at the bottom of the fruit and vegetable market.. Don't be afraid. It just looks a little rough. There are no menus but you can look around and see what everybody else is eating. Most of the customers are men. It's almost like a private club and it is a little intimidating, but worth it. The wine is great. The grilled fish (psa-ree psee-toe)incredible. If you want to play it safe order yellow split pea(fah-va), with bread (psoh-me), soup(soup-ah) and whatever looks good at the next table. If this place is too intense for you there are always the restaurants in the meat-market.
Athens restaurants, Athens tavernas, traditional Greek food, Athens Restaurant Guide, Greece, restaurants, nightlife, food, dining, travel Strophi
Kiki took us here and I would have written it off as a typical tourist place, but I was totally wrong. It is on the rooftop of an old building in Makrianni, a short walk from the Plaka, with a view of the Parthenon, so that you can watch the sound and light show as you eat your meal. Everything was excellent and you never know which famous dignitary or celebrity will be sitting at the next table.To find it just locate the entrance to the Acropolis and the Theatre of Herod Atticus. Walk down to Roberto Galli and you should see it. Have a raki after dinner.
Thanks to Haris Papadimitracopulos and Odyssey magazine for photo
Socrates Prison Taverna
Excellent grilled chicken, roast lamb and other meats and vegetables. Lots of mezedes and great wine. It's a little expensive and the servings are small but it's got a nice atmosphere and the dishes are interesting. Make sure you order your wine first because service can be a little slow sometimes and it takes the edge off waiting. The restaurant has moved from its old location up towards Strofi on Roberto Galli street.
Palia Taverna
This is a famous old Taverna in the area called Mets, behind the old Olympic Stadium. Like Strophi it is a place frequented by tourists, celebrities and dignitaries. The food is excellent. The atmosphere is on the Greek side of elegant. Kiki, Aliki and Denis from Dolphin took us there and we had a great time. (They even have Raki). If you are a group you will need to make a reservation by calling 323-2482 or 752-2396. If you want to walk there go to the Old Olympic Stadium and if you are facing it take a right. Then make your first left (Marko Mousouri street) and walk up the hill until you see it on your left. Let them know I sent you. 

Athens restaurants, Athens tavernas, traditional Greek food, Athens Restaurant Guide, Greece, restaurants, nightlife, food, dining, travel The Center of Hellenic Tradition
This is an odd place for a cafeneon but it is certainly worth a visit. It's a traditional style ouzerie in the middle of an exhibition hall and shopping arcade above small, crowded Pandrossou street in Monastiriki. There are works by prominant Greek painters, sculptors, wood carvers, potters and many other traditional forms of art. There is a wide assortment of ouzo and mezedes and plenty to look at. You can enter through the arcade at 59 Metropoleos st or from 36 Pandrossou street.

To Kioupi 
This working-class taverna in Koloniki has been a favorite of locals and businessmen for at least half a century, maybe longer. The first time I ate there was in 1969 and the only thing that has changed is the decour. Even the customers are the same. Walk down the stairs, find a table and then go up to the counter and tell the cook what you want. The waitor will bring it to you. Excellent wine too.

Furin Kazan
My inclination was not to include a Japanese restaurant in a Greek Travel guide because who wants to eat Japanese food in Athens? Then I thought about it. Would I eat Greek food in Tokyo? Yes, I would. Then my friend Ana kept trying to get me to eat here but I was either never hungry or "not in the mood for sushi". Finally I relented and went with her to this tiny restaurant on Apollonos between Voulis and Nikis. The place was packed with Japanese. There were no tables available and everyone looked like they were having a great time. So I never got to eat there. But if it's good enough for my friend Ana, and authentic enough for a room full of authentic Japanese, then it can certainly be in my Athens Guide.
Of course when it's 120 degrees outside, food only becomes secondary. Still you don't want to eat lousy food just so you can stay cool, so try the Delphi on Nikis street, near Syntagma square or the Hermion at 15 Pandrossou street close to Monastiriki. Byzantino (see above) has AC too but space is limited. The Delphi is one of the oldest restaurants in the Plaka area and prices are more affordable then Hermion. Walk in and go all the way to the back to see dozens of pots and trays with every Greek dish known to man. Their fricasse is great and they have some wonderful salads. It's hard to go wrong here. You can get food to-go, much cheaper then eating in the restaurant if you want to have a nice candlelit meal in your hotel.


If you are staying at the Attalos Hotel there are a number of good restaurants in Psiri and the area really jumps on Friday and Saturday nights and Sunday during the day which is my favorite time to be there. But I have taken a vow of silence to the people who showed me some of my favorite restaurants. They are afraid that if I put them on my website then one night we won't be able to get a table there. But there are a couple that I have found on my own that I am free to reveal. Walk from the hotel towards Monastiraki and take your first right there is a tiny restaurant on your right that is pretty good and generally uncrowded.
If you continue to the end of the street and take a left on Maioulis you will come to Bee restaurant which is a bistro with great salads, pastas, vegetarean dishes and is a hip and possibly gay bar at night. If you go right on Maioulis you will come to Rebecca, one of my favorite ouzeries, but you probably won't find a table since there are only 5 or 6 of them. But if you continue to the square you can eat at Platia Iroon. It is a mezedopleon and has about a hundred different dishes. In the winter everyone sits inside and listens to live music. But in the summer the tables and chairs fill the square. Around the corner and up a small street is the Naxos which is like being on the island.

