Expert recommendations for the best places to eat in four price ranges: budget ($), moderate ($$), expensive ($$$), and luxury ($$$$)
“Traditional, spotless eatery with a host of regulars; many go for the rizogalo (rice pudding), but its home-style casseroles have few rivals. Genial service, very reasonable prices.”—Diana Farr Louis, author, Athens and Beyond: 30 Day Trips and Weekends. Praxitelous 30; tel. 30 210 323 2671.
“The best hole in the wall souvlaki joint, a lone survivor on bustling Adrianou Street. Only open until 3 p.m.; by the time the tourist flock descends, Kostas has already gone for his siesta.”—Kimon Frangakis, editor, Status magazine. The house motto is OXI ANXOS (NO STRESS). Adrianou 116, Monastiraki.
“No nonsense Greek stews and roasts, served right out of the pot. In Ano Petralona, an un-touristy neighborhood full of character, known among local gourmets for great value restaurants.”—Kimon Frangakis. Troon 41, Ano Petralona; tel. 30 210 346 7555.
“Cult restaurant straight out of Never on Sunday. Menu is limited to red mullet, sea bream or prawns crackling in enormous frying pans overflowing with orange oil, accompanied with Greek salad and house wine. Always full, but worth the wait.” —Kimon Frangakis. Near the sea, but no view. Hatzikyriakio 126, Piraeus; tel. 30 210 451 4226.
“Unpretentious taverna cum bistro with seasonal Greek menu created by food writer Alexandros Yiotis. Good stop after visiting Archaeological Museum.”—Diane Shugart, author, Athens by Neighborhood. Regulars from the nearby publishing houses and Polytechnic savor fried feta in sesame and honey crust, meat and mint borek (pies), irresistible halva mousse. Emmanuel Benaki 69A, Exarhia; tel. 30 210 330 0237.
“For fish lovers, a perfect coda to a morning’s perusal of the new Benaki museum. A paean to the humble sardine and small-fry like baby shrimp and new-born calamari. Save room for lemon tart.”—Diana Farr Louis. Sidewalk tables strung with lights, great for people-watching. Persephonis 15, Gazi; tel. 30 210 347 8050. www.sardelles.gr
Few tourists find this cozy but refined taverna tucked away in the northern suburbs. “Using organic ingredients, Andonis Roussos creates classic dishes that remind me of my mother’s cooking.”—Eleni Psychouli, restaurant critic, Kathimerini newspaper. Tyropittakia (feta pies), katsikomakaronada (spaghetti with goat meat sauce), yoghurt with sour cherry syrup. Ethnikou Stratou 17, Ano Kifissia; tel. 30 210 801 7869.
“Heralded the belated discovery of Cretan cuisine in Athens. Products flown in from Crete ensure dishes are authentic. Owned by an influential TV journalist, popular with power-lunching MPs.”—Kimon Frangakis. Bona fide sfougato (cured meat and potato frittata), rabbit and onion stew. Vrasida 13, Ilissia; tel. 30 210 721 0501. www.alatsi.gr
“Chef Vasilis Kallidis uses unusual ingredients in imaginative combinations, inspired by travels around Greece.”—Denny Kallivoka, food and drink editor, Athinorama. Beautifully presented, seasonal dishes: sardine souvlaki with lime and fennel tzatziki, chilled melon and basil soup with homemade vanilla ice cream. “Owners take real care of you; it’s like going to their house for dinner.”—Eleni Psychouli. Stratigou Lekka 19, Maroussi; tel. 30 210 806 6700. www.aneton.gr
New outpost of wine merchant/bistro Cellier in neo-classical mansion wallpapered in wine labels. “Sophisticated Mediterranean menu, great service, amazing wine list on a terrace overlooking expensive yachts moored in the marina.”—Diane Shugart. Harilaou Trikoupi 58 and Ionidon 2; tel. 30 210 418 1049. www.cellier.gr (in Greek only)
“Socialites and celebrities throng here for chef Argiro Barbarigou’s innovative seafood.”—Eleni Psychouli. Signature dishes include octopus stewed in wine and honey, catch of the day en papillote, homemade bougatsa (fyllo pastry oozing custard). Fancy furnishings, patchy service. Voukourestiou 47 and Fokylidou, Kolonaki; tel. 30 210 360 8621.
“Greece’s best meat restaurant. Rare Macedonian buffalo, char-grilled to perfection by Giorgos Tsiligiris. Great atmosphere, star-studded clientele.”—Eleni Psychouli. No souvlaki, but meat-free mezedes are just as good. Frangopoulou19, Kifissia; tel. 30 210 807 4015. www.telemachosrestaurant.gr
48 The Restaurant
“Chef Christoforos Peskias, protégé of Ferran Adria, pioneered nouvelle Greek cuisine; witty interpretations of classic dishes like tomato sushi—his take on stuffed tomatoes.”—Eleni Psychouli. “Exceptional wine list rotates with seasons.”—Denny Kallivoka. Try the set menu, $100. Closed in summer. Armatolon and Klefton 48, Ambelokipi; tel. 30 210 645 0658.
“Rivals Europe’s top restaurants and deserves its Michelin star. Very expensive, unless you sample the mid-week menu dégustation.”—Denny Kallivoka. Gallic classics with a Mediterranean twist, served in a sedate courtyard or vaulted stone interior. Pyrronos 5, Pangrati; tel. 30 210 752 0658. www.spondi.gr
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