Athens is a popular stopover destination in Greece. More and more travellers choose to spend some days in Athens before hopping on a ferry to the beautiful Greek islands! In Athens, they can find some of the most important archaeological sites and museums in the whole country. Moreover, they get to experience the vivid nightlife, the hospitality of the locals, and some delicious food! There are a plethora of different food joints to try some of the famous Greek specialities. We have gathered a list of 15 places to grab a bite while you are wandering in the streets of the city centre!
Breakfast in the centre of Athens
Stani (Η στάνη) is a traditional dairy product patisserie dating back to 1931. The word Stani means sheep pen. Their Greek yoghurts have won several awards and are plain delicious! First, try the sheep-milk yoghurt topped with honey and walnuts, a dish traditionally served as breakfast in Greece. If yoghurt is not of your taste, try the “Anthogala” (Ανθόγαλα). Anthogala is the cream on top of the milk, also served with honey. It is silky smooth, rich in texture, and without the yoghurt’s sourness.
Address: 10, Marika’s Kotopouli str., Omonoia Athens, 10432
Bougatsadiko Thessaloniki Psyrri
Bougatsa is a pie with thin, crispy phyllo pastry and different fillings, from sweet -with a custard-like milky cream- to savoury with cheese or minced meat. Bougatsa is a speciality from Northern Greece, and you can find some of the best ones in the city of Thessaloniki. “Bougatsadiko Thessaloniki Psyrri” (Μπουγατσάδικο η Θεσσαλονίκη στου Ψυρρή) is a specialised pastry shop where you can try the original bougatsa of the Macedonian region. Our recommendation is to try both the sweet and the cheesy ones!
Address: 1, Iroon sq, Psyrri Athens, 10554
At Mokka Café, you can try the traditional coffee, local all over the Balkan Peninsula and Turkey, that carries the name of each country, respectively. Of course, you can have Greek coffee at every café in the city, but in Mokka, they prepare it the traditional way. The method of preparation is the following: They finely grind the coffee beans and mix the powder with water, unfiltered, in a brass pot called briki (μπρίκι). Then, they heat the coffee very slowly in hot sand. The burning sand simmers the coffee. Before it reaches the point of boiling, it is taken out of the heat and served in a small cup accompanied by a glass of fresh water and a Turkish delight candy. Drink until you reach the coffee pulp at the bottom of your cup!
Address: 44, Athinas str., Psyrri Athens, 10551
If you visit Athens during summer, there is nothing more refreshing than an iced coffee on a hot day! Try the traditional frappé, which is instant coffee with sugar and milk (optional), shaken and served in a big water glass with ice. The coffee creates a thick foam that dissolves slowly as the ice melts. It is not a coffee to drink in a hurry! Take your time and enjoy every sip slowly! The best setting to enjoy your frappé is in the charming Yiasemi (Jasmin) café in the area of Plaka, under Acropolis Hill.
Address: 23, Mnisikleous str., Plaka Athens, 10555
Ariston is a traditional bakery in the centre of Athens that dates back to 1910. There, you can try a variety of Greek pitas (the pastries with savoury fillings). We suggest the Kourou tyropita -a feta cheese pie- or the traditional spanakopita with spinach and feta cheese (optional). Greeks are not very “big” on breakfast. For many Greeks, just coffee is considered breakfast! Maybe, it’s because they prefer to stay a bit more in bed, rather than get up and cook something! So pies and the koulouri that comes next are the best choices for breakfast on the way to the office.
Address: 10, Voulis str., Syntagma Athens, 10562
To koulouri tou Psyrri
You will see stalls with koulouria all through the streets of Athens. The koulouri is the epitome of breakfast on the go! A very light and fluffy bagel in the shape of a ring, covered in sesame seeds. “To koulouri tou Psyrri” (Το κουλούρι του Ψυρρή) bakery is the source of this cheap and tasty street food. This bakery supplies almost all street vendors in the city. So go in the morning, and try it warm and freshly baked!