Athens restaurants, Athens tavernas, traditional Greek food, Athens Restaurant Guide, Greece, restaurants, nightlife, food, dining, travel The reality is that the best restaurants are outside of the Plaka and central Athens, some in working class neighborhoods, some in the suburbs. One of the best nights of my life was spent with George Kokkotos (the famous taxi driver)and his family on Mount Parnes, just outside the city where there is an entire town of restaurants that serve whole grilled lamb, steaks, chicken, pork, kokoretsi, goat and every appetizer you can imagine. The wine was fantastic! The problem is Parnes is far, but maybe you can make a deal with George to take you there. I guarantee you won't be disappointed. George does not really drink so you don't have worry about not surviving the journey back

Fokionos Negri

Fokionos Negri a long pedestrian street in Kypseli with a couple places that I really like. One is called 48 Koudounakia. It is a psistaria. That means it has lamb, chicken, pork and kokoretsi on a spit and lots of meat dishes plus salads and appetisers and great wine. The phone number is 823-9261. Friendly and full of antiques and sheeps bells.
Probably the best place on Fokionos Negri is the Mezodopouleon To Tsiporadiko where you sit down and are greeted with a nice glass of tsipuro, the ouzo of the north, which is stronger than ouzo and does not taste like licorice. It tastes like moonshine. Great and varied menu of mezedes. This place is far superior to anything you will find in the Plaka and if you are adventerous enough I suggest you try it. It is at the top of Fokinos Negri # 72. Call and get directions. 821-6598. My friend Mike Constantinou of Greece Accommodations showed me this place so if you happen to be working with him ask him to take you there.


The small port known as Microlimano is known for its expensive fish restaurants. In fact there is a popular scam going on where a taxi driver takes you to one of these restaurants and you end up paying a fortune and he makes a hefty comission. Remember that in Greece some sea food is very expensive and in these restaurants that is the fish they push. If you do want to go to Microlimano, since it is a beautiful place where you can have a fish meal surrounded by fishing boats, the Fish Taverna Botsaris is one that was not over-priced and the food was quite good. And according to the business card I got from them the Chef is the Captain himself.

Also the Argos is inexpensive and very good. I went there this January on a beautiful sunny day, looking for another place to send people to that was not over-priced. The owners were really nice and the food was great. When I told them I had a website and I was going to put them on it for free they brought out all the cooks and some giant fish and posed for pictures and then sent me away with two bottles of ouzo and told me that I will never have to pay to eat there again! But remember that even the cheap restaurants do have expensive fish. Read the menu and if you are not sure of the price ask them to show you on the menu. Also some of the fish is sold by the plate and some by the kilo. The price per kilo is next to the fish. The expensive fish have a lot more zeros than the cheap ones.

The small fish taverna Koufounisia is impossible to find. It is in Kalithea at 215 Likougou and Agias Lavras and really the only way to get there is by taxi. But if you can get there you will be glad you went. Famous for fresh fish, octopus on the grill, crabs, mussels, clams and sea creatures you have probably never heard of or seen before. Deceiving in appearance, it was formerly a souvlaki shop. This place was shown to me by Kostas of Dolphin Hellas, so if you are working with him ask him to take you there. Mariana and George are the owners. She speaks English and German and majored in history.

A little fact a lot further in the port of Lavrion is the
Korali Restaurant where people eat when they are waiting to catch the ferry to Kea. But if you are doing a day trip to Sounion this is a fine place to eat. Though it is far from Athens I decided to include it because the food was so good.

Be aware that sometimes you will flag down a cab and rather then take you to the restaurant you want to go to, he will say he knows a better one and take you to another as I have mentioned above. Sometimes this may be the case, but more then likely he is getting a hefty comission from the restaurant he delivers you to and the bill is going to be ten times more then what you had planned on spending. My advice is to use a radio cab from the hotel. They are less likely to jeapordize their relationship with the hotel if you report them. Also George and his drivers know some excellent restaurants away from the tourist areas and if you add them to your group you will have a translator too. See
George the Famous Taxi Driver.
"In America you have your Silicon Valley", my friend Nikos told me." In Greece we have Cholesterol Valley". He is talking about the area called Vari which is to grilled meat as Mikrolimeno is to seafood. The town is located near the coastal town of Vouliagmeni on the road to the airport and is famous for it's collection of psistarias which serve roast suckling pig, roast lamb, roast goat, kokoretsi, paidakia all cooked over hot coals. I would consider a visit to Vari essential for anyone who wants to live like a Greek for one night and the more people you can get together for it, the more fun you will have. We went with George and a couple of his taxi driving friends and relatives to a place called Tassos that had great wine and delicious food. Tassos is easily recognizable by the fellow dressed like a Greek shepherd in a foustenella and a shepherds stick waving at the cars. Well , maybe not because lots of places have them. But if you love grilled meat it is tough to go wrong in Vari. Get a group together and call George.


They say a 15% gratuity is included in the bill but I leave some extra for the guys who clear the tables who are usually refugees and can really use the money because they are paid practically nothing or else they are the children of the owners who are being paid little or nothing. 

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