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Where to eat in Athens – a food and dining guide

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The diversity of food in Athens is mainly thanks to the diversity in Greek cuisine, which is the dominant food in the Greek capital. From seafood and barbecues to cheeses and fresh salads, the Greeks have perfected the use of their Mediterranean surroundings to give us the culinary wonders of Athens.

Margarita & Marianna Lyra

My Destination local expert on

Athens

Kolonaki

 

Kolonaki is one of the most affluent areas of Athens and attracts a high-class crowd. This is reflected in its restaurants, which are among the most exclusive in Athens. One such high-end restaurant is Filippou, which is a long-established taverna whose simple appearance belies the fact that is serves some of the best food on offer in the city. Alatsi is another top restaurant in the area. Just behind Hilton Hotel, this classy restaurant specialises in Cretan delicacies. It can be difficult to land a table because of its popularity with locals – particularly actors, politicians, and those in the higher salary bracket – but the wait is worth it.

 

Plaka

 

A popular part of the center of the city, Plaka is often a hotspot for tourists. Consequently, the restaurants here have become very tourist-friendly and have formed their menus accordingly. International cuisine is not uncommon here but it is still Greek food that rules the culinary scene here. Paradosiako stands out as a combination of a bar and tavern and has a very lively atmosphere and is often full even on weekdays. The seafood here is particularly good; fresh octopus and kalamarakia – fried squid – are two of the highlights from their exotic menu.

 

Psiri

 

Unlike Plaka, Psiri offers traditional Greek food almost exclusively. There is little compromise here, but that only serves to give a true taste of Greek cuisine. One of the most popular dishes from the Greek menus here is souvlaki, which consists mainly of grilled meat – chicken or pork – with tomato and onion slices. This is often served with tzatziki, which is a yoghurt dressed in garlic and cucumber, giving a cool crunch to the soft and juicy meat and vegetables. This dish can be enjoyed at any one of the restaurants around the area, where there is a good mix of quiet restaurants and more lively places with live bands playing.

 

Gazi

 

Gazi is north-west of the center and is largely a place for Greek cuisine. The Butcher Shop, as the name suggests, specialises in meat but such is the diversity in Greek cuisine that vegetarians can be satisfied even here, as cheeses from all over Greece are available here to complement the salads. Athiri is an award-winning restaurant that graces Gazi’s streets. The procedure for cooking here is as authentically Greek as you can get as the kitchen is free of cooking powders, canned food, or microwave ovens.

 

Pireas

 

Athens’ ancient port is a 40 minute drive from the center of the city and is a favourite among locals and tourists alike; mainly due to the bay-side town of Microlimano. The marina here overlooks ships in the Mediterranean Sea and the restaurants here take full advantage of being by such a prominent port by specializing in seafood. Diasimos is one such spots in this sunny corner of Greece, where you can enjoy whole fried shrimp, grilled thapsala (cuttlefish) and even grilled sardines.

 

Restaurants

 

Filippou, 19 Xenokratous. Tel: +30 210 721 6390• Paradosiako, 44A Voulis. Tel: +30 210 321 4121• The Butcher Shop, Persefonis 19. Tel: +30 210 341 3440• Athiri, Plateon 15. +30 210 346 2983• Diasimos, Themistokleous Coast 306. Tel: +30 210 451 4887