Athens for foodies
RESTAURANTSTO STEKI TOU ILIA (THISSIO) Address: Eptachalkou 5 On my first night in Athens I ate at this traditional Psistaria (a restaurant serving grilled meat) in the nice area of Thissio, just outside the tourist radar. This is an authentic eatery frequented by locals, very simple and definitely not pretentious. Here I had a cabbage salad and some tasty lamb chops from the softest meat, served with a glass of the wine of the house: it was a really welcoming dinner, of those letting you foretaste all delicious meals coming next! MANAS KOUZINA KOUZINA (AGIAS IRINIS) Address: Aiolou 27 Just few steps from the hip area of Agias Irinis, Manas Kouzina Kouzina is a simple place where you can eat traditional Greek food while looking at the bustle on Ailou street from a big window. The service is fast as all food is already made and you will choose it through the glass counter, but this doesn’t mean that the quality is low, quite the contrary! GAZI COLLEGE (GAZI) Address: Persefonis 53 A former industrial area, the Gazi district became the trendy place to be, where clubs and fancy cocktail bars are mushrooming all around, gay clubs included. Bustling at night, during the day Gazi district doesn’t lose its charm and it is certainly easier to enjoy Gazi’s restaurants without the night crowd. My pick was the Gazi College, a hipster restaurant whose walls are covered by wooden bookshelf and it has globes and reproductions of the solar system all around. The food choice isn’t traditional at all, featuring a wide range of burgers and salads, but the food is good and the hip vibe is making it even better! ROZALIA (EXARCHIA) Address: Valtetsiou 59 Rozalia was the only restaurant where I met fellow foreigners! I am not implying that the restaurant is touristic or the food is low quality, though… I had a great traditional dinner here! (…maybe a bit too heavy, but that’s Greek food! And anyway, if you are replete, you can always call the resident cat to your table and he will love to help you finish your meal :-) ). Here I had a vegetable pie (a kind of burek) and pork souvlaki from a very soft meat, both very tasty! YPEROKEANIO (SYNTAGMA) Address: Pericleous 46 I noticed this hidden alley while wandering around downtown Athens and I already loved it for what it looked on a lazy holiday morning. Little did I know that this charming alley also hosts a lovely restaurant (the best place where I ate in Athens, actually) that gives off nice smell and jazz music at night! This restaurant is very tiny, a true hidden gem: there is a small kitchen in view and some tables within the alley. The food is simple and tasty and the atmosphere is really pleasant! The place is so cute I couldn’t help falling in love with it!
CAFES, TEA ROOMS, PUBS AND MOREPEONIA HERBS (THISSIO) Address: Amfiktyonos 12 A very cute tea room with a mezzanine floor where you can get your own customized blend out from many different qualities of tea. Here I also bought a Tibetan black tea to bring back home (and I am sipping it right now, while writing about how lovely this tea room is…), they have a wide selection of teas and infusions and some cozy tables to sit down and taste them. The place smells of wood and herbs, the atmosphere is very relaxed and calming, the tea menu is only in Greek but the friendly waiter will surely help you! CANTINA SOCIAL (PSYRRI) Address: Leokoriou 6 Well, this is one of those places which instantly got a special spot in my travel memories. It is lovely without aiming to be trendy, hipster or anything, there was an old radio tuned in on Greek music and some old Greek men having a great time ;-) I started to chat with the owner while he attempted to make me a cappuccino (“Is it coffee and ice, right?”), he has some relatives living in Italy and of course he knows all about Italian football and so by the time I got my cappuccino (“It’s the first cappuccino I made in my life!”) the ice was broken (and –luckily- it didn’t end up within the coffee!) and my new friend was sitting at my table. The place also has a nice outdoor garden, but unfortunately my week in Athens was exceptionally cold and rainy and so I didn’t have the chance to enjoy the outdoor area. YOZEN (KOLONAKI) Address: Tsakalof 7 I walked all my way up to the posh neighbourhood of Athens only to taste the pure Greek frozen yogurt from this shop. If you are a foodie, this is a recipe you really can’t miss! As in any frozen yogurt bar you will find many different toppings to choose from; I went for puffed rice and Goji berries and my yogurt was really yummy! Just be sure to go for the smaller size, as it is already a full meal by itself. BARLEY CARGO (SYNTAGMA) Address: Kolokotroni 6 This pub is well-known for serving a wide selection of Greek craft beers, I’m sure you won’t be disappointed with the selection! It is very crowded and loud, especially at night, but that’s part of the fun. BOOZE COOPERATIVA (SYNTAGMA) Address: Kolokotroni 57 Another great place to hang out at night, but also during the day. It has a long wooden table to share with young people working from their laptops and chess players absorbed by the game, a mezzanine floor to get a bird-view on the hipster furniture, high ceilings, lamps which can be easily considered art installations and an underground art gallery, which unfortunately was closed during my week in Athens. NOSOTROS (EXARCHIA) Address: Themistokleous 66 This is the place where I went with the street artist STMTS (you can read the interview here). It is a squatted place within the ever-rebellious Exarchia, so you can expect a simple selection of food and beverages spiced up with an alternative crowd, a wide range of cultural activities and discussions, some street art and the feeling to be right where “the movement” spread. The centre organizes several classes and workshops, movie screenings and many other events, and there you can also find a music studio and a library.