Athens Travel Guide


There are loads of restaurants in the Athens Plaka and surrounding area. If you try these out you will know what a good restaurant should look, taste and feel like, and be less likely to be taken advantage of in one of the tourist joints. If you have any faves you want to add, take a picture and send me a review. Remember that if you order fish it is sold by the kilo so before you choose make sure you know the price since it can vary greatly from one fish to another.

In The Plaka Byzantino
This is the restaurant of choice for many locals in the Plaka. From the outside there is nothing to distinguish it from the other more tourist-type places except for the great location in the small park on Kydatheneon street, but the food is better and influenced by the Greek clientele. I like the spinach pie (spana-ko -pita), their fish soup (psa-row -soupa) which you can get it with or without a plate of fish. Of course they have the Greek salad (hor-ee- ah-tiko), eggplant salad (mel-eetsana salata), yogurt dip (satziki), and all the standards. It's not cheap but it's not expensive either. I love their roast potatoes (fourno pahtahtes) and chicken (kotopoulo). They have bottled wine and cold beer and ouzo and mezedes. The menu is in several languages including English. Look for strange and funny translations on menus here and all over Greece. It's a high form of entertainment for travelers. Galeos is not red snapper which is what all the menus tell you. It's shark, kind of a humorous translation. You can walk right in and see the food. Either ask the cook or waiter how to pronounce whatever it is you want, or drag your waiter in and point to it. It's perfectly acceptable behavior. After lunch you can buy a newspaper at the kiosk across the street and have a coffee while reading about what's going on in the rest of the world.
If you continue walking up Kydathenaon street past Adrainou and begin climbing the steps you will come to this very nice restaurant that is not too expensive and it is in a relatively quiet location. Sit outside next to the ruins of ancient Athens. If you order mezedes and a salad you won't even need a main course. But if you have a large stomach everything here is good and though you will see other tourists around it is still traditionally Greek and you will also see many locals. If the lower areas of the Plaka are too hot. Tom Mazarakis loves this place.

The Plaka Restaurant
Right on the corner of Kydatheneon and Geronta street on the small square is the Plaka Restaurant which has been serving locals and travelers for years. They specialize in Greek oven dishes, grilled meats and fish and features some specialties from Asia Minor like my favorite Lamb and Vegetables from Smyrna. You can order from the menu or go inside and choose what you like. They also have a large selection of fish which is on display in the glass-case. You can even choose which cut of meat you want from their choice of pork-chops, lamb-chops and steaks. Their Athens-made red wine is good and lets you off easy the next morning. Also try their lamb fricasse (lamb with escarole and egg-lemon sauce). My mom says their grilled octopus is the tenderest she has ever eaten. Try the Thrapsala grilled. It is giant squid with their special oil and lemon sauce. Waiters speak English and are helpful if you can't decide and like most restauarants in the Plaka the menu is in English and a couple other languages and has plenty to choose from. You will be treated to fruit or desert if you mention this site so don't be shy.

If you should be lucky enough to be here before the weather gets too hot you may notice several basement restaurants. These are called Bakaliarzidikos and they specialize in fried codfish. There are three of them, the oldest being Domigos near the corner of Kydatheneon and Adrianou Streets right underneath Brettos Ouzo. The reason they are not open in the summer is because with all the ovens and fryers it's just too hot. But these restaurants generally have some of the best Athensmade wine (khee-ma) and the codfish (bakaliaro) served with garlic dip (skordaya) is out of this world. The tables are cramped and you can tune in to the conversation next door as easy as your own. It's very friendly and full of local Athenians, expatriates and smart people. Just about anything on the menu is good and your clothes will smell of codfish for days to come. The best Bakaliaro place in my opinion and the one I usually go to is Saita located a block from Nikis street.

