CASUAL DINING IN ATHENS
Following my foodie fest of the historic city of Athens, I’ve put together an archive of my favourite casual dining hangouts in the city. I’ve concentrated on my niche of coffee (obviously!) and places you’d pop in for a quick drink and a light lunch or snack whilst touring the bustling city streets. Just a little point to note, the Athenians don’t really have a set time for food so well breakfast, well its not really done! Lunch doesn’t need to be at 12:30-13:00 and dinner can be whenever in the evening!
CASUAL COFFEE SPOTS
Coffee culture in Athens is super cool, hip and trendy. It’s the place where you grab a ‘freddo’ or iced coffee, pull up a curb-side seat and people watch or put the world to rights. It’s pretty well known that Athenians will grab a coffee and happily spend the best part of a day just chatting away! The power of a freddo with friends!
Nestled behind the Flea market and set amongst the antique stalls is a pretty but quirky French/Moulin Rouge styled café named Avissinia.
Now I’m not going to take the credit for stumbling on this place as our host on our Athens Insiders food Tour highly recommended this place to us. It is really kitsch and an ideal coffee and baklava stop to refuel you up for your flea market sweep!
Athens 105 55
Tel +30 21 0321 7047
Tailor Made is located in the hipsterish, fashionable saint Irene’s square and just oozes Athenian contemporary character. Grabbing a table at this café/bar is a bit like purchasing hot cakes! It is definitely where the ‘everything’ setters of Athens hang-out! We managed to grab a prime table outside and experience some of this café culture as we were in the midst of any conversations with locals!
You can easily find a table inside and sit in close proximity to the uber cool bar and DJ but if you want a slice of the action, you need to be outside! They also serve food and innovative cocktails that couple the DJ sets immaculately.
Pl. Agias Irinis 2,
Athens 105 60,
Tel +30 21 3004 9645
Literally just off the square where Tailormade is located, sits another cool coffee, cocktail and food junction. There are limited tables outside but inside is split over two floors. I would recommend getting a table downstairs if possible as you will experience the skills of the amazing bar tended both in his very proficient manner of making hot and cold beverages.
We actually chose to have a late lunch here one afternoon and all I’m saying is, if you try one dessert here, please god let it be the orange pie!
Spollati also has a super buzzing vibe in the evenings with music and drinks on the rocks with fancy bartending skillography! (I may just have made that word up!!)
Athen 105 60
Tel +30 21 5551 3004
Huddled down a steep hill inbetween the old town of Plaka and the beautiful white washed walls of Anafiotika lies the cute and quaint traditional Yiasemi. Although the cafes surrounding Yiasemi attract a lot of tourists, Yiasemi seemed to be full of locals, very casual just sipping away at their Greek coffees and tucking into their homemade dishes.
The vibe here is definitely casual with floral covered sofas and big deep armchairs you could literally fall asleep in. It feels like you’re in a village coffee shop and time is at a standstill for a while. One of my favourites in such a cosmopolitan city!
Athens 105 55
Tel +30 21 3041 7937
CASUAL FOOD STOPS
In a city full of culinary delights, it can be a little overwhelming on selecting a good snack/lunch place but I was recommended some, which I just had to try out. All reasonably priced and easy to find in the city. My three recommendations will be sure to bring to you fresh produce, authentic local dishes mixed with modern cooking techniques and concepts.
SEVEN FOOD SINS
Only a stones throw from our hotel in Plaka, in the cute Filimousou square surrounded by equally inviting restaurants lies 7 Food Sins. I can only describe this as the Greek version of a Gastro-Pub.
It had all the finesse and styling of a restaurant but the rugged, casual nature of a typical drinking hole. The stunning townhouse building and wooden interiors are inviting as are the staff who are happy to explain the traditional Greek fare with a modern twist.
7 Food Sins
Platia Filomousou Eterias 1,
Athens 105 58
Tel +30 21 0701 1108
ERGON GREEK DELI & CUISINE
We actually stumbled on Ergon and the deli out the front enticed us to go in. When we discovered it was actually somehwhere you could eat, Bingo! Being a deli, there was lots of fresh cheese, hams and jarred produce available to drool after. There’s an open kitchen where you can spot the chef through the hatch, cooking up some fancy nosh and the place is aptly decorated in neutral tones with oak wood furniture.
The fresh juices are just the boost you’ll need after a morning of sight seeing and the food really provides a nice introduction to Greek dishes but in Meze format. The perfect place to come and share food in preparation for your immersion into Greek cuisine!
I tried the Cheese Pies with toulouruotiri, perfectly gooey and delicious. The recipe consist from Kozan and consisted of cheeses, with peppers covered in a crisp outer served with Greek yoghurt, tomato marmalade and fresh oregano. Whereas Dr C chose the chicken Souvlaki pitta.
Ergon Greek Deli & Cuisine
Athens 105 63
Tel +30 21 0331 5547
AVOCADO VEGAN & VEGETARIAN CAFE
Avocado place by far is one of the best vegetarian eateries I have tried full stop! The food just looks unbelievably fresh and colourful and is literally waiting to be eaten in it’s rainbow coloured state. The juices are super energising and my to recommendation would be the carrot, ginger, apple and beet juice and if like me it’s just a snack you’re after, aim to want to share it. The portions are pretty large! I ordered the avocado hummus, which came as garlicy as a hummus can come (I’m not complaining!) with perfect wedge triangular shaped pittas for dipping!
The menu is varied and they do everything from snacks, appetisers, mains, hot and cold and I just loved the mural they had outside their restaurant!
Avocado Vegetarian & Vegan Restaurant
Athens 105 57
Tel +30 21 0323 7878
If it’s a snack you want in the form of cheese. Cold meats, halva, olives and a variety of other meze then Miran is your place! A fantastic place to sit and grab a quick bite and some fresh meze and sample the Greek alcohol (something that tasted a little like Ouzo).
Just pick what you want and grab a bench to simply enjoy the wood boards packed with delicious fresh produce!
Athens 105 54
Tel +30 21 0321 7187
I hope that’s literally given you some food for thought and please feel free to share some of your own Athens recommendations with me in the comments below. I definitely feel another Greek foodie trip coming on…
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