The Best Places to Eat in Athens
- Best Athens Food Tour: Athens Gourmet Food Tour is a fantastic walking tour with tastings at cafes, markets, street stalls, and more, including Greek wine and coffee. Highly recommended!
- Best Fine Dining Restaurant: Aleria Restaurant in Metaxourgeio.
- Best Traditional Greek Taverna: Geros Tou Moria in Plaka.
- Best Romantic Restaurant: The Old Tavern of Psarras in Plaka.
- Best Gyros and Souvlaki: O Thanasis and Kostas, both in Monastiraki, and O Elvis in Kerameikos.
- Best Coffee: Little Tree Books and Coffee in Koukaki is a cozy little bookshop and cafe with a tree-shaded patio and relaxed vibe.
- Best Bakery: Takis Bakery in Koukaki.
- Best Gelato: Le Greche in Syntagma and Coco’s in Plaka.
- Best Hotel Restaurant in Athens: Winter Garden inside Hotel Grande Bretagne in Syntagma Square offers superb fine dining in an elegant atmosphere.
- Best Athens Restaurant with a View: 360° Cocktail Bar in Monastiraki offers the amazing views of the Acropolis from its rooftop perch.
Dining in Athens
- Meal times in Athens: Greeks typically eat late. Lunch time is between 1:30 and 3:00 p.m. and dinner is usually around 9:00 or 10:00 p.m. Of course, restaurants in the more tourist-centric areas will serve lunch as early as 11:00 a.m. or 12:00 p.m. and dinner starting at 7:00 p.m., but the restaurants will be largely empty with fewer locals. Breakfast is not a major meal in Greece.
- Reservations in Athens: Reservations are not necessary for most restaurants in Athens, a city known for casual tavernas and outstanding street food. Most restaurants here don’t take reservations. However, for fine dining or for dining with a view at the best rooftop restaurants and bars, it’s a good idea to reserve a table in advance.
- Eating with Your Hands: There is a misconception that Greeks eat almost everything with their hands. While this is certainly true for on-the-go snacks and meals, like gyros and cheese pies, or for pork and lamb chops at very casual restaurants, diners at nicer restaurants use cutlery for most things. Even for dipping bread, it is typical to cut a small piece and use a fork to dip and eat.
- Water is perfectly safe to drink from the tap in Athens. Ask your server for tap water, as they will often offer bottled water first, which adds a few unnecessary euros to your bill.
- Wine: Greek wines are criminally underrated. The country has been producing wine for thousands of years, and offer some truly amazing varieties, especially white wines. The top wine regions in Greece are the Cyclades, the Peloponnese, and Macedonia regions. Types to try include Assyrtiko and Moschofilero (both whites), Agiorgitiko (rosé and red), Xinomavro (red), and Vinsanto (white dessert wine).
- Tipping in Athens: Tipping is customary in Athens, but it is not percentage-based as it is in the U.S. It is customary to tip about €2 to €5 for a meal, maybe more in an expensive restaurant.
The 22 Best Restaurants in Athens
1. The Old Tavern of Psarras – Plaka • $$
Phone: +30 21 0321 8733
Also called The Old Tavern of Psaras, this charming restaurant first opened in 1898 and was later a famous haunt of Laurence Olivier, Vivian Lee, and Graham Greene. The traditional Greek menu features fresh seafood, meat (with especially great lamb), and plenty of vegetarian options. A romantic, casual atmosphere, great house wine, and live music on Friday and Saturday nights. Indoor and outdoor seating available. Open with continuous service for lunch and dinner. Reservations recommended for dinner.
• Website • Map • Nearest Metro: Monastiraki & Acropolis
2. 360° Cocktail Bar – Monastiraki • $$
Map • +30 21 0321 0006 • Nearest Metro: Monastiraki
Stylish rooftop bar and restaurant with outstanding cocktails and Greek meze and arresting views of the Acropolis and Parthenon. Popular with locals and travelers alike, reservations are not required to get in, but they are recommended to secure the tables with the best views, especially for sunset cocktails or dinner. Open all day and into the wee hours, from 9:00 a.m. to 3:00 a.m.
3. Geros Tou Moria – Plaka • $$
Phone: +30 21 0322 1753
Yes, it’s a bit touristy, but this quaint, 90-year-old taverna is the best place in Athens to try classic Greek dishes paired with live Greek music and dancing every night. Order the moussaka, lamb, or bekris mezes (veal and eggplant in tomato sauce). Sit outdoors under the grape vines for views of the Acropolis, or sit indoors to be closer to the music and dancing. Reservations recommended for late dinner service, when the music starts.
• Website • Map • Nearest Metro: Monastiraki
4. Bougatsadiko Thessaloniki – Psirri • $
Map • +30 21 0322 2088 • Nearest Metro: Monastiraki
Wonderful café in the funky Psirri neighborhood, serving excellent coffee and pastries and best known for their bougatsa (custard and phyllo pastry), a family recipe brought to Athens from Thessaloniki by the owner’s grandfather. Other stand-outs include the spanakopita (spinach pie) and tiropita (cheese pie). An excellent stop for breakfast, brunch, or late-night snack. Indoor and outdoor seating available. Open from 7:00 a.m. to 2:00 a.m. most days and 24-hours on Fridays and Saturdays.
