Athens Food Guide
The types and diversity of the food in Athens are immense, you could write books on it. Below are some suggestions for finding food, markets, restaurants, and food tours. This is just a sample of some of the places we went to after a month or so of visiting the area. You have all ranges of budgets, which is also phenomenal. Last, it was interesting that the government requires places to sell the standard bottle of water for only .50 Euros, so you could always find affordable water (some beach locations may be a bit more, but that didn’t happen to me).
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Things to know about Dining in Greece
People in Greece eat late. Often dinner is eaten around 8-9pm. Most eateries will stay open past midnight so after exploring all day you don’t have to be worried about finding something to eat at night.
How much do you tip in Greece? There is really not a tradition of tipping in Greece so if you feel the service was exceptional then leave a tip or round up at your discretion.
How to dress when eating out? Tavernas are very casual, but if eating at a fine dining restaurant then dressing up is always the best bet.
How much do restaurants in Athens, Greece cost?
Fast food restaurants will be around 5- 7 euros, and restaurants or tavernas could cost between 15 and 20 euros or more depending on the restaurant.
Hopefully a few of these hints in the Athens Food Guide leaves you feeling prepared to explore the city!
Top Must Try Athens Dishes
Athens has so many great food markets and Greek dishes, including vegetarian options. Before I went to Athens, I wish I had an Athens Food Guide like this to navigate the Athens Foodie scene. Some dishes you don’t want to miss include, Moussaka, Spanakopita, Bourgartsa, Kalamari (squid), Dolmades, Cured Meats, Souvlaki, Horiatiki aka Xoriatiki (Greek Salad), Lavraki (fish), Koulouri, Loukoumades, and Greek Coffee and Baklava to name a few (and my favorite). Sorry, my favorites list keeps growing.
Must Visit Markets in Athens, Greece
- Central Municipal Athens Market is known as Varvakeios Agora – Before I will get into restaurants and cafes, one area you may want to visit is the Central Market, where one can see fresh fish, meats and produce, and also some restaurants. The butchers can cut your meat, etc. I suggest you skip wearing flip-flops here though since the market can be a bit messy, especially with all the fish. Stores outside the market also specialize in spices, pans/cutlery, various nuts, and many specialty items related to the food industry. The Central Market is located in the middle of the Omonoia and Monastiraki neighborhoods.
- Ergon House Agora Athens – For those wanting a chic food shopping experience, you may want to go to the Ergon House Agora. You enter through a large atrium, then the market has fishmongers, butchers, bakers, produce, olives, plus various groceries from Greece. This is part of a larger complex including a restaurant and boutique food hotel. A real foodie experience; Ergon reports it’s in the Michelin Guide 2021. @ergonhouse
Best Restaurants in Athens Greece
There are so many fantastic places to eat in Athens! This Athens Food Guide just grazes the amazing foodie spots throughout the city. I wish I could go to all of them, but there is never enough time. But below are some I may suggest of various price ranges.
- Little Kook – For a fairy tale time, try the Little Kook, what a wonderful, quirky scene. The Little Look had the Alice in Wonderland theme while we visited and the theme changes seasonally. You can have a cappuccino, crepes, desserts, etc. A very energetic place where even the wait staff is in theme, it is so popular and they even had a little store. You must visit it, this is so Instagramable too. It is in the Psiri neighborhood near the Monastiraki and Thissio Metro stations. It’s a pretty lively neighborhood, especially at night. @littlekook
- Ellyz Athens – Ellyz is a Parisian-inspired café designed with beautiful pink and purple flowers. There are both couches in matching colors, even the espresso machine was pink. Ellyz also offers brunch. The specialty drinks, pastries, and desserts are so amazing as well. What a great place to stroll and have a dessert and latte. I loved it, plus it was relaxing. Loved the pink velvet cake and matcha latte too! It’s a must-try with 3 locations, including the Monastiraki neighborhood. @ellyzcafe
- Scholarship Restaurant – This was the first restaurant I ate at in Plaka. I loved it. It serves traditional Greek dishes, you can eat inside or outside on the canopied patio/porch. You can mix and match various plates, A la carte style. The sign on the door does say it’s a family restaurant. Prices were also reasonable on a per-plate basis and the home-cooked food was great. It’s quaint and looks very traditional with old family pictures hanging on the walls inside the restaurant décor, etc. I enjoyed my beef meal/with stew broth with fries. (Address: 14, Tripdon, Plaka)
- Spezie Pasta Café – Located a stone’s throw from the foot of the Acropolis hill is a line of tavernas and bistros, including Spezie. I sat outside on the patio after walking through the Plaka. They serve many items, but since I was in Greece I had chicken souvlaki. I liked it so much that I ate there two days in a row. The staff was nice and it was relatively quick. Note it is smaller in size but it has a covered patio like several on that row. @speziepastacafe
- Yiasemi cafe in athens in Plaka Athens greece (I call it the steps restaurant) – This bistro/restaurant/garden terrace’s address is 23 Mnisikleous Street in the Plaka. It has a street address, but I call it the “steps restaurant” since the restaurants are all located on the hillside off of the stairs. Besides the beautiful indoors and rooftop, people also are eating and drink outside on the steps. Many sat on cushions on the steps or small tables with shade from the sun. You can see this at many restaurants on the hillside. It is very pretty inside with a more Greek cozy feeling with several buildings connected. While it has some nice views, what was more amazing is the food and reasonable prices. The moussaka was one of the best I had and it just jumps to mind when I think of this place. Note if you have mobility issues, the stairs even inside the restaurant may be more of a challenge. Try the moussaka here I got it for 5 euros! @yiasemi_bistrot
