The Best Restaurants in Athens Greece – Written by a Local

The Best Restaurants in Athens, Greece: Where to Eat
The Best Restaurants in Athens, Greece: Where to Eat

Identifying the best restaurants in Athens Greece is something which is relatively subjective. That said, there are definitely those places which are beloved and highly regarded by locals and those which are tourist traps. This article will help you identify the former.

Indeed, Athens is quickly establishing itself as a great travel destination for gourmands, and the delicacies to be found at the various eateries here go well beyond souvlakis and gyros.

The Best Restaurants in Athens:
Why Trust My Opinion?

As a British expat who has spent the last two years living in Athens with a Greek partner, I feel well poised to help you identify the best restaurants in Athens. I know this city like the back of my hand and have frequented all of the best restaurants and neighborhoods. This provided me with a broad range of experiences and eateries from which to shortlist the below.

I also decided to write this article as I felt annoyed with the content that was already out there regarding Athens restaurants. Most articles that you will find on the topic are written by people who have spent just a few weeks in the city and are therefore in no position to give out advice with any level of authority. 

The Best Restaurants in Athens Greece: Dining in Athens at a Glance

Best Restaurants in Athens
Best Restaurants in Athens

This guide has been broken down into separate sections. Feel free to utilise the table of contents above in order to skip through to the relevant sections and find the type of spot that you want to dine at. For recommendations on after-dinner tipples, you can also check out this Athens nightlife guide written by a local.

Fine Dining in Athens

Restaurants that boast a la carte menus, tasting platters, and sophisticated wine pairings.

Athenian Tavernas

The best cozy spots to enjoy homemade classics such as pasticcio and moussaka, or meze style dinners.

Fish Restaurants

Athens’ proximity to the sea means that there are plenty of excellent fish tavernas that serve up the latest catches.

Charcuterie Spots

Wonderful Athenian delicatessens perfect for sampling an array of cold cuts, cheese, and wines.

Dessert Spots

From pastries cooked by award-winning chefs to sinful mountains of loukoumades, Athens boasts plenty of wonderful dessert spots.

Take Out and Greek Comfort Food

Souvlakis, and gyros, and pitas – oh my! The best places to eat Greek takeout food in Athens without the tourist price tag.

International Dining Options

If you have been travelling in Greece for a while and crave a change, I’ve listed the best choices here.

The Best Restaurants in Athens Greece: Fine Dining in the Greek Capital

The Best Restaurants in Athens: The Terrace at Eleas Gi
The Best Restaurants in Athens: The Terrace at Eleas Gi

If you want to treat yourself during your Athens itinerary, celebrate a special occasion, or simply catch a glimpse into the lifestyles of the Athenian elite, the fine dining restaurants listed below are the best places to start.

Vassilenas

Where: Vrasida 13, Athens, 11528

Vassilenas restaurant is an Athens institution. This restaurant is the oldest continually running restaurants in Athens and has captured the hearts of many notable figures over the centuries – including William Churchill and Sophia Loren. Vassilenas boasts traditional Greek dining utilising fresh, organic ingredients in a stylish setting.

Byzantino Restaurant, Hilton Hotel

Where: Leof. Vasilissis Sofias 46, Athina 115 28

The Byzantino restaurant on the ground floor of the Hilton Hotel Athens has long been a beloved rendezvous point among the Athenian elite. The Restaurant’s unique menu offerings have been lovingly designed and prepared by the establishment’s award-winning Greek chefs.  

The menu here boasts traditional Greek classics with contemporary and international twists. Think sumptuous pasta masata from Folegandros prepared with marinated beef, black truffles, mushrooms, and kefalotiri cheese. Dinners here are well worth the price tag. This is my personal favourite upscale restaurant in Athens.

Eleas Gi

Where: Eleas Gi Restaurant, Kifisia 145 63

A big part of travelling is to be found in uncovering a country’s food culture. In Athens, the perfect place to do that is at Eleas Gi in upscale Kifissia. 

The highlight of Eleas Gi is the tasting menus which enable patrons to sample a large number of classic dishes. Depending on your appetite, opt to sample a selection of 14 or 24 dishes that highlight the very best of Greek cuisine. Envisage exquisite marinated meat dishes like beef tagliata, and succulent smoked gyros served with melted metsovone cheese. For the various tasting menus, you can ask the in-house sommelier to suggest you the perfect wine pairings. 

