Visit a Greek delicatessen
In order to fully understand the Greek food culture you have to start from the basis: to taste the local products chefs and everyday cooks use in their Greek kitchens.
A deli is the perfect place to familiarise yourself with the variety of specialty Greek products in offer. Premium charcuterie and artisan cheeses, condiments of all kinds and not to forget our “hellenic treasures” – pure golden-hued Greek honeys and emerald green Greek olive oil.
Ask to try before you buy. All the vendors are more than happy to help you pick cheeses you’ve never heard of that go beyond feta or show you the way to an array of black and green Greek olives. Some delis organise extra virgin olive oil tasting or offer a board of local cheeses and cold-cuts with tapenades and spreads on the side to try. Even better, some are dine-ins as well, cooking with the local products found on the shelf.
Tip from our experience: travel with extra luggage to pack the edible souvenirs you taste. Many of our guests regretted not being able to bring back home top quality Greek products at very affordable prices.
Some of our recommendations:
Kostarelos, Patriarchou Ioakeim 30-32. Known as “the feta guy”, Kostarelos family makes excellent quality dairy products for almost 100 years now. Third generation already, they recently opened a stylish store in upscale Kolonaki area, and soon became the hotspot for lunch break. Grilled sandwiches with barrel-aged feta and smooth-melting graviera, Greek cheese fondue, selected cheese platters. Kostarelos is the ideal place for sworn Greek cheese lovers.
Karamanlidika, Sokratous & Evripidou. Why go? In business since 1935, the owners are the experts of cured meats in Athens! A few years back, they took over a neoclassical building of 19th c., to create a delectable place that combines tradition and modern-style comfort.
Coming from Cappadocia, their concept revives the Byzantine pastomageireio => tavern and deli in one, offering a feast for the eyes and the palate. Delicious cheese and meat platters, meze dishes, oriental style brunch with local salamis, eggs and hot, spicy sauces, the place to be after a day in the market.
They recently opened their second establishment on Ermou str., focusing on savoury pastries made in their wooden fire oven.
If you prefer an off the beaten track alternative, try Mezeklikia tis Lachanagoras inside the Athens’ Central Fruit & Vegetable Market.
Benito, Thetidos 22. A beloved family-run business, featured among Athens’ best addresses for Greek gourmet shopping in the southern suburbs. Known as specialists, they offer an array of exquisite cheeses and cold cuts, along with grandma’s handmade goodies, like dolmades=wrapped vine leaves, smoked mussels, octopus salad, beetroot dip etc.
Pack up a few snacks and enjoy a walk in the sunshine along Floisvos area with its beautiful park and impressive marina.
Benito got bigger, with a new establishment in Glyfada area, Grig. Lambraki 63.
Malotira, Apollonos 30. An adorable little shop with even more delightful owners. Do you think you know all about extra virgin olive oil? Wait till you meet the Greek olive oil geeks to introduce you to their fascinating world of our liquid treasure. Limited edition batches from cherry-picked Greek olive oil producers, some carrying a health claim. Want to see how olive oil love feels like? This is your spot!
Pantopolion, Dimitrakopoulou 34. Proud owners, Stavros and Yannis fed up with being lawyers and switched to what they love best – sourcing delectable Greek products from all around the country.
Kolios, Athinas 35. Our go-to place for honey shopping and tasting. We call the place the “Wall of Greek honey” as it offers a remarkable variety of exclusively local honeys, such as pine, oak, fir, flower, thyme, chestnut, heather, arbutus etc., handpicked from the lush forests of the mainland to the rocky, arid landscape of the Greek islands.
Ergon House Agora, Mitropoleos 23. This multi-space in down town Athens became the meeting point of locals and travellers alike since day one. Here’s where you find a grocery with a vertical herb garden, a butcher’s and fishmonger’s corner, an oven baking Greek pastries for brunch, plus a massive open space deli with Greek flavours sourced from small farmers and producers around the country. All that just underneath their boutique “foodie” hotel. Tip: Don’t forget to visit their newly-opened terrace for some drinks with Acropolis view.
Dining at a contemporary Greek restaurant
A few years back, a bunch of dedicated chefs offered traditional cuisine “a much needed breath of fresh air”. Respecting the roots of Greek culinary culture, they reinvented classic Greek recipes, using contemporary methods and techniques, inspired by fusion world cuisines. At the same time, a new wave of modern farmers grew along with them to offer top quality local products for their restaurants. So, discerning food travellers => Voilà! Side by side with mom-and-pop restaurants and traditional tavernas, you can now enjoy Greek fine dining at its best, offering a creative approach that stays true to its origins.
