Restaurants in Athens

Touristy Plaka, below the Acropolis, has countless eateries marketing themselves as classic Greek tavernas, some with rustic decor and live music, though sadly few offer authentic Greek home cooking. The nightlife district of Gazi-Kerameikos is the place to try modern creative cuisine (some restaurants open for dinner only), while restaurants in the Syntagma area do lunch for business people working in nearby offices. In Monastiraki, on the edge of Psirri, you’ll find plenty of places doing snacks and fast food, many staying open well after midnight.

Some Athens restaurants close for the summer break from mid-July to mid-September. Tax and service are included in the bill, but if your waiter was especially pleasant, you might leave a small tip.

The restaurants below have been grouped into three pricing categories:
Expensive (over €60)
Moderate (€30 to €60)
Cheap (up to €30)
These prices are for an average three-course meal for one person including a bottle of house wine or cheapest equivalent; they include sales tax but do not include service charge or tip.

Prices in Greek restaurants usually include the 10% sales tax. However, all Greek restaurants are required by law to add a 13% service charge to the bill and it is still customary to leave the waiter an additional 10% tip on top.

Vyzantino

Price:
Rating: 4
Cuisine: Meze

A welcome retreat from the city heat, Vyzantino has outdoor tables hidden away among the pine trees on Strefi Hill, in Athens' student quarter, Exarhia. By definition a mezedopoleio, it serves a delicious selection of meze (small platters of appetizers) ranging from htapodi (octopus) to keftedes (meatballs) and salads, plus carafes of excellent house wine. Decorated with fairy lights in the evening, it makes an informal but romantic open-air dinner venue in summer. Open May-October.

Address: Lofos Strefi (Strefi Hill), Exarhia, Athens, Greece
Telephone: 210 330 1744.

Funky Gourmet

Price: Expensive
Rating: 5
Cuisine: Creative Mediterranean

One of the capital’s up-and-coming eateries, Funky Gourmet opened in 2009 and earned its first Michelin star in 2012. There’s just three degustation menus, of varying lengths, each with optional wine pairing. Expect a creative take on Greek classics and a fusion of Mediterranean flavours, all beautifully presented. It’s in Gazi-Kerameikos, in a white neo-classical mansion, with a modern minimalist interior, subtle lighting and walls hung with contemporary artwork. Open Tuesday-Saturday, dinner only.

Address: Paramithias 13, Athens, Greece
Telephone: 210 524 2727.

Varoulko

Price: Expensive
Rating: 5
Cuisine: Seafood

Seafood aficionados should head for Michelin-starred Varoulko (in Gazi-Kerameikos), under the auspices of owner-chef and Greek TV personality, Lefteris Lazarou. The six-course degustation menu is an adventure in itself, and changes daily depending on what’s fresh at the market. Expect exquisite treats such as ceviche of sea bass with tomato and basil sorbet, or Greek orzo pasta with shrimps, and wines to match each course. In summer there are tables on the romantic Aropolis-view roof terrace. Open Tueday to Saturday, dinner only.

Address: Pireos 80, Athens, Greece
Telephone: 210 522 8400.
Website:

Spondi

Price: Expensive
Rating: 5
Cuisine: Modern French / creative Mediterranean

Frequently cited as Athens' top restaurant, Spondi occupies a vaulted stone cellar in the Pangrati neighbourhood, with subtle lighting and neo-baroque furnishing. In summer, there are tables outside in a pretty courtyard. The menu features fusion cuisine, with an abundant use of aromatic herbs and spices. To try a selection of dishes, opt for the six-course Discovery Menu, including crab, foie gras, sea bass, venison, cheese, and a chocolate desert. Spondi was awarded its second Michelin-star in 2008. Reservations recommended. No lunch.

Address: Pyrronos 5, Pangrati, Athens, Greece
Telephone: 210 756 4021.
Website:

To Kouti

Price: Moderate
Rating: 4
Cuisine: Modern Greek taverna

To Kouti (meaning 'the box') is located close to the Monastiráki antique market, on a pedestrian-only walkway, overlooking the Ancient Agora. The interior comprises a lofty space with ochre-painted walls, wooden floors and marble-top tables. The menu features colourful salads and creative meat and seafood dishes, such as tabbouleh, and shrimps in honey. It is possible to come here just for coffee or a drink and in summer there are tables outside, with outdoor heaters in winter.

Address: Adrianou 23, Monastiráki, Athens, Greece
Telephone: 210 321 3229.

Tzitzikas kai Mermigas

Price: Moderate
Rating: 4
Cuisine: Modern Greek taverna

Tucked away behind Syntagma Square, on the edge of Pláka, Athenians like to retreat to this informal eatery for a long slow lunch. Serving modern Greek cuisine, it is known throughout town for its delicious chicken with creamy mastiha sauce served on a kadaifi (shredded pastry) base, as well as colourful creative salads. The décor is shabby chic with wooden furniture and shelves lined with bottles and retro tinned foods.

Address: Mitropoleos 12, Syntagma., Athens, Greece
Telephone: 210 324 7607.

Bakaliarakia o Damigos

Price: Cheap
Rating: 4
Cuisine: Traditional Greek taverna

You have to go down several steps into a basement to enter this authentic and welcoming eatery in Plaka. Run by the Damigos family for generations (since 1865), it’s basic and old-fashioned. Most people come here for the house speciality, bakaliarakia (deep-fried battered cod) served with skordalia (potato and garlic sauce), but the menu also includes classics such as Greek salad and a hearty lamb casserole. A palatable barrel wine is served by the carafe.

Address: Kidathineon 41, Athens, Greece
Telephone: 210 322 5084.

Melilotos

Price: Cheap
Rating: 4
Cuisine: Modern Greek taverna

Close to Syntagma Square, Melilotis opened in 2011 and soon gained a loyal local clientele. The menu changes daily (and is published online) depending on what fresh ingredients are available - there are always several vegetarian and macrobiotic choices (based on beans, lentils or chickpeas) as well as meat options, and, unusual for Greece, dishes using fresh salmon. The opening hours vary so check the website for details.

Address: Kalamiotou 19, Athens, Greece
Telephone: 210 322 2458.
Website:

Thanasis

Price: Cheap
Rating: 3
Cuisine: Traditional Greek souvlaki (grilled meats)

A classic place to stop for generous portions of shish kebab (made from minced beef) served with pitta bread, sliced onions, grilled tomatoes and chips, plus an optional side plate of garlicky tzatziki, Thanasis is popular with locals and gets unbelievably busy, especially at weekends, when it stays open till 0200. The atmosphere is fast and chaotic but traditional and fun. Tables both indoors and out, just around the corner from the Monastiráki metro station.

Address: Mitropoleos 69, Monastiráki, Athens, Greece
Telephone: 210 324 4705.
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