One of the best things to do in Athens is to eat at an outdoor restaurant in the Plaka or Monastiraki neighborhoods of central Athens. Tables spill out into the squares and alleys as Greeks sit late into the evening talking, laughing, yelling, and eating. It’s lots of fun.
The best area to go is around Monastiraki square and metro station. The alley named Mitropoleos (to the east of the metro station) is lined with lively restaurants that are packed with local Athenians and serve good inexpensive food.
This is technically not the Plaka neighborhood but is very close. If you eat in the Plaka area you’re more likely to be surrounded by fellow tourists. Whereas in the Monastiraki area you’ll be eating with more locals. There’s lots of traditional Greek food on the menu and gyro, souvlaki, hummus, and greek salads are very popular.
Certainly, this isn’t the absolute best food you’ll find in Athens – it is a little touristy – but it’s still very good. It’s a short walk for most tourists from their hotel, easy to find, and safe.
This is the start of Mitropoleos Alley as it meets Monastiraki Square. The yellow building on the opposite side of the square is the Monastiraki metro station. The A for Athens hotels (not visible) is off to the right.
I’ve marked Mitropoleos Alley/Street with a red line. Walk to the Monastiraki metro station and you can’t miss the restaurants. They’re very easy to see and find. Pick the first one that has an open table – they’re all good.