Food aside, Eleas Gi is renowned for its scenic terraces that offer incredible views over downtown Athens. Reservations are highly recommended if you plan on stopping by on a Friday or Saturday night. 

Mani Mani

Where: Falirou 10, Athina 117 42, Greece

Situated in Athens’ colourful Koukaki neighbourhood, Mani Mani is a restaurant that is beloved by locals and tourists alike, Mani Mani brings unique flavors to the Athens restaurant scene. 

As the name suggests, the eatery focuses on delicacies from the Mani region of Peloponnese, Greece. Enjoy wines from Laconia, cheese from Gythio, and meats from Areopolis as you take your taste buds on an adventure across the country. 

Spondi

Where: Pirronos 5, Athina 116 36, Greece

Since its opening in 1996, Spondi has been an important face on the Athenian fine dining scene. The proud owner of two Michelin stars, Spondi regularly appears on shortlists of the best restaurants in the world. 

Spondi’s contemporary French menu presents a modern twist on classic favourites. Portions are hearty and generous, and the hospitality of the service staff is second to none. The atmosphere gives spondi a certain je ne sais quoi – the restaurant is designed from reclaimed bricks and resembles a vaulted wine cellar. There is an extensive selection of Greek, French, and Italian wines on the menu. A resident Sommelier can help you decide upon the perfect pairing for your dish. 

Cookovaya

Where: Chatzigianni Mexi 2, Athina 115 28

The brainchild of five of the most respected and renowned chefs in Greece, Cookoovaya is a Michelin-starred eatery that has captured the hearts of hundreds of locals and visitors. The charming restaurant focuses on classic Greek recipes and the concept of enjoying home-cooked meals just like yiayia (grandma) used to make.

Cookoovaya is the Greek for “owl” and is used to display wisdom and knowledge, in this sense, aiming to represent the knowledge that the restaurant’s resident chefs have of their trade. Every aspect of Cookoovaya’s menu is prepared on-site – from the bread and condiments to the pasta and ice cream. Food is enjoyed among friends and hospitable staff in Cookoovaya’s elegant dining rooms. 

Galaxy Restaurant, Hilton Hotel

Where: Leof. Vasilissis Sofias 46, Athina 115 28

For exquisite dinner with a view, the Galaxy Restaurant & Bar on the top floor of the Athens Hilton Hotel is the place to go. Perched atop the elegant Hilton Athens, the Galaxy restaurant serves up incredible views over the Acropolis, Mount Lycabettus, and downtown Athens while you dine. 

The diverse Galaxy restaurant menu boasts an array of flavourful dishes from around the globe. Think fresh hand-rolled sushi inspired by Japan, meze-style amuse-bouche from Spain, and rich Italian pasta.

After dinner, wander into the sleek lounge area and have the bartenders whisk you up an old-fashioned or a bitter negroni as you enjoy the 360-degree panorama of Athens illuminated by hundreds of twinkling lights.

Funky Gourmet

Where: Paramythias 13,  Salaminos, Athina 104 35

Situated in a scenic neoclassical building in Keramikos, Funky Gourmet is the proud owner of two Michelin stars. As the name suggests, the innovative eatery boasts creative interpretations of classic gourmet dishes. Patrons can opt to order a standard meal or to sample the restaurant’s innovative 14-course tasting menu.

Note: From July 2019 to January 2020, Funky Gourmet is closed for relocation.

The Best Restaurants in Athens:
Homely Greek Tavernas

Sphḗka

Where: Str. Kontouli 15, Athina 117 42

Sphḗka can be very much considered as being the Greek answer to the tapas bar. The restaurant’s menu is filled with meze style dishes that are intended to be shared among friends. 

Homemade classics (moussaka, pastitsio, etc) make an appearance on Sphḗka’s menu and are reasonably priced. Among Sphḗka’s highlights are their generous mixed grills and shared dishes that enable you to try lots of different dishes at once. As you pay to leave, you will be given a lovely warm glass of their homemade rakomelo

Avli Psiri Restaurant

Where: Agiou Dimitriou 12, Athens

If you want to enjoy the ambiance of a traditional Greek taverna, the Avli Psiri restaurant is one of the best options in Central Athens. Located just a short walk away from the Acropolis in Athens’ Psiri district, Avli Psiri is a homely little place that is always packed full of locals. 

This restaurant is special because it is somewhat secret and “hidden” from view. Avli translates to “the backyard”, and the taverna is situated in a tiny little piazza that is tucked away down one of the graffiti-filled backstreets near Athens’ ancient sites. 