- Po’Boys BBQ – Po’Boys calls itself “a hip outpost plating Southern BBQ” and serves Po’Boys, BBQ, and burgers, plus cocktails with indoor and outdoor seating. Located near The Downtown Athens Loft where I stayed, I wanted something quick, good, and tasty, and this place was just what I needed as I walked back from my day trip. I took it to go, but it is a cool, trendy place and some make reservations to eat here. Like some places in Athens, the benefit is that it is cheaper if you get it to go. I just had a very juicy burger with awesome fries and do recommend it. @poboysbarbeque
- Edem Restaurant (and café) – Oceanfront seafood/Greek/Mediterranean restaurant. Eat and watch the setting sun! Prices are generally around $20+ but the view at night was great and accessible by tram. The latte I had was really enjoyable. They do have various kinds of pasta too, there was a bit of a mix-up. I thought it was spaghetti, the waiter said “short spaghetti” but it was risotto. No problem, I think he would change it but it was good and I wanted to see the sunset. It was more the language barrier. All was good in the end. It’s impressive that Edem has been serving fish since 1919 and it is located in the Paleo Faliro neighborhood. Since it was shoulder season, I met a few local people that came here to have dinner and see the setting sun after a busy work week. It’s always great meeting some local folks and sharing a drink with them. @edem_restaurant_cafe
- Veneti and the Beneth Food Hall – Omonoia Square has the Beneth Food Hall (since 1948) where the original location is, but there are now others throughout the city, including a smaller one on the other side of the square. It was my “go-to place” for all types of Greek food and pastries that are primarily all prepared. Plus, it had reasonable prices, was very clean, and had a long history. They also offer other desserts, foods, etc. including macaroons. One local; there, a police officer, was telling me about the long history of the bakery. This main one had such a selection of food and great coffee selection. They also have an area where they prepare food, with various types of meal options on different days. Pictures of the original bakery are located in the hall that has seating inside and outside. @fournosveneti
- Hyper Astro Bar – A place to cap off the night. This rooftop terrace cocktail bar/restaurant/brunch spot is awesome, and centrally located with spectacular views of the Acropolis and Parthenon. Be prepared, it is a lively, chic place at night near Monastiraki Square. There is even an Instagram photo spot with a pink flower archway to capture the Parthenon in the distance. While we didn’t have reservations, there was a line and many had to wait. Menu items are more like $20+. Be prepared though it is busy, it is one of the best views. @hyper_astrobar
- Stani – Across the alley from Brown Red Athens hotel is Stani’s, established in 1931. I thought it was a restaurant, but many locals said it was a dairy/dairy bar. I thought it was a restaurant but then I found out many consider Stani’s to have the original Greek Yogurt, some made with sheep’s milk, goat milk, great honey, walnuts, etc. Stani’s offers so many famous yogurt drinks mixed with coffee and items including their yogurts and cream. They make fresh Loukoumades made to order in the oil made right at the counter to watch. They are similar to a fried dow/similar to donut, then you sprinkle it with powdered sugar and lather it with their tasty honey. They have covered outdoor seating in the alley. There is indoor seating, but they were limiting the seating at that time (likely due to Covid still). The inside is nice, making me think of something I may see in France. On some walls, you can see some of the original pictures dating back to 1931. It had A/C inside and since I stopped by for a third time to eat there, they asked if I wanted to go to the back of the restaurant that was blocked off, but we sat toward the front to see the baker make the Loukoumades.
Stani’s also had other Greek food dishes that many locals stopped to pick up like Spanakopita, But by the time I ordered, it was already sold out. The case also has dairy items you can buy to bring to your home or hotel. Prices were reasonable. Depending on where your hotel is, it may still be worth it if you want to try something a little different in a quaint restaurant and have a little time. @stani1931
- Apollonion (Bakery Patisserie – Cafe) – It is a fairly large bakery off of Omonia Square a the corner of Septemvriou and Veranzerou Street, the front of the store had a bakery that included bread, pastries, and gelato, while the lower back cafe opened to the alleyway next to Stani’s (noted above). They also had a covered outdoor eating area. The inside cafe section was very chic and had a beautiful long marble bar, with shiny espresso machines with various options (both hot and cold). Many people from the area came in for expressos to go. In the cafe section, they also had some tiny little type croissants you got (actually 2 of them) when you purchased a coffee. Inside they had seating but the doors were open to the outside so it was not well air-conditioned (but at the time it was reported utility costs were very high according to some of the locals). The cafe/restaurant portion also sold food, including breakfast options including Greek dishes, burgers, etc. I did come here a few times since it is across the alley from Dave Red hotel where I stayed for a few days. Prices were rather reasonable and it meant I didn’t have to walk up to the square a block or two (that was a slight hill). Loved it and it was well worth it. Looking at pictures of the original building, a bakery has been here for some time. @apollonion.official started in 1965 but there are franchise locations now.