Some of our recommendations:
Balcony, Veikou 1. Situated close to the Acropolis Museum, the restaurant’s balcony, as the name suggests, offers a delightful view to the city and makes up a culinary paradise for lunch or dinner. Carefully selected Greek ingredients and recipes appear on its menu with a creative touch. Among others, we recommend you to taste their lamb tartare, slow-cooked octopus and seafood “fricasse”.
Parkbench, Pramanton 10. An unpretentious gastro-pub, located in a hidden corner of the city where local vibes mix with great gastronomy. Prices are fair given the quality of the dishes. Parkbench definitely worths a visit for its super tasteful menu and wine list, bonus the chance to discover a new neighbourhood.
Alficon, Ironda 8. Located in a lively residential area, it offers a menu with emphasis on Greek dishes, reinvented by creative chefs who added contemporary, mediterranean flavours to tasteful dishes of meat, fish and seafood. Vegetarians have good choices.
Magikes Katsaroles, Sintagmatarchou Zisimopoulou 47. “Magic pots”, as the name reveals, enchant you with their homey atmosphere and delicious Mediterranean dishes using strictly seasonal and regional products. A good choice if you are coming back from the seaside or visiting the Stavros Niarchos Foundation Cultural Centre.
Mono, Mpenizelou Paleologou 4. Right by the Athens Cathedral, Mono restaurant is a culinary paradise in Plaka, an area not famous for decent dining options. Ask for food and wine pairing recommendations and don’t (really, DON’T) skip their highlight: watermelon risotto with creamy feta and pine nuts.
Simul, Ipsilantou 63. Minimal decor and natural materials create a relaxing atmosphere for this talk of the town, yet modest gastro-bistro in Kolonaki. Look out for its degustation menu to taste as much as possible. ++ Their very attentive and professional service.
Start your drinking session at a wine bar
You seriously think Greek wine is only retsina? Think again! Greek wines have improved impressively in the last years and the wine bar scene in Athens is currently booming. Where else you have the chance to try some of our 200 less known local varieties – and try to spell their Greek names? From the North to the South, from the West to the East, Greek wines express both the country’s varied terroir and the passion of their makers.
Some of our recommendations:
Wine ‘o clock, Lempesi 10. With over 160 labels of Greek wines by the glass, you find for sure a wine to enjoy. Sitting under the shadow of the Acropolis, Wine ‘o clock offers personalised service and good vibes making you return, even just for a nightcap before bedtime.
Warehouse, Valtetsiou 21. Day and night you find this place booming with locals. Along with an extensive wine list, it offers brunch and some of the best specialty coffee in the city. Sparkling wines aficionados, this is for you => a “bubbly department” lives and breathes in down town Athens (Warehouse CO2, Iperidou 1).
Paleo, Polidefkous 39. A special place created by special people. Its owner is a character in the local wine world and an avid discoverer of small and unique wines from around the Mediterranean. Feels like love and passion are captured in a bottle only to be poured in your glass.
Finish off a great night sipping cocktails with a view
With its one-of-a-kind views (yes, Acropolis, we mean you), Athens deserves tons of rooftop bars and terraces for travellers to enjoy this unique spectacle – and locals, who can’t get enough of its mesmerising beauty.
You probably had a long day, so what a better way to wrap it up with cocktails watching the Acropolis lighting up as the sun goes down (and probably thinking you don’t have to climb it again under the hot sun).
Two special recommendations:
Point A, Rovertou Galli 4. The location is simply majestic, as the Acropolis shines right in front of your eyes. Cocktails are freshly prepared and ingeniously blended with spirits and Greek herbs.
Hytra, Leof. Andrea Siggrou 107-109. Located inside a Michelin-star restaurant, this bar offers a 360° view of Athens in a luxurious ambiance. Experienced mixologists showcase their love for locally-sourced ingredients, handmade syrups and liqueurs, reviving old fashioned recipes and applying fresh techniques.
Need more recommendations or want to chat with us about how lovely Athens is at night? Drop in a message.
Or… book straight our Premium Gastronomic Experience to enjoy the city together.