How to experience Athens' food scene in one day

Carolina Doriti, a chef, recipe developer and culinary tour guide from Athens, describes her perfect gastronomic day in the capital.

By Helen Iatrou
Published 4 Mar 2021, 09:06 GMT, Updated 15 Jun 2021, 17:34 BST
The view towards the Parthenon from Monastiraki Square, with Tzistarakis Mosque in the foreground, Athens.

The view towards the Parthenon from Monastiraki Square, with Tzistarakis Mosque in the foreground, Athens.

Photograph by Getty Images

10am: coffee and pastries

I start my day with coffee at Dope Roasting Co, just off Athinas Street. It roasts its own beans, and sells delights like chocolate banana babka (a sweet braided cake). It’s worth browsing Varvakios Agora market while in the area.

11am: minimalist souvlaki

Lefteris o Politis is an old-school souvlaki joint founded in 1951, tucked away on a street off Omonia Square. There’s just one thing on offer, but it’s mighty good: a spicy minced beef patty with tomatoes, onions and parsley, wrapped in a warm pita. 20 Satovriandou 

1pm: Georgian-style bread

If it’s sunny, I stroll to Victoria Square, a multicultural area that’s home to many refugees. A tiny, nameless Georgian bakery sells great puri (fried bread) and khachapuri (cheese-filled bread). 79 Aristotelous 

2:30pm: Meze hour

Ouzeri tou Laki is where I go for seafood meze paired with ouzo, sitting outside and soaking up the sun as I dine. Work your way through dishes like steamed ray with green pepper and pink peppercorns.

6pm: Aperitifs in Koukaki

Specialising in ice-cold spritzers starting at just €2.50 (£2.20), Drupes Spritzeria, in Koukaki, is a fantastic spot to kick off the evening. With limited seating at the tiny bar, guests often prefer to stand outside and socialise.

8pm: Slow food at Fita

For dinner, I like to frequent Fita, in Neos Kosmos. Co-owners and chefs Thodoris Kassavetis and Fotis Fotinoglou serve tasty Greek fare with a twist at reasonable prices. The menu is seasonal and mostly seafood-centred, but there are excellent alternatives. I adore their salads, taramasalata, crispy chips and grilled beef liver. 1 Ntourm

11pm: Time to bar-hop

We Athenians love to party — and luckily we’re spoiled for choice. If the weather permits, I head to the garden at Six d.o.g.s for cocktails. Indoors, there’s a mix of concerts, DJ sets and exhibitions. Bar-hopping lasts until the early hours and there are dozens of drinking dens in the vicinity.

How to do it
Culinary Backstreets offer Athens food tours from £97 per person and online Greek cooking experiences from £25.

Published in the April 2021 issue of National Geographic Traveller (UK)

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