Are you a vegan in Athens wondering if Greece is vegan friendly? You don’t have to worry about that at all! Being vegan in Athens, you can enjoy some top quality food as the locals have been fans of the plant-based diet since ancient times.
As a matter of fact the concept of avoiding meat and dairy products was actually invented in ancient Greece. A very well known ancient mathematician and astronomer who was born in Samos island not only had a mathematical theorem named after him, but also an actual type of meatless diet. Can you guess who could be the first vegan in Greece ? It’s Pythagoras! Being also a philosopher, he believed that killing animals for their meat brutalised the human soul. He was so strictly true to his ideas of not feeding on any animals that since then the “Pythagorean” diet was referred to what we call today a vegan diet!
Join us in our Vegan Food tour to get the ultimate experience of vegan-friendly Athens!
What to taste as a vegan in Athens:
Traditional Greek cuisine has such a wide variety of naturally vegan dishes that you could say Greek cuisine was vegan before it was cool. Being a vegan in Greece you have to try what we call “ladera” : a whole category of vegetables and pulses dishes cooked in tons of extra virgin olive oil (thus the name) .
As a result of Greece having an ideal climate , being in a very advantageous geographical position, there is a thriving production of a great variety of beans. From string beans and snap peas to cranberry beans and black eyed peas, they are planted usually during spring and harvested after summertime.
Fasolada: Our national dish is a Greek white bean soup including carrots and celery. There is nothing more rustic and comforting on a cold winter’s day. Usually served hot in deep bowls, “fasolada” is combined with Kalamata olives and a generous slice of fresh bread.
Do you want to learn how to cook our national dish? Follow our recommended recipe for fasolada.
Gigantes: Meaning “giant beans” with tomato sauce and herbs make up this staple dish. The best variety to use here is Kozani’s giant beans and Prespes’ black elephant beans, from the northern part of Greece.
Fasolakia – bamies: Two melt-in-your-mouth vegetable stew recipes, using green beans (fasolakia) and okra (bamies) cooked with olive oil, tomato, onions and herbs.
photo credit: pexels
Dolmadakia: Stuffed grape leaves with rice. Make sure they are “yalantzi” – which means liar, therefore with no meat. Eaten hot or cold, with a sprinkle of lemon juice, one piece is never enough.
Gemista: For Greek people gemista means summer! Various vegetables (in season) like zucchini and eggplants can also be made “gemista” = stuffed, but the most common are made with ripe, beef tomatoes and green bell peppers filled with a mix of rice, onions, olive oil and spearmint for an extra kick. Tip: Make sure you ask for “orfana”= orphans, which means without meat.
How about a traditional 4- course Greek meal created by you and your loved ones with a chef in Athens? Find out more here: Cooking lesson – Cook like a Greek
photo credit: tlife
Fava: Made with yellow split peas, fava (Santorini’s specialty) is the epitome of the Mediterranean diet. Slow cooked till mashed, fava looks like a bright yellow hummus and is served with lemon, olive oil, onions, parsley and caper. With any fava left, Greeks make delicious vegan keftedes, fried fava patties, called favokeftedes.
Fakes: One of Greece’s superfoods! An easy to make lentil soup rich in carbohydrates and natural protein, traditionally made with brown lentils, olive oil, red onion, tomato paste, carrots and bay leaves. The authentic Greek way to have this dish is to splash some red wine vinegar on top! Our top quality lentil here is Englouvi’s lentil from Lefkada island even protected by UNESCO.
photo credit: the hungry bites
Spanakorizo: The name of this hearty dish is a composite of two main ingredients: spanaki meaning spinach and rizi meaning rice. The traditional version is the one where tomato sauce is added, but nowadays just the acidity of the lemon is being embraced. A winter version of this dish is “the lahanorizo”, especially in the northern part of Greece.
Chickpea soup: A very traditional dish of the Greek islands, -as it can easily grow on their arid soil-, chickpeas are nowhere praised as much as in Sifnos island. “Revithada”, is Sifnos’ beloved chickpeas stew, eaten as the family’s Sunday’s lunch. All ingredients: chickpeas, white onions, olive oil and lemon juice are prepared in a clay pot -“skepastaria”, with its lid covered with dough and are being cooked slowly overnight.
Imam bayildi: The story behind this dish is that the Imam (an Ottoman priest) fainted when he was told by his wife that she used all the olive oil in making this dish. Consisting of eggplants stuffed with tomatoes, onions and herbs, this one is an old time classic and very delicious dish.
photo credit: sugar & salt
Wild greens pies: If you were lucky enough to be living in a village, chances are you would get involved in the process of hand-picking greens (horta) from the fields with grandma. All countryside’s treasures like chards, sorrels, fennels, chervils, amaranths, saltworts and spinach come not only delicious as a salad but also used as a filling of pies (spanakopita, hortopita, marathopita etc).
