The culinary traditions of Greece are inspired by the mild climate, fertile land, wild greens, olive groves, fresh fish, and organic meats. Importantly, it’s also shaped by history and its geographic location, which for thousands of years has been a center of cultural exchange. In Athens, you can find some of the best that Greece has to offer.
Athens is a culinary haven with both new wave Greek restaurants and internationally minded eateries. The city’s food experiences will be the highlight of your trip — even if you’re only allocating a small budget toward your appetite. One thing to keep in mind is that Greek meals last for many hours and usually start with meze (shared dishes served as appetizers). Also, Greeks like to eat late in the evening, and no late night out is over before stopping at a gyros kiosk for a souvlaki.
These are the best places to eat in Athens’ most popular neighborhoods.
Acropolis Museum Restaurant $$ — The panoramic views of the Acropolis are good enough reason to come to the restaurant on the second floor of the Acropolis Museum, but you should also come for the food. The morning menu features a traditional Greek breakfast featuring a selection of dishes like freshly baked bread served with homemade flower honey, chokeberries, mastiha (resin from the mastic tree) pancakes covered in grape molasses and tahini, and full cream yogurt with thyme, honey, and nuts. On Fridays, the restaurant stays open until midnight, making it an ideal location for a candle-lit dinner complimented by the sound of live jazz.
Where: Acropolis Museum, Dionysiou Areopagitou 15, Athina 117 42, Greece
Strofi $$ — Strofi opened in 1975 and is one of the most loved restaurants in Athens by travelers thanks to its all-weather terrace with spectacular views of the Acropolis. In spite of its popularity, Strofi maintains quality and the classical identity of dishes. Here, you can get a good idea of what homemade Greek food tastes like, with options like stuffed zucchini balls with yogurt, eggplant saganaki, stuffed grape leaves, and a whole roster of lamb dishes.
Where: Rovertou Galli 25, Athina 117 42, Greece
Dionysos Zonar’s $$$ — Located at the bottom of the Acropolis, this 50-plus-year-old restaurant was recognized in 1997 by UNESCO as a monument of modern architecture with global significance. The menu is Mediterranean, and some must-try options include asparagus cream soup and shrimp moussaka for starters and the black orzo pasta with seafood or the oven baked lamb for mains. For those with a sweet tooth, there are 11 desserts on the menu. Compliment your meal with Zonar’s impressive selection of Greek and international wines.
Where: Ροβέρτου Γκάλλι 43, Athina 117 42, Greece
Monsieur Barbu $$ — Monsieur Barbu is a welcoming café-bar-restaurant for any occasion and time of the day. It’s most famous for its Sunday brunch, which can beat even the heaviest hangover with its egg, meat, and vegetable-loaded dishes. Those looking for something sweet won’t be disappointed with the large fruit- and chocolate-covered options off the menu. Monsieur Barbu feels like home, and the service is friendly and casual, matching Koukaki’s hip vibe. It stays open until 2:00 AM, and you should plan on staying for cocktails after dinner.
Where: 59 Falirou Street, Koukaki Athens, Greece 11742
Athiri $$ — Located in a neoclassical house with a dense garden, Athiri puts hospitality at the forefront of everything it does. The chef takes traditional recipes from all over Greece and adapts them to the wants of modern Athens. The menu frequently changes depending on the availability of seasonal ingredients, and all produce is strictly sourced from Greece. Try the fava with caramelized onion, sweet tomato, and parsley for a starter. For a main, give the grilled veal liver with greens and ginger olive oil a chance, or order the cod doughnut with beetroot and capers.
Where: Plateon 15, Athina 104 35, Greece
Klimataria $$ — Open since 1927, Klimataria, which is close to Psiri and the Athens Central Market, used to be a spot where merchants would come to relax and enjoy themselves. The dishes were simple and homemade, and the wine flowed. Today, the tavern maintains that friendly environment and dedication to traditional Greek dishes using handmade bread and hand-stuffed grape leaves. There’s live music Wednesday through Saturday, and don’t be surprised when locals start singing along.
Where: Pl. Theatrou 2, Athina 105 52, Greece
Thanasis $$ — A kebab wrapped in pita bread with tzatziki, onion, and tomatoes — this is Greece’s street food that you must try at least once, either as a take away while continuing sightseeing or after a long night out clubbing. Thanasis, off Monastiraki Square, has a long-standing history of pleasing the masses. It’s been making kebabs for long lines of people since 1964.
Where: Mitropoleos 69, Athina 105 55, Greece
Glykys $ — Glykys is another traditional café and tavern in Plaka offering a great selection of hot and cold appetizers, which you can share with your friends over traditional alcoholic beverages like raki, ouzo, rakomelo (hot raki with honey), and locally produced wine. For dessert, try the orange pie or the homemade glyko tou koutaliou (spoon dessert), which resembles jam.
