Athens is famous for being the home of the Acropolis, the Parthenon and the ancient Olympic games. But what about the Athens food scene? We’ve asked a local expert to share her picks for the best places to eat in Athens Greece. Read on to find out how to eat like a local in the exciting Greek capital city.
Traditional Greek food is popular all over the world – especially classic dishes like souvlaki (grilled meat skewers), moussaka (similar to lasagna), spanakopita (spinach pie) and horitaki salata (Greek salad). Any visitor to Athens, Greece would surely be excited to try these famous Greek food dishes plus local delights like olives, pistachios and feta cheese.
Even if you don’t plan to spend your entire holiday in Athens, you will surely pass through the ancient city at the beginning or end of your Greek vacation. When you do, you will want to eat well when you’re not learning facts about the Parthenon and exploring the Acropolis.
But where are the best places to eat in Athens? And by best, we mean the Athens restaurants where locals eat.
A Local’s Picks for the Best Places to Eat in Athens Greece
Are you wondering where to eat in Athens? We’ve asked local expert Chrysoula Manika of Travel Passionate to provide her insider tips for the best food in Athens. These are her recommendations for some of the best places to eat in Athens Greece:
Favorite Local Athens Restaurant
One of my favorite downtown restaurants is called Tzitzikas kai Mermigas. It is centrally located near Syntagma square and is an extremely popular place to eat both for locals and tourists.
It has a lovely décor that looks like a traditional market. Shelves filled with canned food and spices cover the walls and when weather permits, guests can sit outside and watch people and cars passing by.
In addition to serving traditional Greek recipes with modern flair, the restaurant serves a number of beers from Greece’s fledgling craft brew scene. Portions are filling, service is quick and prices are good.
Tzitzikas kai Mermigas is located at Mitropoleos 12, Athina 105 63, Greece.
Iconic Athens Food
My favorite traditional Greek dish is moussaka. Moussaka is a casserole with layers of baked potatoes, eggplant, Greek-style meat sauce topped with bechamel (flour, milk and butter).
Filippou in Athens’ Kolonaki neighborhood has been a moussaka destination since 1923. Apart from the tasty moussaka, Filippou also serves additional traditional Greek favorites like pastitsio and gemista.
Filippou is located at Xenokratous 19, Athina 106 75, Greece.
Favorite Athens Cafe
Greeks enjoy spending time with friends and drinking coffee in Athens’ abundant cafe culture. One of my favorite spots for both coffee and cocktails is Couleur Locale.
Hidden in a side street in Monastiraki, Couleur Locale is an all-day rooftop café with a striking view of the Acropolis. The welcoming vibe and relaxed atmosphere make Couleur Locale popular with locals.
The other rooftop cafes in Monastiraki square are touristic, lacking personality and character. Skip those and head to Couleur Locale for a genuine Greek experience.
Couleur Locale is located at Normanou 3, Athina 105 55, Greece.
Special Occasion Meal
If you want to celebrate a special occasion in Athens, I recommend Galaxy Restaurant and Bar. Located on the top floor of the Hilton Hotel, Galaxy offers one of the best views of the city and the Acropolis.
During the summer, you can sit in one of the tables on the balcony and dine under the stars. It is also a great spot to enjoy a breathtaking sunset.
Apart from the lovely view, the restaurant has an ever-changing menu with great cocktails and an excellent wine list. On my last visit, I enjoyed a Black Angus flat iron steak tagliata served with grilled vegetables. This Athens restaurant also serves the best sushi in town along with mouthwatering desserts.
The service at Galaxy Restaurant and Bar is top notch and the ambiance very relaxed.
Galaxy Restaurant and Bar is located at Leof. Vasilissis Sofias 46, Athina 115 28, Greece.
Favorite Athens Desserts
The best desserts in the city can be found at Nancy’s Sweet Home a.k.a. Serbetospito located in the Psyrri neighborhood close to the Monastiraki metro station. Nancy makes all the desserts herself, and they’re all amazing.
If you are into chocolate, try the “Love Dessert” – a juicy chocolate cake with praline and chocolate sauce. Non-chocolate fans can try the Kiounefe, a pastry filled with cheese and soaked in sugar syrup. Nancy’s Sweet Home serves all of their desserts with homemade kaimaki ice cream.
Go with a big appetite. The portions are huge.
Nancy’s Sweet Home is located at Pl. Iroon 1, Athina 105 54, Greece.
Hidden Athens Gem
One of my favorite restaurants and a favorite among locals is ThaMa (Θα Μα). Here you will taste food based on Messinian cuisine (an area in Peloponnese).
The chefs use traditional recipes from villages in the area using local ingredients. On weekends, the restaurant serves gourounopoula, special roasted pork that is slow-cooked for hours until mouthwateringly tender.
Θα Μα is a popular spot so reservations are suggested. Despite its suburban location, the restaurant is easy to access by public transportation. Take the metro from Monastiraki or Syntagma station towards Doukissis Plakentias or the airport and stop at Holargos station (10 minutes with the metro). The restaurant is located less than 100 meters from the metro station.
The Red Hot Chilli Peppers dined at Θα Μα when they visited Athens.
ThaMa is located at Leof. Mesogeion 242, Cholargos 155 61, Greece.
Meet the Athens Local Expert
Chrysoula Manika is a travel blogger and tourism professional based in Athens, Greece. She writes in English for Athens and Beyond, a blog focused on her home town of Athens.
Chrissy has traveled extensively throughout Europe for the past 25 years and has no intention of slowing down. She loves to explore local culture and gastronomy of the places she visits.
It’s not too soon to start planning your Greek vacation now!
Eat Like a Local Around the World
Check out our local guides for Pittsburgh, San Francisco, Seattle, Seoul, Taipei, Sydney and Valencia.
About the Authors
Daryl & Mindi Hirsch
Saveur Magazine’s BEST TRAVEL BLOG award winners Daryl and Mindi Hirsch share their culinary travel experiences and recipes on the 2foodtrippers website and YouTube. The married Food and Travel content creators live in Lisbon, Portugal.
Original Publication Date: November 15, 2017
Saturday 25th of January 2020
Excellent article, as it is so easy to get to the middle of Athens, like in the middle of Plaka, and end up having a mediocre meal that will disappoint those expecting the lovely food Greece is famous for. These recommendations are all excellent establishments for traditional Greek food.
One minor point (sorry, the engineer has to come out in me): the ancient Olympics were never held in Athens, but the first one of the Modern era was (1896).
Wednesday 11th of September 2019
Thanks for sharing such an amazing blog... Keep Sharing!!!
Nick @ GreekBoston.com
Friday 20th of July 2018
Athens is a wonderful culinary city because you can not only find traditional Greek cuisine, but also food that is just a bit more modernized. There really is something here for everyone and the places you have shared are all great choices!
Thursday 22nd of February 2018
If you're going to travel all the way to Greece, you want to indulge in the best possible food! I always find that the best bet is to ask the locals. They know all of the secret, hidden spots that might be off the beaten path but often have the best selections.
Saturday 18th of November 2017
Oh I love greek food, especially moussaka! I'll have to check out these restaurants when I travel to Greece :)