Halvas: A middle-eastern inspired dessert based on semolina, finely chopped nuts and sweetened using sugar. It’s what Greek people enjoy during fasting period because it always brings back childhood memories. What is more, another type, “the tahini Halva” is made from sesame paste and comes with a crumbly consistency.
photo credit: freepik
Vegan Athens: Here you can find our authentic traditional dishes
Discover Greece “in a bite” : Visit “Olympion” – to taste fasolakia ladera and spanakorizo, “Ι Kriti” – for a marathopita, gemista or the amazing dolmadakia, Diporto for the incredible chickpeas soup and fava, “Oikonomou restaurant” to enjoy tasty gigantes and imam, “Piroliki” – to try an unforgettable cauliflower frikassee and chickpeas soutzoukaki , “Platanos” offering excellent horta and beetroot salads, “Αrchontissa”for the healthy lentil soup, “Mpirmpilo” for small fried zucchinis and a lovely lentil salad.
Top 13 picks for a vegan in Athens: Vegan restaurants in Athens
1. Cookoomela Grill – This is the most well-known spot for souvlaki if you’re vegan in Athens! They prepared the very first vegan souvlaki in Athens, with a handful of alternative gyro options (different types of marinated mushrooms with delicious sauces served with country-style fries) and one extra delicious option, the meat-free kebab made of lentils. Tip: Don’t forget to try their version of the vegan Dakos salad!
photo credit : lifo
2. Mama Tierra – Aiming at highlighting Greece’s earth products in cooperation with local producers, Mama Tierra offers healthy, high-quality dishes. Among them you should definitely taste the very well-known “moussaka”at its most tasteful vegan version with organic black beans and a béchamel sauce of coconut milk as well as vegan “soutzoukakia”, some delicious eggplant balls flavoured with a mixture of spices.
3. Vegan Βeat Αthens – Situated in the heart of Athens (Monastiraki area) Vegan Beat offers some unique vegan street food choices. One of the most popular is the juicy “lahmajoun” with a bit spicy minced soybeans. We also suggest that you give a chance to the “cauli wonder wrap” with nuggets made mainly with cauliflower.
4. Vegan Burgers Athens – Are you a burger lover looking for amazing vegan food in Athens? This place is for you. Here they take the concept of fast food and they turn it into an elegant and healthy meal. We tried the “1001 Nights” and the “Porcini” and we were not at all disappointed!
5. Veganaki – A vegan restaurant deeply inspired by Mediterranean cuisine which turns our favourite traditional dishes into vegan delicacies. You should taste what we call “pastitsio” served with a twist containing soya beans and an almond-cauliflower béchamel and, adding to that, the local “plastos” zucchini pie (a no phyllo pie from Thessaly). Tip: Here you can also find a sandwich made with vegan feta cheese, our queen of all cheese!
6. Winners vegan – One of the most popular vegan restaurants in Athens located in the center is Winners Vegan. Emphasis is put on raw ingredients in order to create an exclusively vegan menu not easy to forget. Starting from the exceptional “L.A. salad” with smoked tofu ending with a dynamite “Pink dragon ball”. We suggest you combine them with a small list of natural wines, vegan beer or of course a specialty drink!
You should also know that this restaurant is part of Niki Athens Hotel a family – run vegan boutique hotel, one of a few that value sustainability and ecology.
7. Crudo – Honouring a plant based nutrition, Crudo presents us with a raw vegan menu at a beautiful location by the beach, making it a delight for every vegan in Athens. A must-try would be the “Beetroot Ravioli” with cashew nuts and let’s not forget about the “Mushroom Ceviche” with avocado.
8. Plant Kingdom – This Kingdom where the menu changes every week was inspired by a raw food artist from Finland who creates unique dishes including soups, salads, appetizers etc. Here you can order a custom-made menu of your choice and follow the steps towards a healthier lifestyle.
9. Peas vegan and raw food – Their motto being “Our food is street food, not junk food”, at Peas you will find a variety of top quality vegan options based on fresh ingredients such as tempeh and seitan dishes and, if you are much of a sweet tooth, some extraordinary desserts. We especially recommend you to taste “Two peas in a pod (Skepasti)” and “God gave us lemons” to finish a great meal.
photo credit : peas
10. Yi – Its nutritious and healthy plant-based recipes will introduce you to various colourful (raw) vegan dishes and new exciting flavors. You can find some excellent tarts and veggie bowls but the plant-based raw cheese and the signature cream cakes stand out most in the menu.
11. The Vegan Vandal– Are you a vegan in Greece looking for an ode to street food using local products? Then you should visit this particular place. Remember to try their homemade “Eggplant pocket” with a special Florina pepper sauce or a “ladenia Kimolou” (Greek island pizza) with homemade yeast dough. Alternatively, give the jack fruit burger a chance and you will not be disappointed.