Where: Geronta 2, Athina 105 58, Greece
Anafiotika $$ — Follow the cobblestone alleys of Athens’ most scenic neighborhood to Anafiotika café, a traditional tavern that puts its outdoor tables on the stone stairs leading up to the historic settlement the café is named after. The 10-page menu has coffees, fresh juices, and milkshakes along with breakfast dishes, mezes, main courses, and alcoholic beverages. If you haven’t had the chance to try gemista (stuffed peppers and tomatoes with rice), try it here. For dessert, expect to be torn between the walnut pie and the kataifi (an almond and walnut pastry). Every week, Anafiotika hosts live bands that play traditional Greek music.
Where: Mnisikleous 24, Athina 105 56, Greece
Oikonomou $$ — A tavern that’s been in the neighborhood since 1930 that counts politicians, artists, and journalists among its regulars. The kitchen doesn’t have a frying pan — everything is slow-cooked in a pot — and the only baked dishes are the beef and pork steaks. Don’t miss the aubergines cooked in red sauce and the okra dish served with freshly baked bread. In the summer, tables are brought outside on the pavement so guests can eat under the olive trees.
Where: Kydantidon 32 Athens, Greece 118 51
Kappari $$ — This family-run tavern attracts all generations who love Greek cuisine. It’s not all just classic recipes, though. The young chef isn’t afraid to take risks with the menu, and he frequently utilizes local and freshly sourced produce for innovative dishes. Try the cheese pie (a recipe from the island of Skopelos), apaki (a type of smoked pork meat popular on Crete), prawns with ouzo and saffron, and barley risotto with prawns and pesto. Finish your meal with the chocolate pie served with ice cream.
Where: Ακαμαντος 28 Athens, Greece 11852
Nikkei $$$$ — Since it opened in 2015, Nikkei’s innovative approach of Peruvian food cooked with Japanese techniques has been gaining loyal customers (nikkei is the globally used term for Peruvian-Japanese food). Go for the citrus quinoa salad and the Chilean sea bass with kimchi, and complete your meal with a Peruvian-inspired cocktail.
Where: Ksanthipou 10 & Dinokratous Athina – Kolonaki – Square Deksamenis GR 106 73, Dinokratous 10, Athina 106 75, Greece
Matsuhisa Athens $$$$ — Headed up by the famous chef Nobu Matsuhisa, this fine-dining Athens restaurant is a nikkei restaurant that blends Japanese and Peruvian cuisines. Matsuhisa serves delicious sushi rolls and tapas, but what makes everything taste even better is the natural surrounding of the Astir Palace resort overlooking the Saronic Gulf. If here for a light bite, eat at the UMI Bar, which is just a few feet above the crashing waves.
Where: Apollonos 40, Vouliagmeni 166 71, Greece
Ark $$$ — This all day café-bar-restaurant is located on the Athenian Riviera. It’s loved by locals and visitors for the sea views, high-end design, chef Giannis Baxevanis. Most dishes are served as mezes and served in the middle of the table to allow everyone to taste as many flavors as possible. The menu is long, and some favorites are the grilled sardines, cheese pie, the whole stuffed fish baked in the wood oven with aromatic herbs, and the urchin with tomato, lemon, and carob bread.
Where: Grigoriou Lampraki 2, Glifada 166 74, Greece
Varoulko $$$ — Inspired by his many journeys cooking on boat cruises, chef Lefteris Lazarou opened Varoulko in 1987. That influence is still seen today through the restaurant’s inclusion of culinary ideas from around the world. The menu centers on fresh seafood, and the ingredients are seasonal. Seafood lovers will be spoilt for choice while even those who only passively eat seafood can find options they’ll love. We suggest the vinegar octopus, taramasalata (a dip made from fish roe), and risotto with cuttlefish and spinach. The restaurant is located on the Mikrolimano harbor, and the tables on the deck are the most sought-after, so bookings are highly recommended.
Where: Akti Koumoundourou 52, Pireas 104 35, Greece
Hytra $$$$ — Located on the sixth floor of the Onassis Cultural Centre on Syggrou Avenue, this Michelin-favored restaurant is off the average traveler’s radar due to its location. Trust us, the extra mile is worth it. During summer, Hytra moves to the seventh floor, from where diners can admire views of the Acropolis and a panoramic look at the city. The menu is based on Greek cuisine but expressed and presented in an offbeat and upscale way. There are three tasting menus (including a vegetarian option) with up to 14 courses, each paired with wine or cocktails.
Where: Leof. Andrea Siggrou 107-109, Athina 117 45, Greece
48 Urban Garden $$ — The spot to go for tasty street food in a quirky setting, 48 Urban Garden is in an Airstream parked in the yard of an art gallery. The herbs used in dishes and cocktails are from the nearby vegetable garden. The food is a fusion of Southeast Asian, Central and South American, and Mediterranean flavors. Whether you go for the beef burger, veggie tacos, or chicken skewer, you will leave with a pleasant taste and a happy tummy.
Where: Armatolon ke Klefton 48, Ampelokipi 114 71, Greece