Psaras Fish Taverna
Psaras was my favorite restaurant in the Plaka. One of the oldest Tavernas in the Plaka, dating back to 1898, this is where my friends and I spent many an evening. Who cared if the waitors were rude and got mad at you if you didn't order enough, or spilled hot fish oil on my friend's expensive dresses not one but two times. What was the big deal if everytime we ate there the bill was padded with stuff we didn't order and never received? Even after my friends and I one at a time declared we would never eat there again, we always came back, because the food was great, the wine delicious and because it was on the steps of the Plaka far from any cars, it was like being on an island. They could insult us, not recognize us after hundreds of visits, ruin our clothes, rip us off and laugh at us when we left, and we did not care.
For some reason Psaras went out of business.
But now it is back, with new tableclothes, a new decor (a whole new restaurant in the same beautiful spot), new waitors (the old ones are probably in prison or selling chestnuts in Omonia), new cooks (the old ones were over 100 and probably died), and food and wine that is better then the old Psaras. The menu is in English and the waitors and staff are pleasant and very helpful. If you want to go to my new favorite restaurant in the Plaka come here. It's not too hard to find. It's on the corner of Erotocritou and Erehtheos streets up the steps that lead from the Plaka to the Acropolis. I love the soupes (cuttlefish). Try the Cretan Salad too. Try everything. Laura at Byzantino loves this place. Probably the best place for fresh fish and also grilled steaks and chops.

The Diros
The Diros is the favorite restaurant of my friend George at Fantasy Travel which is lucky for him because it is just two doors down from his office. Getting him to eat anywhere else is almost like pulling teeth but I don't really mind because I like the place. Diros was actually a very old restaurant called The Corfu which was located in Syntagma that closed many years ago and reopened with the same staff in their present location on Xenofontos street. This is one of the last of the old-time restaurants and is still frequented by the old polititians and Greek celebrities as well as many people in the business community. Air-conditioned in the summer it is a good place to be when it gets really hot in July or August and very cozy in the cool months. If you want good food in a clean environment with excellent service come here for lunch or dinner. To find the Diros go to Syntagma Square and walk up Nikis or Fileninon. If you walk up Nikis take your first left, if you walk up Filenenon your first right.

Eden Vegetarean Restaurant
If you are a vegetarean I suggest going to the EDEN Restaurant on the corner of Misicleos and Lissiou streets. To find it just walk down Adrianou towards the Monistiraki flea market, and turn left on Misicleos and walk up the steps. I love their eggplant salad. If you are looking for a purely vegetarean restaurant it's the best. (and the only). Vegetarrean's who have used my website and gone here have raved about it. Also check out The Noodle Shop on Apollonos street between Patrou and Pendelis streets. I left Athens the day before it opened but it looked great and had lots of vegetarean stuff on the menu. It has dishes from Thailand, China, Viet-nam and many other countries in the far east.

For backpackers and budget travelers this small taverna-estiatorio on Patroou street has been a hangout since I was in highschool and I was very pleased to find it still open one night while taking a shortcut from the Plaka to Psiri. In the daytime the place is air-conditioned on very hot days and at night they have tables across the street in the entrance of a parking garage. No maybe it is not the most romantic setting but their Athensmade wine is excellent and the beers are cold and they have a good selection of food on display inside so deciding what you order is easy. The roast chicken and potatoes were good. I had the pork in red sauce and that was fine too. My friend Dorian said they had the best beefteki he had ever tasted. Dorian is prone to exaggerate but they were pretty good. The waitor and sometimes night-manager is Markos who is a very charming young guy from I don't know where. You can find Peristeri by walking down Apollonos street and turning right or down Metropolis street and turning left.

There is another old restaurant worth going to in the Plaka called Platanos. To find it walk down Adrianou towards Monistiriki. Turn left on Mysicleos street and then take your first right which is Diogenous street. It's in the platia. Go inside and see what they have. Everything is as good as it looks. Great place to eat at night. Be sure to sit outside unless it is cold. Next door is the Greek Music Museum which is my favorite museum in the city. Each display has headphones so you can hear each instrument in context and in a variety of styles. If you continue walking you will come to the famous Tower of the Winds.

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