12 unmissable gourmet experiences in Athens

Salade verte, haricots yeux noirs, escargots et radis - Marché Athènes

Athènes (c) Milan Gonda shutterstock

Athens (c) Milan Gonda shutterstock

As you know if you follow me on the social networks, I just came back fromAthens where I was invited with Pauline Xiradakis by the French Institute of Greece to intervene in a debate on food. Fascinating by the way. If I find the video on youtube, I’ll put the link.

But I’m getting lost.

I’m not going to tell you about the Acropolis, the Parthenon, the Lycabette walk or the various museums. No, this you will find in any guide book and it is clearly a must. What I wanted to talk to you about is of Athens on the food side.

Here are for me the 12 gourmet experiences to live absolutely if you come here. Thanks again to Pauline and Dimitra for their help.

1 – Drink an iced coffee, sweetened or not.

As you stroll through the streets of Athens, you can’t help but notice the number of people walking around with a coffee shake served in a large cup. Prepared with instant coffee diluted in water and ice, you can enjoy it with or without sugar.

Café frappé - Athènes

Coffee frappé – Athens

The recipe for the coffee shake  Pour 20 cl of water, 1 rounded tablespoon of Nescafé (or equivalent), 4 ice cubes and if you wish 1 tablespoon of powdered sugar into a shaker.  Shake well and hard until you get a firm foam. Serve in a tall glass with a straw. Very refreshing!

2 – To accompany your coffee, buy a koulouri

Koulouri

Koulouri

These toasted rings coated with sesame are a delight to nibble on. It’s a little reminiscent of pretzels or bagels to give you an idea. You can find them everywhere, sold by street vendors (price, 50 cents). The best known are the koulouri of Psirri – 23 Karaiskaki, Psirri

A Facebook page : Koulouri de Psirri

3 – Stroll in the central market of Athens

Indoors, meat and fish, outdoors, fruits, vegetables, spices, seeds, etc…

Marché central - Athènes

Central Market – Athens

Graines, fraises, Halva, olives - Marché Athènes

Seeds, strawberries, Halva, olives – Market Athens

Salade verte, haricots yeux noirs, escargots et radis - Marché Athènes

Green salad, black-eyed beans, snails and radishes – Market Athens

I had the chance to visit the fish market on pure Monday, it was just incredible.

– Pure Monday ?

Yes, Pure Monday is the first day of Great Lent in the Eastern Churches. The most devout of the faithful abstain from meat, eggs and milk from that day until Easter night. It is therefore the day of fish. It was crazy crazy.

Marché aux poissons - Athènes

Fish market – Athens

Central Market – Athinas 42 – Athens

4 – Visit the small stores around the market 

Buy tea from the mountains in the incredible herbalist’s shop. Elixir41 rue Evripidou, discover the sausage paradise, right next door at N° 45 of the same street at Miran’s.

Elixir et Miran - Athènes

Elixir and Miran – Athens

There are also dish stores (with lots of enameled dishes), spice stores, various seeds etc.. Take advantage of this opportunity to do some shopping.

5 – Satisfy a small hunger by tasting a bougatsa

This phyllo pastry based puff pastry, topped with a kind of pastry cream, sprinkled with cinnamon is a speciality from Thessaloniki. The one served at the Bougatsadiko bakery is succulent!

Bougatsa chez Bougatsadiko

Bougatsa at Bougatsadiko

Bougatsadiko Thessaloniki – 1 Iroon Square, Athens

And at lunchtime what to do?

6 – Lunch in an authentic Greek tavern 

I recommend 2 addresses:

=> Diporto Agoras – Right next to the central market of Athens.

Diporto Agoras (c) ilculodimario

Diporto Agoras (c) ilculodimario

Diporto Agoras – Sokratous 9, Athens

=>To Kafeneio

As I walked into this tavern located right next to the Acropolis, I saw a picture of Jamie Oliver. I thought to myself, Anne, my sister Anne, this is going to be great. And it was. It’s an excellent address, Greek food, homemade, absolutely delicious. I’ve eaten the best keftes of my life there.

Boulette sauce tomate et cannelle

Dumpling with tomato and cinnamon sauce

To Kafeneio – 1 Epicharmou Sreet Street, Athens

7 – Enjoy a rice pudding with cream and cinnamon

If you have not had dessert in your tavern, go and take it in rue Tsamadou, just a few steps away from Place Exarchion. The place has no name, I would never have gone there if Pauline hadn’t told me that it was one of the must do of Athens, judge for yourself:

Riz au lait - Athènes

Rice pudding – Athens

I don’t know why rice pudding is so popular in Greece? If you know, please tell me through the comments. Anyway, this one was delicious. It is of course sprinkled with cinnamon, otherwise we wouldn’t be in Greece.

8 – Drink a Greek coffee while listening to a live Rebetiko’s music.

The Greek coffee is made with coffee powder that is put in hot water and brought to almost boiling point. It is necessary to let decant the ground before drinking it. I will share a video in a few days on how to do it 😉

Café grec (c) ANDROMACHI shutterstock

Greek coffee (c) Andromachi shutterstock

The rebetiko is what we could call in a very simplified way the blues Greek. Born in the 1920s, this musical style is still very much alive today. Groups often composed of a bouzouki player and a guitarist, sometimes accompanied by a violinist or an accordionist, perform in cafés. For more information I will recommend this article: Rebetiko, an urban history.

9 – Stop to enjoy a pistachio ice cream or putty (Kaïmaki)

– Putty?
– Yes, I will tell you about it soon in another article.

Glace Da vinci - Athènes

Da vinci Ice – Athens

There are several excellent glaciers in Athens. I recommend this one: Da Vinci – Adrianou 50 – Athens

10 – Have a drink at the Galaxy Bar on Stadiou Street. (not to be confused with the other Galaxy Bar in Athens).

Fans of vintage, but not that, will appreciate this delicious place.

Galaxy Bar - Athènes (c) Vee Bougani

Galaxy Bar – Athens (c) Vee Bougani

Galaxy Bar – 10 Stadiou Street, Athens

11 – Dine in a very nice place

I propose you 2 addresses:

=> Ama Laxei

Certainly my favorite in Athens. This old school transformed into a restaurant is full of charm. You feel good right away and the Greek cuisine served is succulent for the right price. Trying it is really adopting it.

Restaurant Ama Laxei

Restaurant Ama Laxei

Ama Laxei – Kallidromiou 69, Athens

=> Milos Restaurant.

The chef of this restaurant, Costas Spiliadis, is present all over the world and offers Mediterranean cuisine based on seafood. One of the best addresses in Athens for Pauline.

Milos Athènes

Milos Athens

Within the Hilton Hotel – Leof. Vasilissis Sofias 46, Athens,

12 – Have a last drink on a terrace in front of the acropolis – Rooftop A for Athens

The entrance is not very easy to find because it feels like entering a hotel (it is one by the way). Smoky enough for the interior room (but why do Greeks smoke so much). If the weather allows it, go to the open air space up there. The view is just too beautiful

A for Athens bar à cocktails - toit terrasse

A for Athens cocktail bar – roof terrace

A for Athens 2-4 Miaouli Street, Athens, Greece
A for Athens Facebook page

If you come to Athens for vacations, you will have some tracks to enjoy. Many thanks to Pauline, Dimitra and the French Institute of Greece.

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