Three Neighborhoods for Outdoor Dining in Athens, Greece

With restrictions on dining lifted in Athens, the cafes and restaurants are back full-swing, and everyone’s looking for an excuse to eat out. Almost every eating establishment has their tables outdoors this year (which is NBD for Greece, being one of those places where outdoor dining is standard), and everyone is starved to go sit for coffee or food. For a nice outing where you can really SEE the outside world, and also have a great meal or on-the-go snack, visit one of these three dining hotspots.

Suburbs: Holargos

Holargos has been gaining momentum as a hipster hotspot over the past few years, thanks to its wide array of restaurants and cafes on the long Mesogeion avenue. For coffee and snacks, White Spoon (Mesogeion 234) is a standard classic, while Chilangos (Mesogeion 258), Lucca (Mesogeion 250), and Flower Pizza (Mesogeion 232) (they have deep-dish!) are all perfect picks for foreign food. The unsung heroes of the hood, however, are its tavernas and Greek-cuisine-inspired spots. Fisarmonika (Mesogeion 180) and Proedros (Mesogeion 224) are great picks on Mesogeion, while ThaMa (Mesogeion 242), with its Peloponnese-inspired cuisine, is seriously underrated. For a hidden adventure, O Stavros (Doiranis 10-12), hidden within the roads of the neighborhood, is a great traditional taverna experience. And for a sweet treat for the ride home, Martini’s Bakery (Mesogeion 170 & Anastaseos 2) and Olyra (Faneromenis 01Α) have perfect cookies.

Downtown: Koukaki

Artsy Koukaki is a beloved ‘hood, thanks to its star position right under the Acropolis, its pedestrian walkways, and its infinite number of bars and eateries. Coffee up at cozy Little Tree Books & Coffee (Kavalloti 2)Italian-inspired Nuovo Alfisti (Drakou 3)or hipster Bel-Ray (Falirou 88) (they have vinyl DJ sets in the evenings). Street food abounds here, with gourmet souvlaki at Dirty Manh (Dimitrakopoulou 5), at Tuk Tuk (Veikou 40), and legendary sandwiches at Guarantee (Veikou 41). But the sit-down, Greek comfort food experience isn’t lost at Gkrik (Veikou 93), Mani Mani (Falirou 10), or Το Koutoukaki (Veikou 107), a hidden gem straight out of an old Greek movie (there’s no printed menu—just ask what’s available and trust that you’ll like everything). At dessert ‘o clock, head to Django (Veikou 15) for handmade gelato with Greek flavors.

Seaside: Pireaus

Fancy Glyfada and Faliro may get all the press for seaside outings, but the port city of Pireaus is where the tradition, the culture, and the best-traditional-food-you’ve-ever-had are. The star of the area is Eidikon (Psaron 38), a bakalotaverna (taverna and grocery store, the latter no longer functioning) filled with vintage products and the best traditional mezedes you’ve ever had. The comfort-food taverna Oinomageirio Zodohos Pygy (Katsouli 77) is along the same lines, whereas Ilias (104 Leoforos Chatzikiriakou), Yiannis (Leoforos Chatzikiriakou 107), and Margaro (Leoforos Chatzikiriakou 126) have excellent traditional fish. For waterside dining, Ta Vrahia tis Peiraikis (Akti Themistokleos 300) is a beloved taverna, while Dourambeis (Akti Dilaveri 29) is a luxe restaurant with oysters, scallops, and more. More inland, Greek garden bistro Belle Amie (Aggelou Metaxa 11) is tré romantic. And don’t forget to stop for traditional sweets and ice cream at Mastronikolas (Karaoli ke Dimitriou 68).

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