12. Trivoli Vegan Kafeneio – Trivoli is a one of a kind vegan meze shop in the south of Athens which feels like home! Their vegan pizza with creamy cheese and the vegan giouvetsi are definitely the stars, but there are indeed multiple choices of different burgers, salads, pasta and desserts to choose from. Tip: Savour some Greek halva at the end of your meal !
13. Wild souls – A visit here is a must if you’re a vegan in Athens.What’s better than an all vegan menu (except for the recipes including honey) created by a famous nutrition specialist whose goal is to make it good for your soul! Give the “Cashew cheese sandwich” a taste or the “Mac ‘n’ Sesame pesto salad” made with Kalamata olives and pistachio from Aegina island.
photo credit : wild souls
10 best non strictly vegan restaurants in Athens
Good news is that more and more restaurants enrich their menu by adding plant-based options to cater for every vegan in Athens! These are the 10 best non strictly vegan restaurants in Athens that we picked especially for you:
1. Feyrouz – A family business with gastronomic influences from Levant offers artisanal street food combining traditional recipes with modern techniques. Both “lahmanikon” and “za’atar” are excellent vegan options.
2. Falafellas – The best place for falafel lovers, very close to Monastiraki! Pocket or giant sized wraps at a very reasonable price are offered fresh daily with local ingredients and spices.
3. Mystic pizza – Here they take their pizza very seriously! Made with cannabis dough and a melt in your mouth vegan cheese, the “Avocado pizza” is one of the most popular lately. What is more, they make some delicious vegan salads and a vegan “kormos” (a no-bake dessert made with chocolate and crushed biscuits) for dessert.
4. Lukumades – One of the oldest pastries ever made is a vegan dessert! Traditionally, these dough balls which are made with flour, dry yeast, water and baking powder, are served warm sprinkled with powdered sugar and cinnamon. Other great vegan options are the vegan chocolate ones and the Vegano 0.2 with a chocolate sorbet ice cream and sweet cherries.
photo credit : life with zandra
5. Happy blender – Full of healthy choices beginning with freshly squeezed juices and smoothies with superfoods to smoothie bowls. Our recommendation is their vegan best seller Acai bowl from Brazil.
6. Avocado– Making food with love and seasonal products since 2011, Avocado introduces us to cruelty free and high quality cooking. When you visit, you need to taste their amazing vegan spinach tart called “Mother Earth” and the mouth-watering “Holy Guacamole”.
7. Joshua tree – A funky aesthetic and a menu with half its options being plant-based and vegan make Joshua tree cafe stand out in Mets area. They will serve you with some fantastic hot cakes, a vegan hot dog or an impressive beetroot tower sandwich among others.
8. Smak – A light airy snack (named peynirli or “the Greek pizza”) handmade on spot everyday in front of your eyes, stepping on Greek tradition and taking it to the next level is what makes Smak what it is. The vegan “smak pesto” and the “smak truffle” you should not miss!
9. Ohh Boy – This is not just an ordinary city cafe. It gives off such a cozy and fresh aura that you will feel as if you were on a Greek island! They offer vegan brunch, special desserts and signature coffee options, for instance “turmeric coconut coffee” or “carrot cake with vegan cream cheese frosting”.
10. Keenkies – A small store with minimal decoration but not minimal options, if you wish to have loukoumades and peynirli in a different way. With a wide variety of both savory and sweet vegan alternatives, you will not find it easy to choose. If you ask us,we recommend the “hangover” with tofu bacon and the amazing “foundoukara”.
photo credit : olive magazine
For more vegan food in Athens check out:
Holy llama – The very first vegan bakery in Athens set up on classic recipes but only using vegan products and innovative techniques.Try those extra light and fluffy croissants and certainly their specialty, babka!
photo credit : holy llama
Bamboo vegan – This was the first 100% vegan shop to open in Athens and it has managed to become a reference point for all vegans. Here you can actually find all products that are vegan in Athens: wraps, pies, smoothies or even cosmetics and vegan pet food.
Mother Vegan – Famous for its diverse vegan pies (mushroom, hemp, spinach with semolina, nettle and an awesome lentil pie) or their own homemade vegetable cheese made from nuts, Mother Vegan suggests nutritious soulful vegan food in Athens.
Up-Kyttariki Threpsi – Pro healthy, pro vegan! Up-Kyttariki Threpsi specializes in a nutritious diet and lifestyle creating tasty sandwiches, juices, smoothies, beverages, salads, soups, bars and more…
Tanini agapi mou – Do you happen to love wine as much as we do? This is the perfect spot for wine lovers to explore! A huge collection of more than 100 different labels from all over Greece is to be found here. Wine not?
Do you want to find out more about Greek wine? Join us in our wine tasting tour in Athens!