5. Kostas – Monastiraki • $
Map • +30 21 0323 2971 • Nearest Metro: Monastiraki
The best gyros and souvlaki in central Athens, offering a choice of pork or beef topped with fries, fresh veggies, and their signature tomato sauce in place of tzatziki. This no-frills shop has hardly any seating, so be prepared to take your order to go. If the line is too long (as it often is) or if you crave for a more traditional gyro, head to the equally excellent O Thanasis, just a 3-minute walk away. Kostas is open Monday to Friday from 10:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m.
6. O Thanasis – Monastiraki • $
Map • +30 21 0324 4705 • Nearest Metro: Monastiraki
The best gyros, souvlaki, and kebabs in central Athens – with more seating and longer hours than nearby Kostas. This family-friendly standby since 1965 has plenty of tables along the pedestrian street out front just off Monastiraki Square. Most dishes are meat-centric, though they also serve up an excellent saganaki, Greek salad, and tirokafteri (feta dip). A busy restaurant, but service is quick, so wait times for tables are usually short. Open all day from 9:00 a.m. until 1:30 a.m. (2:30 a.m. on Fridays and Saturdays).
7. Aleria Restaurant – Metaxourgeio • $$$$
Map • +30 21 0522 2633 • Nearest Metro: Metaxourgeio
The best fine dining restaurant in Athens. Aleria serves contemporary, creative Mediterranean fare highlighting seasonal ingredients and regional specialties. Their extensive wine list showcases artisanal wines from top Greek and international producers. The restaurant sits in a neoclassical villa with indoor seating year-round and elegant garden seating in the summer.
8. Smak – Monastiraki • $
Map • +30 21 1409 7046 • Nearest Metro: Monastiraki
Awesome street food spot for pizza and their signature peynirli (Black Sea style pizza boats) made using a combination of Greek-Turkish and Neapolitan techniques for dough. Everything is cooked to order in an open kitchen and topped with a variety of cheeses, meats, veggies. Dine in or take away. Open for lunch, dinner, and late-night bites.
9. Avli – Psirri • $
Phone: +30 21 0321 7642
A true hidden gem in the heart of Psirri. This cool hole-in-the-wall restaurant lies behind a narrow door between two larger shops, so it’s easy to miss. The door leads to an old alley converted into a quirky, courtyard restaurant. Standout dishes on their simple menu include omelets, keftedes (meatballs), kolokithokeftedes (zucchini balls), and Greek salad. Great house wine. Open for lunch, dinner, and late night meze from 11:00 a.m. to 2:00 a.m. every day but Tuesdays. Avli does not take reservations. Be prepared to wait – it’s totally worth it.
• Website • Map • Nearest Metro: Monastiraki
10. Spiti Mas – Psirri • $$
Map • +30 21 0331 4751 • Nearest Metro: Monastiraki
Cute little breakfast and brunch café designed to make everyone feel “at home” by modeling the restaurant after a studio apartment (“spiti mas” means “our home” in Greek). Dine on the patio, in the living room, or in the bedroom; you can even have breakfast in bed. More than just a gimmick, the coffee and food here are excellent – a mix of Greek and international dishes, hearty portions, and plenty of vegetarian, vegan, and gluten-free choices. Open 9:30 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. Thursdays and Fridays and from 10:00 a.m to 5:00 p.m. on Saturdays and Sundays. Closed Monday, Tuesdays, and Wednesdays.
11. O Elvis – Karameikos • $
Map • +30 21 0756 6066 • Nearest Metro: Karameikos
Great little souvlaki shop with a simple menu: grilled meat (pork, chicken, lamg, ground beef, sausage, or pancetta) served with lemon sauce, fries, and bread. The lines are often long, but the restaurant offers a free shot of raki while you wait. Great music, friendly staff, and a fun vibe. Owned by the same people as the fantastic bar Kerameio next door. Open from noon to 3:00 a.m. Sunday through Thursday and from noon to 5:00 a.m. on Fridays and Saturdays.
12. Evgenia – Plaka • $
Map • +30 21 0321 4121 • Nearest Metro: Syntagma
AKA Paradosiako Cafeneon, this authentic, family-run Greek taverna serves homemade, traditional dishes with an ever-changing menu featuring seasonal ingredients. Much less touristy than other restaurants in Plaka, Evgenia is popular with locals for their rich flavors and cozy ambiance. Open all day, from 9:00 a.m. to midnight.
13. To Mavro Provato – Pangrati • $$
Map • +30 21 0321 4121 • Nearest Metro: Evangelismos
A simple yet elegant restaurant serving regional Greek fare that highlights the best ingredients and recipes from throughout the nation: Cretan cheeses, Macedonian smoked beef sausage, Peloponnesian wine, and more. The restaurant offers indoor and outdoor seating, modern design, and friendly staff. Open from 1:00 p.m. to 1:00 a.m. daily (1:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. on Sundays).
