> Features

The best restaurants in Athens, Greece

The best restaurants in Athens, Greece

by Caroline Morrish 25 April 2018

Caroline Morrish shares her top tips for where to eat in the Greek capital for anyone wanting a taste of today’s thriving Athenian food scene.

Athens has long been a food lover’s destination – situated in the heart of the Attican region it is surrounded by historic vineyards and fertile farmland which supplies a rich source of local produce, as well as bordering the Aegean Sea, with its abundant fresh fish and seafood. While the financial crisis may have brought tough times to the area, as to the whole of Greece, a positive side effect of the economic troubles seems to have been a recent reinvigoration of the food scene in the city. Creative projects are bubbling up all over the centre and a flurry of new food and drink offerings have opened their doors.

An ancient city with a modern spirit, Athens has always fused the old and new when it comes to eating out, with traditional Greek tavernas sitting alongside more contemporary food spots which take their influences from both home and around the world. It has two Michelin-starred operations and many fine dining offerings, as well as a huge range of more relaxed but increasingly hip destinations which blend global influences in their cutting-edge cuisine. A thriving farmer’s market also runs twice a week with a focus on sustainable, locally sourced food.

The past few years have also seen a boom in street food thanks to the influx of immigrants and their native cuisines, as well as an increasing demand for cheaper food options. Another emerging trend is that of modern Greek cooking, with many chefs rediscovering their culinary roots, taking classic Mediterranean dishes and reinterpreting them in their own unique way. Here we take a look at the most interesting new (and established) restaurants that are focusing on Greek food and giving this traditional cuisine a new image.

Acropolis Museum Restaurant

image

As well as over 4,000 artefacts and centuries of history to explore, the modern Acropolis museum, which reopened in 2009, is a culinary destination in its own right. As is fitting for its location, the focus is on traditional Greek recipes which are served with a light, modern touch. Expect the likes of chickpea salad with apaki (smoked chicken) and a tahini and black sesame dressing or baked feta parcels with a citrus marmalade. All served looking out over the site of the original Acropolis and Athenian hills beyond.

theacropolismuseum.gr/en

Afropsaro

image

Seafood is the speciality here, showcasing the best fresh fish from the waters around Greece such as juicy shrimp from the northern coast of Kymi. Guests can sit in the main dining area of the contemporary restaurant or take a prime spot up at the polished counter overlooking the smart open kitchen. This lively hub fizzes with the energy of its talented chefs, who turn out a creative menu of Greek staples such as grilled fish and seafood pastas, along with Asian-infused specialities like sea bream sashimi that comes served with wild greens.

facebook.com/afropsarorestaurant

Cookovaya

image

A newcomer to the Athens scene, this open, buzzy restaurant is headed by five chefs: Spyros Liakos, Vangelis Liaos, Pericles Koskinas, Nikos Karathanos and Manos Zourantzis. Greek cooking is at the heart of the menu, which is based on sharing plates, and changes daily and with the seasons. Highlights include pies and fish cooked in the wood oven and meat and fish from the charcoal grill. The wine list features only four varieties, but each has been created exclusively for the restaurant.

cookoovaya.gr/en

7 Cactus Street Deli

image

Famous Athenian food blogger Gabriel Nikolaidis is behind this recently launched café-cum-deli found in the hip district of Koukaki. A cactus-filled courtyard is the focal point of the space which offers Greek street food throughout the day, but it is quickly becoming known for its brilliant breakfast and brunch offering. The menu takes a tour of the different regions of Greece, with dishes such as the Peloponnesian-inspired potato pancakes served with fried Talagani cheese and heather honey. There is also a superb sandwich menu where customers can choose from four types of bread and a range of Greek cheeses, cured meats, spreads and condiments to build their own tasty stack.

sevencactus.gr

Funky Gourmet

image

At the cutting edge of Mediterranean cooking, Funky Gourmet’s aim is to ‘re-think our tradition and strive to create avant-garde cuisine’. Which translates as Greek cooking with a molecular gastronomic twist. The two-Michelin-starred establishment is headed up by chefs Georgianna Hiliadaki and Nick Roussos who met whilst studying at the New York Institute of Culinary Education and have worked under the likes of Ferran Adria at El Bulli. The pair serve exquisite little plates of surprising tastes and flavours, such as the signature white granita which is infused with the flavours of a Greek salad.

funkygourmet.com/en

Hytra

image

At the top of the Onassis Cultural Centre, chef Tasos Mantis is working away on his own modern interpretation of Greek food which has earned him a Michelin star. Collaborating with local suppliers and growers, as well as using produce from his own garden, the chef has a true farm-to-table approach to his menu which emphasises the quality of the raw ingredients. There are influences from across the globe but the dishes retain the essence of Greece. A street food selection of small bites includes the likes of Nigiri, fusing shi drum fish with a Greek spanakorizo cream.

hytra.gr

Orizontes

image

There can’t be many more romantic dinner settings than this – found on the highest peak of the Lycabettus hill and overlooking Athens, this modern Greek restaurant offers stunning panoramic views of the city. Understated and elegant inside, the large dining room opens out onto a stunning terrace. Customers can take a culinary tour of Greece with dishes from all corners of the country and its islands, which are each given a modern spin. Highlights include home-grown Athenian croaker fish cheeks with a lemon sauce and a Cretan mezze dish known as Dakos, which comes with soaked barley rusk topped with fresh tomatoes, cream cheese and truffle oil.

orizonteslycabettus.gr

Nolan

image

A true fusion of East and West, chef Sotiris Kontizas brings together his own heritage and experience (raised by a Greek father and Japanese mother) on his modern sharing menu. Centrally located on Syntagma Square, everything about this small restaurant is understated – from the minimal design of the interior to the concise descriptions on the short menu – but there is an unmistakable feeling of quality through everything. The precisely cooked, delicate morsels from the kitchen include the likes of yuzu-marinated crayfish and bogue (a type of bream) ceviche served with homemade mayonnaise and smoked oil, and greens with soutzouki (Greek sausage) and bonito flakes.

nolanrestaurant.gr

Comments ()

The best restaurants in Athens, Greece

 

Please enter text

Comments must be less than characters

Change your username in user settings to something more personal.

 

(Editing)

>

This comment was edited

Please enter text

Comments must be less than characters

This comment has been deleted

Report this comment

Please state your report in the space below

Please enter text

Reports must be less than 750 characters

loading

>

Please enter text

Comments must be less than characters

(Editing)

>

This comment was edited

Please enter text

Comments must be less than characters

This comment has been deleted

Report this comment

Please state your report in the space below

Please enter text

Reports must be less than 750 characters

loading

>

Please enter text

Comments must be less than characters

Be the first to leave a comment on this page...
...   ...
 

Please enter text

Comments must be less than characters

Change your username in user settings to something more personal.