Avli Psiri serves all of the traditional taverna foods that you would expect – keftedakia meatballs served with potatoes, sausage and onion casseroles (spetzofai), and dolmas. All service comes accompanied by a smile from the friendly family that own and work at the restaurant as the radio plays out old Greek classical songs. 

ΡΕΜΟΥΤΣΙΚΟ ΨΗΤΟΠΩΛΕΙΟ (Remoutsiko)

Where: Leof. Agiou Dimitriou 120, Ag. Dimitrios 173 41

Remoutsiko is a lively traditional tavern that is such a hit among locals that it requires an advanced reservation most days of the week. The taverna plays host to live bands and musicians who perform in the restaurant’s charming open courtyard as marinated meats and steaks are grilled over open spits. 

The restaurant is located in Agios Dimitrios just fifteen minutes away from central Athens, and well worth the journey for the wonderful food. If you and arrive at Remoutsiko and find that you have to wait a while, you will be treated to free wine at the bar – perfect!

The Best Restaurants in Athens:
Seafood Tavernas

Best Restaurants in Athens: Ouzeri Lesvos, Exarchia
Best Restaurants in Athens: Ouzeri Lesvos, Exarchia

Psaras Fish Tavern

Where: Erotokritou 12, Athina 105 56

Arguably the very best place for eating seafood dishes in central Athens is the Psaras Fish Tavern in the charming Plaka neighbourhood. Established in the 1800s, the tavern is a popular haunt with locals and tourists alike. During the busy summer months, the patrons and tables of the restaurant occupy the entirety of the nearby Erotokritou street square. 

You may have to wait for a little for a table if visiting Athens during the summer season, but be rest assured that it is well worth it. In recent years, the owners of Psaras have expanded and diversified their menu so as to offer more selection than only fish dishes. 

A lot of the charm of the Psaras Fish Tavern is owed to its location – the restaurant is situated in an old neoclassical mansion. Though from the outside, the structure looks grand, inside it feels as though you are sitting in someone’s cosy living room. Psaras is decorated with rustic wooden furnishings and antique trinkets.

Ouzeri Lesvos

Where: Emmanouil Benaki 38, Athina 106 78

If you are not able to incorporate the Greek islands into your Greece travel itinerary this time around then don’t worry, you can still experience some of the Mediterranean spirit of the islands at Ouzeri Lesvos restaurant. As the name suggests, this fish taverna and ouzeria specialises in food from Lesvos island.

This is a favourite spot among locals and visitors from Lesvos – As a matter of fact, most of the time you will look around and find that you are surrounded by people from the island who are visiting family and friends in Athens and have travelled across the city to come to Exarchia on account of Ouzeri Lesvos’s excellent reputation.

Note: Exarchia is Athens’ alternative neighbourhood and it does not have the best reputation. It may not be everyone’s cup of tea, but in my opinion, it has more charm and personality than it does a dangerous atmosphere.

The Best Restaurants in Athens Greece:
Delicatessens and Charcuterie Spots

Miran

Where: Evripidou 45, Athina 105 54

A visit to Miran is as much of a photo opportunity as it is a dining experience. Situated on the colourful Evripidou street, close to Athens Central Market, you cannot miss Miran with its cured meats and pastirma hanging in the doorway

Once you step inside Miran, you will note it is one of the most expansive Mediterranean delicacies that you have ever laid your eyes on, with countless cured meats, cheeses, dairy products, and homemade baked goods awaiting behind the various counters.

Of course, you are free to sample and purchase the goods that interest you, but the true beauty of paying a visit to Miran is found in asking the staff to prepare you a bespoke charcuterie board.

The specialty of Miran is meats and dairy products sourced from the Kerkini region of Greece, but more exotic flavors can be found and sampled here including camel meat. 

The charcuterie boards are best washed down with a pairing of locally sourced wine. The concept of Miran may seem touristic, but I also know many Greeks who will pay a visit to the city centre specifically to buy some deli goods from Miran for their fridges.

Karamanlidika

Best Restaurants in Athens: Karamanlidika is a popular choice for Charcuterie
Best Restaurants in Athens: Karamanlidika is a popular choice for Charcuterie

Where: Sokratous 1, Athina 105 52

Situated directly across from Miran is Karamanlidika. Karamanlidika has a more traditional taverna style ambiance and a menu that boasts homemade taverna dishes such as pasticcio and moussaka in addition to the tasting platters. Those wanting to sample the various cold cuts and produce can opt to choose one of the boards prepared as per the menu, or choose their own produce. 

