Athens, with its vibrant atmosphere and a plethora of fantastic restaurants and atmospheric cafes and bars, is a must-visit destination. In this article, we will unveil a curated selection of the top-notch restaurants in Athens that you absolutely cannot miss during your trip.
Spondi: A Culinary Masterpiece
Spondi, the epitome of culinary excellence, has earned two Michelin stars, making it not just a favorite among Athenian food connoisseurs but also garnering recognition throughout Europe. Nestled close to the iconic Panathinaiko Stadium, the birthplace of the modern Olympics, Spondi impresses with its impeccable taste, stunning presentation, and ever-changing menu that reflects the seasons and the chef’s creative imagination. Each dish is a work of art, bursting with exquisite flavors and a touch of exoticism. To add to its allure, Spondi offers private dining experiences upon request on its exquisitely decorated first floor.
Funky Gourmet: A Gastronomic Adventure
Funky Gourmet, located in the heart of Athens in the vibrant Keramikos district, is acclaimed for its innovative and playful cuisine, which draws inspiration from Greek traditions. Since its establishment in 2009, this restaurant has consistently received rave reviews. It earned its first Michelin star in 2012 and a second in 2014, solidifying its position as a gastronomic powerhouse. The collaborative efforts of chefs Georgianna Hiliadaki, Nikos Roussos, and restaurant manager Argyro Hiliadaki promise an unforgettable and unconventional dining experience. Expect gastronomic delights like Greek bottarga tartlet infused with white chocolate.
Klimataria: A Taste of Mediterranean Tradition
Klimataria has been a beloved family-run taverna since 1927, captivating visitors with its Mediterranean cuisine, enchanting music, and lively dance performances—a pure reflection of Greek joie de vivre. Indulge in their signature dish, “tis oras,” a tantalizing grilled meat platter featuring biftekia, seasoned meat patties bursting with fragrant spices, as well as succulent lamb and pork chops. Don’t miss out on their stellar wine selection; after all, Klimataria, which translates to “grape vines,” never fails to serve excellent wines.
Aster: Where Art Meets Culinary Delight
Aster, a petite yet charming restaurant adorned with quirky mismatched furniture and cutlery, began as a late-night tapas joint where young dancers and actors would gather. It quickly earned a reputation as a go-to spot for indulging in the finest raki (a traditional Greek distilled spirit) outside of Crete while avoiding the dreaded hangover. Though the menu is concise, it boasts authentic ingredients sourced directly from Crete. Delight in delectable offerings such as xigalo, a creamy goat cheese spread, melt-in-your-mouth oftí potatoes, and handmade vinegar pork sausage.
Ama Lachei Stis Nefelis: A Modern Greek Oasis
Ama Lachei Stis Nefelis is Georgiadis’s personal recommendation when hosting international visitors. Nestled in one of Athens’ most beautiful gardens, this restaurant offers the option of dining indoors in a historic high-ceilinged house or enjoying the refreshing open-air ambiance. Ama Lachei specializes in modern Greek cuisine, featuring a diverse menu showcasing products sourced from all corners of Greece. Relish in local cheeses, eggs with Cretan apaki (cured pork), lightly fried meatballs infused with ouzo and mint, and the mouthwatering seafood kritharoto—a Greek twist on risotto. To secure a table, make sure to book in advance as Ama Lachei is perpetually in high demand.
Varoulko: A Seaside Gastronomic Haven
Varoulko, boasting breathtaking sea views, is undoubtedly one of the most elegant spots in Athens. Led by Michelin-starred chef Lefteris Lazarou, this culinary gem excels in elevating traditional Greek dishes with creative and tantalizing seafood twists. Prepare to be delighted by the crayfish-infused rendition of moussaka, as well as the pesto pasta infused with succulent squid. Make sure to sample the smoked octopus accompanied by wild greens, locally known as stamnagathi. While cherishing your dining experience, soak in the idyllic view of Mikrolimano harbor, with sailboats, yachts, and quaint fishing boats serenely floating in the distance.
Taverna tou Oikonomou: A Time-Tested Classic
Oikonomou, one of the oldest tavernas in Athens, first opened its doors in the now trendy Petralona neighborhood in 1930. Its traditional and unpretentious recipes have made it an enduring favorite among Athenians, both young and old. Georgiadis himself has been a faithful patron since his student days, reminiscing about the comforting taste that reminded him of his mother’s home cooking. Must-try dishes include the rooster with pasta in tomato sauce, hearty stewed beans, and flavorful okra. Complete your meal with a shot of the house tsipouro, a traditional Greek spirit, and savor a serving of Greek yogurt topped with a homemade fruit preserve like quince.
Now that you’re armed with this list of Athens’ culinary gems, prepare to embark on a gastronomic adventure like no other. Remember to book your table in advance and allow your taste buds to revel in the diverse flavors of Greece’s vibrant capital.