Everything’s betta with a little feta—El Greco
Mrs. Big Surf and I make our travel plans based on what food we like to eat. We love Greek food…so you can do the math.
We spent four days in Athens and I ate about two weeks worth of food. This was the best Greek food I have ever eaten, tasted so authentic…oh.
If you can get past most menus looking like a fraternity/sorority talent show lineup, ordering food wasn’t too difficult. Most menus have English sub titles and most of the waiters and waitresses speak English. Of course if you don’t speak Greek or English I don’t have any advice for you.
We began our foraging through Athens on our arrival at the Acropolis Museum Boutique Hotel. We arrived late and we asked the desk clerk for a recommendation and he steered us to a very close 24 hour restaurant, called 24oro . He said it was good Greek food and he was right. My advice here— don’t go by the names as we do in America where a 24- hour joint is probably not the best choice unless you are hungry at 3:00 AM.
Since it was late, we split a moussaka and we also began our four day love affair with fried feta drizzled in honey.
Moussaka at 24oro.
The fried feta, drizzled with honey and sesame seeds was our go-to appetizer in Athens.
I began the next morning with a short walk to the Acropolis Museum to get tickets for the day. I stopped by Terra Carpo for a cup of Americana coffee. This may have been the best coffee I have ever had. This was my coffee stop for the next three days.
After coffee each morning, we would eat breakfast at the hotel. Our usual custom when we stay at hotels in cities is to get breakfast in cafes or bakeries to maximize our time finding good food. However our breakfast at the Acropolis Museum Boutique Hotel was included, so we took advantage of this. These breakfasts, with Greek delicacies, gave us a good start each day as each one was so good.
This was our typical breakfast each day.
After a morning at the Acropolis Museum and a walk through the charming Anafiotika neighborhood, we had lunch at Klepsidra Cafe.
At Klepsidra Cafe, we had our first stuffed grape leaves, tsatziki, a Greek salad and sampled some ouzo.
Yogurt with nuts and dates and drizzled with honey was also one of our favorites at Klepsidra Cafe.
Later that night, we dined at Strofi which was a short walk from our hotel. Our food was good but it wasn’t our favorite meal. However my appetizer of fresh anchovies marinated with spices, olive oil, and lemon was one of my favorite dishes of the stay in Athens.
I hope you are lucky enough to get this view at Strofi.
The marinated anchovies were delicious at Strofi.
The highlight of Day three in Athens for me…lunch at Diporto. This is a very unique experience that I found on Youtube. It is near the central market, has no sign and is below the street. There is home cooked Greek food, homemade wine, and an intimate atmosphere, where the owner invites you into the kitchen to see what he is cooking for the day. Don’t let the less than pristine appearance dissuade you from dining here when you descend under the street level through graffiti-marred doors, you will love this dining experience.
One of the two entrances into Diporto.
Our view of the street at Diporto.
Three dishes with bread and homemade white wine was brought to our table.
The grilled anchovies at Diporto may have been my favorite dish in Athens.
Intimate dining at Diporto.
We had a great view of the Acropolis and Athens at Hotel Thissio.
We headed over to souvlaki row off Monastiraki Square and split a Greek salad and souvlaki at Savvas and had an outdoor table on the busy pedestrian street. This wasn’t the best souvlaki that we had but it was still good.
The following day, our last full day in Athens, we toured the Acropolis and walked over to the old neighborhood of Plaka and had lunch at Estia Taverna.
Our lunch at Estia Taverna in the outdoor part of the cafe was very enjoyable. It was a nice sunny day and we shared a different fried cheese, called saganaki, named for the pan it is fried in. We also had some really good french fries which are popular in Athens. We had a nice red wine that complimented this simple meal and were refreshed for an afternoon shopping in the shops of Plaka and of course finding more things to eat.
A few hours later we headed over to the steps of Plaka and found a table at Anafiotika Cafe. It was a lively time on the steps, so we partook of some more ouzo. I really encourage anyone going to Athens to find these small cafes and eat on the steps.
Afterward, Mrs. Big Surf was in the mood for a chicken crepe and she found one at a creperie on Souvlaki Row on Ermou Street and I went into O Thanasis for a souvlaki for take-out. We took our purchases over to Montesoriki Square and found a spot to enjoy our simple meal in the midst of this lively and entertaining gathering place. I loved both of our dishes.
I thought this chicken crepe was very good, Mrs. Big Surf thought less of it but still liked it.
I loved this souvlaki from O Thanasis.
The final stop for the evening was a rooftop bar overlooking Athens. We found a wonderful spot atop the A for Athens Hotel. The rooftop bar for a nice glass of red wine was a perfect spot to enjoy our last night in Athens. The view is incredible and if you can get a seat at sunset, this would be a minor coup. We were able to accomplish this,and let me tell you, it was hard to leave this view.
We had a beautiful view from the A for Athens rooftop bar in the late afternoon sun and into the night.
We had an afternoon flight scheduled for Istanbul, so this gave us some time to head back over to the shops in Plaka. While my lovely wife shopped, I of course looked for more food and was drawn to the small cafes on the steps one last time. I had a very nice spinach pie with some jasmine tea (see cover photo). This was a great place to reflect on my stay in Athens and enjoy my last few minutes.
An addendum to this food story is our trip back from Turkey where we had a connecting flight out of Athens. We had some time to kill so we headed over to the Sofitel across the street from the airport. This turned out to be a very good decision. We shared a delicious assortment of Greek appetizers and a lemon tart with berries and a raspberry glaze. The red wine complimented it very nicely. This gave us a good send off from Athens.
The plate of appetizers at Sofitel, a good choice if you have to kill some time in the Athens airport.
The lemon tart was a nice treat also at Sofitel.
I look forward to the possibility of more good food in Athens if I ever get the chance again.