Karamanlidika’s menu focuses on food from the Thessaly region of northern Greece. As you dine to the background of old bouzoukia music, it is a very pleasant place to enjoy lunch and dinner.

The Best Restaurants in Athens Greece:
Dessert Places

Best Restaurants in Athens: Lukumades
Best Restaurants in Athens: Lukumades is a great urban dessert spot

Greek cuisine isn’t known for its desserts, however sweet tooths need not despair – there are plenty of wonderful patisseries and dessert spots scattered through Athens.

Nancy’s Sweet Home, Psyrri

Where: Pl. Iroon 1, Psyrri, Athens 105 54

Combining decadent desserts with a cosy, homely atmosphere, Nancy’s Sweet Home is one of the best places to stop in Athens for pudding. Here, all considerations for portion control go out of the window. Envisage giant slabs of chocolate cake that are three times the usual and swimming in a sea of hot chocolate fudge. 

With an enviable corner location in Psyrii, Nancy’s Sweet Home attracts tourists and locals alike. Consider also stopping by the bakery next door to pick up some bougatsa, spanakopita, or other Greek pastry classics. 

Le Greche Artisanal Ice Cream

Where: Mitropoleos 16, Athina 105 63

Few things are more refreshing on those 35 degrees Athenian summer days than cooling down with some homemade gelato. For most locals, La Greche is the go-to place for ice cream when they are in the city centre. 

This art-nouveau artisanal gelato parlour is hidden away down a narrow alleyway that veers off from Athens’ central Syntagma square. All gelato and ice cream products are made from scratch using high quality, locally sourced ingredients: sweet wines from Santorini and Lemnos, cherries from Macedonia, ricotta cheese from Crete, figs from Kalamata, and dairy products from local farms. Better still, the owner trained beneath renowned Italian pastry and gelato chefs Iginio Massari and Francesco Palmieri. 

Lukumades

Where: Aiolou 21, Athina 105 51, Greece

Lukumades is a picture-perfect urban dessert place in central Athens. Named after the traditional Greek doughnuts (loukoumades), the hip spot offers eclectic modern twists on the dessert.

The typical way to eat loukoumades is to cover them in a sinfully sweet honey syrup, a sprinkling of cinnamon, and some chopped nuts. At Lukumades though, you can enjoy plenty of weird and wonderful interpretations of the dessert – think doughy delicious doughnuts topped with bavarian cream, chocolate pieces, and sprinkles.

Dining Etiquette in Greece

Some additional pointers that you may want to keep in mind while eating in Greece are summarised below for your reference.

Tipping

It is not customary to tip in Greece but tips are always appreciated, even if you just leave 50 cents or so at a local taverna. Some higher-end eateries may automatically add a 10% service charge.

Taking Food Home

If you cannot finish your meal, you will usually be able to have it boxed to take home with no problem. The only exception to this is some of the high-end restaurants which do not allow it for some reason.

Portion Control

A lot of tavernas and restaurants offer “full” portions and “half” portions for their dishes. Full portions are often monstrously huge and you could spend an entire week eating them so opt for halves (which are still usually huge!) We usually order several half portions to share for the table at tavernas and eat them like a meze.

Check the Prices

This should not happen at the Athens restaurants I’ve recommended here, but if you do happen to wander into a tourist trap near Plaka or the Acropolis, check the prices of everything when you order. It is not unheard of for the waiter to “add it up wrong” and charge you an incorrect higher price thinking that you won’t notice…

Food Delivery in Athens

If you are feeling exhausted after a long day of sightseeing or taking a day trip out of Athens, rest assured there are plenty of food delivery options available to you. I feel pretty lazy admitting this but one of my go-to sites, when I am at home in Greece, is called e-food (Google it!)
 
The e-food delivery service lets you order meals from tons of excellent local restaurants, tavernas, dessert places, and coffee shops – not just junk food and classic takeout! The minimums for delivery are usually pretty low (think 5 euros or so) and delivery is typically free. 

Have any questions about this guide to the best restaurants in Athens? Don’t hesitate to contact me via the comments below. I live here in Athens (Pangrati), and will be happy to assist as best as I can. Safe travels! Yassou! Melissa xo

Disclaimer: High Heels and a Backpack is in no way affiliated with any of the businesses contained within this “Best Restaurants in Athens” guide. Everything contained here is strictly based on opinion and I have not been compensated by any of these establishments.

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