Address: 23, Georgiou Karaiskaki str., Psyrri Athens, 10554
Lunch in the centre of Athens
To steki tou Ilia
To steki tou Ilia (Το στέκι του Ηλία) is a typical greek tavern-butchery in the lively neighbourhood of Thissio. It has a lovely terrace to sit and enjoy all the standard meze you can find at a Greek tavern. However, we recommend you to try the speciality dish, the lamb chops. Grilled in a charcoal fire, they are very juicy and tender. You can order them by kilo.
Address: 5 Eptachalkou, Thissio Athens, 11851
Kostas is one of the countless souvlaki joints in the centre of Athens and dates back to 1946. We choose Kostas on our list because the souvlaki is a bit different than anywhere else in the city. For example, at Kostas’, you can only find two types of meat: pork skewers and kebabs. Moreover, Kostas doesn’t serve any gyros. Instead, try the pita with pork skewers served with a special tomato sauce, fresh tomatoes and onions. Do you want to try something different? Learn how to order souvlaki like a local!
Address: 1, Vasilikis str., Agias Eirinis sq. Athens, 10560
Ok, so you want to try some juice gyros? The souvlaki joint “O Kostas” has the same name but different flavours than the previous one! Here, you can try pita with gyros the traditional way, with lots of tzatziki sauce, tomatoes and onions. Kostas is also one of the oldest souvlaki joints in Athens and one of the best!
Address: 5, Pentelis str., Syntagma Athens, 10557
Steki tou Maki
At the edge of the Varvakios central food market of Athens, on a narrow street, you will find a traditional seafood tavern called “Steki tou Maki” (Το στέκι του Μάκη). Here, you can try fresh fish and seafood from the market next door to your dish! We recommend you try the ΒΒQed octopus with olive oil and lemon!
Address: Sofocleous str., Stoa Athanaton Athens, 10557
Diporto (Δίπορτο) is a basement-level taverna close to the central food market. What is unique about this taverna is that they don’t have a standard menu; they will serve whatever they prepare for the day. The food here is what we call a hearty meal, something you would have at a greek grandma’s home. You can try stuff you wouldn’t find easily in any other restaurant. The traditional legume soups and vegetable stews are excellent choices if you are vegan. The place is very plain and rustic, with wine barrels all around. There is no sign above the restaurant, so look for a wooden, brown double-door!
Address: 9, Socratous & Theatrou, Omonoia Athens, 10552
Telis is the place to go for delicious charcoal-grilled pork chops. Apart from the smoked and juicy meat, at Telis, you can try the original grilled salad. This salad has tomato, pickled green peppers, feta cheese, olive oil and oregano, and it is served in a big metal tray with a lot of fresh bread to “dive in” the Greek way! Enjoy with a glass of cold beer.
Address: 86 Evripidou str. & 20 Epikourou str., 10553
Ta Karamanlidika tou Fani
Ta Karamanlidika tou Fani (Τα Καραμανλίδικα του Φάνη) is a very eclectic charcuterie-meze restaurant with origins from Cappadocia in Asia Minor. The traditions and techniques of cooking and preserving meats and fish centuries ago are still alive! You can taste their delicacies in this charming place in the centre of Athens. Everything on the menu is exquisite; we suggest ordering various plates to share, some cured fish, and enjoying them with a glass of wine.
Address: 1, Sokratous str., Athens, 10552
Dessert in the centre of Athens
Krinos is one of Athens’s oldest greek doughnut joints (loukoumades). It dates back to 1923 and is in a beautiful neoclassic Athenian building. Loukoumades (λουκουμάδες) usually come in two shapes, spheres and rings. They are fluffier and airier than doughnuts. The traditional way of serving them is with a drizzle of honey, cinnamon and walnuts. In Krinos, you can try one of the best loukoumades in the city!
Address: 87, Aiolou str., Athens, 10551
Lukumades also specialise in loukoumades but with a more contemporary flare! That’s the reason we included both shops on our list. Here you can have traditional loukoumades with honey but also loukoumades filled with various creams (chocolate, vanilla, pistachio and more) and drizzled with different toppings and sauces.
Address: 21 Aiolou str., Agias Eirinis sq. Athens, 10551