This article is from the Greece FAQ, by Nikolaos (Nick) C. Fotis, firstname.lastname@example.org with numerous contributions by others.
~From: jon@.lindy.Stanford.EDU (Jon Corelis)
~Subject: Some Athens restaurants
~Date: 19 August 1994
Here are some notes on Athens restaurants, resulting from a recent
trip there. These restaurants are all in central Athens, and in
each case I give the neighborhood or district where the restaurant is
located (most maps of Athens will indicate where these districts are.)
Except where otherwise noted, all the restaurants mentioned are
moderately priced. Most are open only for dinner unless otherwise
noted. Many Athens restaurants are closed Sundays, so if you want to
try one on that day you should check by phone (your hotel can usually
help you do this.) This information was current as of June 1994.
Some of the restaurants mentioned below, especially those outside of
Plaka, aren't patronized much by tourists. But waiters usually know
enough English to help you order, and even if they don't, they usually
don't mind taking you into the kitchen to show you what's available. So
you shouldn't let a lack of knowing Greek make you hesitate to try any
of the more authentic places.
Almost all visitors to Athens find themselves spending some time in
Plaka, the old neighborhood at the foot of the Acropolis. Plaka is
filled with restaurants, most of them serving bad, overpriced food to
crowds of tourists. There are some worthwhile establishments, though.
In the past I've enjoyed the lunches at Zeus (in Modern Greek
pronounced 'Zefs,') a pleasant small restaurant high on the slope of
the Acropolis -- it's something of a climb to get to it, and you have
to pass a number of other eateries on the way whose touts tend to rope
in most tourists before they get to this one. There are nice views
from some of the tables. Recently it seems that this restaurant is
open only for dinner and may be under new management. I haven't been
there since this change, but I've heard reports that it's still good.
To get there from Plaka, find Mnesikleous street and follow it uphill
until you can't go any farther.
Another good but somewhat touristy place, which is at Hadrian and
Kydathinaion streets right in the middle of Plaka, is Byzantino,
which serves traditional, somewhat elaborate taverna food. Most tables
are outdoors, and it's open for lunch and dinner. This is the same
place which used to be called Costi's; it's changed name and apparently
management but the food is even better than it used to be.
The Five Brothers Taverna, near the Tower of the Winds, specializes in
game dishes, which are excellent. They also have a full menu of other
Greek dishes, which are OK but nothing special.
Sigalas, at 2 Monastiraki Square on the edge of Plaka, serves
authentic taverna food of the simpler kind in a colorful, bustling
atmosphere at lunch and dinner. They have good barrel retsina.
Damigos, at Kidathineon 30, is a small basement taverna which looks
like it hasn't changed a bit since about 1915. The limited menu
specializes in fried dishes, including the best cod cakes ever, and
excellent fried eggplant. In the spring sometimes they have fresh
volvous (a sort of salad of pungent onion-like flower bulbs,) a
traditional lenten dish which is very rarely served in restaurants.
Karavitis, at Pafsaniou and Arktinou in the Pangrati district,
remains one of the best traditional tavernas. Open nightly including
Another good place in the same Pangrati area is Themistokles, at 31
King George (Vas. Georgiou) street. They have the best grilled
meatballs in Athens, and a relatively quiet atmosphere for a taverna.
The clientele here tends to be older and somewhat conservative, though
I've also seen tables of younger people and families.
Demokritos, at number 23 on the street of the same name, is an
altogether excellent taverna with particularly good barrel retsina.
Another good traditional taverna in this area is Philippou, at
Xenocratou and Ploutarchou. The grilled fish is especially good here.
Unlike most tavernas, they are open for lunch as well as dinner.
Budget-conscious travellers may be interested in O Vrahos at 8
Lykavitou street on the edge of Kolonaki, which serves simple but good
Greek home cooking at remarkably low prices. They have barrel wine,
and are open only for lunch.
Rodhia, at 44 Aristippou near the base of the Lykavettos funicular,
is an upscale taverna with a limited menu -- almost everyone orders the
appetizers and the lamb with oregano -- and a very good red barrel wine.
Try to get a table in the garden. Somewhat expensive, but worth it.
There are a number of popular inexpensive tavernas in Exarchia, the
student district east of the University and National Museum. My own
favorite here is Lefka, at the corner of Mavromichaeli and
Voulgaroktonou. This long established taverna is a favorite both with
locals and also with the English speaking student and academic community
in Athens, among whom it is sometimes known by the nick-name "The Green
A long-time popular Kolonaki restaurant, Rouga, has closed. Someone in
the neighborhood told us they thought it would be closed permanently.
Another old Kolonaki place, Jimmy's Cooking, has turned itself into a
sort of snack bar; I didn't try it, but it doesn't look very promising
any more. And Okio, which I have reported here before as being in my
opinion the best restaurant in Greece, has closed permanently.