- To Koulouri Tou Psirri bakery – In the Psyrri neighborhood, near the Little Kook is an old bakery that sells Koulouri, the popular sesame-topped, ring-shaped, pretzel-like, bagel. This is sold in many bakeries throughout Athens and it is very affordable. Koulouri also sells coffee and other bakery items to start your day, note that it is old and you will see their little delivery vehicles outside on motorbikes that deliver them to different parts of the city. But if you are near it, you may want to get a brand new fresh one walking through this lively neighborhood.
- Nikitas (family owned/operated since 1967) – This tavern is one of the busy places in Psyrri. If you go, it’s more for authentic food. It is older and most of the tables are out on the street, cats walking by, and graffiti on the nearby wall. But it has many of the classic Greek dishes. I tend to like dishes with meat, so I wanted the Moussaka. While I loved the one at the “steps restaurant” that had the better ambiance (and A/C inside), this Moussaka I feel edged it out this, but I still loved them both. It surprised me, this old, no-frills restaurant. There is no coffee here, most seem to drink wine (I heard they don’t do coffee at a taverna). I couldn’t tell if he was the owner, but the man serving us and explaining some dishes was so nice; making it an enjoyable meal.
Best Athens Food Tours
During our stay in Athens, we took walking tours of Athens in different areas. It was a great way to taste great food while learning about the neighborhoods. The two food tours we took are below. Notably, go on a full stomach and be prepared to walk since they do take a few hours, but the time was well spent. Tours not only familiarize you with the food, but they share great information on neighborhoods in Athens.
- Athens Food on Foot – If you want a tasty Greek treat, then I recommend the Athens Food on Foot Tour with guide Anna. The tour not only included some great Greek foods and dessert but included a great walk through some of the awesome neighborhoods of Athens. We tasted various Greek dishes and sweets, plus learned so many great facts along the way. Anna was so knowledgeable about the area, the foods, and the great food purveyors. I loved the most simple item, the Greek bagel called Koulouri. The spinach and cheese pies can’t be beaten and the sweet Bourgatsa is also awesome! While this is considered a breakfast treat, I could eat it all day! Be prepared to walk a bit, but this will help you digest all the delicious foods you try along the way. This food walking tour is a must-do in Athens! Note, this tour went into the evening, so you saw some of the nightlife in these lively neighborhoods. www.athensfoodonfoot.com
- Athens Street Culture and Food tour found on GetYourGuide and part of the Athens Walking Tours company. Not only do you get an Athens Food Guide, but you can learn about the cultural undertones of different neighborhoods and see a less touristic and edgier part of Athens. This was a great tour to see an rarely visited part of Athens with a super local vibe. Technopolis is a great area for street food, tavernas, and even nightlife. This tour was great to get a sense of the culture of youth and modernity in Athens versus learning about Ancient Greece.
Getting to Athens – Trains, Planes, Boats, and Buses
Athens has the Athens International Airport (ATH @athairport) built in 2001 and is the base for Aegean Air. Depending on traffic, It can take 30-45 minutes to get there from downtown, but you can also take the Athens Metro (www.stassy.gr). Besides that, people come to Athens via trains, buses, and boats. There are a plethora of options to help you navigate the city with your Athens Food Guide.
Notably, a recent report says that the Athens Metro has a high pickpocket rate, so watch your important items. Many folks carry backpacks on their front side, especially in crowded areas. But it isn’t all bad news, it is affordable and the basic 90-minute ticket is a reasonable price. As I was walking to catch a train, a Greek Orthodox priest with his long black robes and tall hat walked up to me, quickly handed me a paper, and walked off so quickly. I didn’t know what this was. Then a nearby person saw my wondering face and said that people sometimes only go to one station and then pass their single-use ticket to the next person they see entering the station if there is still time on it. So, I paid my way to the station I went to 2 blocks away.
Athens Food Guide Wrap Up
Given the long history of Athens, it is understandable that there is so much to see in this great city. Yes, it can be gritty at times, but it continues to exude that Greek spirit in the people and the amazing food. This Athens Food Guide is only a sample of what is available in this massive city. There is so much in terms of architecture, ancient ruins, and antiquities. The music and food and the spirit of the Greek people are really evident. I hope you enjoy it!
- Please see my website TravelsofSarahfay.com for more articles on Greece, cruises in Athens as well as other parts of Greece. There are also Instagram and Pinterest posts and YouTube videos coming so be sure to subscribe for my video on the Athens Food Guide.
- Check out my article on some of the best places to visit in Athens, Greece.
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Fun Fact – About 18 million people visit Athens each year; about 6 times the city’s population.