14. Falafellas – Monastiraki • $
Map • +30 21 0323 9809 • Nearest Metro: Monastiraki
The best falafel in Athens and one of only a handful of places where you can actually get spicy food. Falafellas runs a tiny kitchen and offers a simple menu of just falafel or meatballs wrapped in pita and topped with fresh veggies (spicy sauce is optional). There is no seating, so be ready to take your wrap to go. Open all day, every day from 11:00 a.m. to midnight.
15. Tazza All-Day Bistro and Wine Bar – Syntagma • $$
Phone: +30 21 0331 1999
Flamboyant bistro for Mediterranean-Greek bites, wine, and cocktails – best-loved for their breakfast and Sunday brunch. Tazza sits on a lively street near Syntagma Square, with indoor and outdoor seating spilling out onto the sidewalk with colorful, mismatched vintage furniture and a cheerful atmosphere. Open most days from 7:30 or 8:00 a.m. until 1:00 or 2:00 a.m., except Sundays when they open at 11:00 a.m.
• Website • Map • Nearest Metro: Syntagma
16. Atlantikos – Psirri • $$
Map • +30 21 3033 0850 • Nearest Metro: Monastiraki
One restaurant, two kitchens: the original kitchen serving super-fresh seafood and the new kitchen dedicated to traditional Greek fare. All recipes are authentic and delicious, but they are especially known for their savoro (pan-fried white fish with black currents) and fava (chickpea dip) with marinated anchovies. Outdoor seating on the sidewalk and indoor seating on the main or upper floors. The original seafood kitchen is open daily from 1:00 p.m. to 1:00 a.m.; the new Greek kitchen is open the same hours on Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays and for dinner only Mondays to Thursdays.
17. Pame Tsipouro Pame Kafeneio – Monastiraki • $$
Phone: +30 21 0325 0208
Lively café in Aiolou, Monastiraki, serving excellent coffee, spirits, and Greek meze (small, shareable plates similar to tapas). The restaurant was inspired by the kafeneios of old Greece, central to a village’s social framework, serving as combination coffee shops, bars, mini markets, and meeting places. Casual atmosphere, indoor and outdoor seating, open all day from 7:00 a.m. until midnight.
• Website • Map • Nearest Metro: Monastiraki
18. Little Kook – Psirri • $$
Map • +30 21 0321 4144 • Nearest Metro: Monastiraki
Little Kook is all about the spectacle. This fairytale-themed dessert spot serves coffee, cocktails, and sweet treats (especially known for pancakes, pralines, and cakes). But the main attraction is its over-the-top decorations which change seasonally and spread throughout its massive 3-building complex (plus outdoor seating in summer). The shop opens daily from 9:00 a.m. to 1:00 a.m. They do not accept reservations and wait times can last up to an hour.
19. Avocado – Syntagma • $$
Map • +30 21 0323 7868 • Nearest Metro: Syntagma
Lovely vegan and vegetarian restaurant near Syntagma Square. Avocado focuses on local, seasonal, sustainable, and organic dishes full of rich flavors. Gluten-free and wheat-free dishes are available, as is a selection of organic wines. Open for lunch and dinner every day until midnight, except on Sundays when they close at 7:00 p.m.
20. Kuzina – Thissio • $$$
Map • +30 21 0322 0133 • Nearest Metro: Thissio
Upscale, contemporary Greek restaurant offering stunning Acropolis views from its rooftop terrace (open from April to October). The menu changes seasonally with a few year-round staples, lots of vegetarian choices, and for solo diners, some menu items can be ordered in half-sizes. Standout dishes include thesoutsoukakia (combination grilled beef and lamb) and savory loukoumades (Greek dumplings) stuffed with cheese and tomatoes and topped with pistachios and pomegranate sauce. The restaurant serves lunch daily from 1:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m. and dinner from 5:00 p.m. to midnight. Reservations recommended.
21. Melina Mercouri Café – Plaka • $$
Map • +30 21 0324 6501 • Nearest Metro: Monastiraki
Sweet café in the heart of Plaka offering Greek meze, traditional dishes, and desserts – an ideal spot for breakfast or a late-night snack. The café is popular with locals despite its location in tourist-heavy Plaka. The café serves as a mini-museum dedicated to Melina Merkouri, and actress, singer, politician, and activist; her 1960 film “Never on Sunday” is what popularized the Greek trend of smashing plates.
22. School Pizza Bar – Monastiraki • $$
Phone: +30 21 0325 1444
Bustling Italian restaurant offering thin-crust pizza, pasta, risotto, and gnocchi paired with delicious Greek and Italian wines and creative cocktails. Indoor and outdoor seating available in their cozy restaurant decorated with a schoolhouse theme, complete with desks, lockers, and chalkboards. Open all day from 10:00 a.m. to 3:00 a.m. Reservations recommended but not required.
• Website • Map • Nearest Metro: Monastiraki
Best Area to Eat in Athens
One of the best things to do in Athens is to eat at an outdoor restaurant in 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.