Food & Drink

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Athens, a city steeped in history and culture, offers a culinary landscape as rich and diverse as its heritage. Amidst ancient ruins and vibrant streets, the Greek capital thrives with culinary delights that range from traditional tavernas to innovative gastronomic experiences. This guide explores the local delicacies, specialties, and the best spots in Athens where visitors can embark on an unforgettable gastronomic journey.

Local Delicacies and Specialties

Souvlaki and Gyros

No visit to Athens would be complete without savoring the quintessential Greek fast food: souvlaki and gyros. These grilled meat delights, often served in a pita wrap with tomatoes, onions, tzatziki, and fries, are beloved by locals and travelers alike.

Where to Try: Kostas in Syntagma is a legendary spot, serving some of the best souvlaki in Athens since the 1950s. For gyros, Bairaktaris in Monastiraki Square offers a traditional and flavorful experience that has satisfied customers for decades.


This iconic Greek casserole, made with layers of eggplant, minced meat, potatoes, and topped with a creamy béchamel sauce, is a must-try for anyone seeking the essence of Greek comfort food.

Where to Try: To Kafeneio in Plaka provides a cozy atmosphere and serves a moussaka that perfectly balances the rich flavors and textures of this beloved dish.


Dolmades, grape leaves stuffed with rice and herbs (and sometimes minced meat), are a staple of Greek meze platters. These bite-sized wraps are a testament to the simplicity and elegance of Greek cuisine.

Where to Try: Melilotos in Kolonaki offers an excellent variety of meze, including some of the most flavorful dolmades in Athens, ideal for a light lunch or dinner.

Fresh Seafood

Athens’ proximity to the sea ensures a bounty of fresh seafood. From grilled octopus to fried calamari and beyond, seafood is an integral part of the Athenian diet.

Where to Try: Varoulko Seaside in Piraeus, led by the celebrated chef Lefteris Lazarou, specializes in creative seafood dishes that have earned it a Michelin star.

Sweet Delights


These deep-fried dough balls, soaked in honey and sprinkled with cinnamon and sometimes sesame, are a popular Greek dessert. Loukoumades are the perfect sweet treat to enjoy with a cup of Greek coffee.

Where to Try: Krinos in Omonia has been serving loukoumades since 1923, offering visitors a taste of tradition that is both delicious and authentic.


This sweet, rich pastry made of layers of filo, filled with chopped nuts, and sweetened with syrup or honey, is found in many variations across Greece.

Where to Try: Serbetia in Psyrri offers a wide selection of baklava and other traditional Greek sweets, each bursting with flavors that tell a story of centuries-old culinary traditions.


Greek Coffee and Ouzo

To truly immerse oneself in Greek culinary culture, one must experience Greek coffee, slowly brewed to perfection, and ouzo, the anise-flavored aperitif that symbolizes Greek hospitality.

Where to Try: Mokka in Athinas Street is renowned for its traditional Greek coffee, best enjoyed in the bustling ambiance of Athens’ central market. For ouzo and a selection of meze, Brettos in Plaka, with its colorful wall of spirits, offers an inviting atmosphere to wind down after a day of exploration.

Athens’ food scene is a dynamic blend of tradition and innovation, where every meal is an opportunity to explore Greece’s rich culinary heritage. From the historic streets of Plaka to the trendy neighborhoods of Kolonaki and Psyrri, the city’s eateries invite visitors to embark on a flavorful journey through time and taste. Whether you’re indulging in a hearty moussaka, sampling fresh seafood by the sea, or savoring the sweetness of loukoumades, Athens promises a gastronomic experience that is as memorable as its ancient monuments.