Superb ice cream bar. Sculptural blocks of unusual but totally scrummy ice cream dished up by the scoop until late in the evening. Frequented by young and old alike. The word is that this is THE best place to get ice cream in Athens. Sitting outside and watching happy people munch ice cream is enjoyable as shared knowing looks of indulgent bliss cross all linguistic barriers.
Takis / Aisopou 21, Psirri
Old style taverna in the once run down but newly trendy area of Exarchia. Don't expect sophistication, this is simple traditional Greek food chosen by the time-honoured method of pointing at it behind the counter.
Do expect however, a complete cross section of Greek society - from business men in suits to students to society kids from nearby Kolonaki - wonderful food, and a sense of the "real" Athens. A word of warning though, make sure you visit the toilet before you go as they too are of an authentic Greek nature.
Expect to pay no more than 10 euro a head for salad, main course and a beer.
Nearest metro: Panepistimio
This is a hotel of the future. Facing a tranquil green park in the Kifissia area of north Athens, the hotel is boutique style with fluid design, soft style that mingles rounded forms with bright, lively colours. It offers internet TVs complete with cordless keyboards that come as standard. For more local interaction, guests can check out the hotel's two-level restaurant and bar, where the modern Greek, European and international flavours of the menu are mirrored in the cosmopolitan blend that make up the Semiramis' clientele. It is a must for those who love design hotels! ₤155 per night.
Harilaou Trikoupi 48, 14562 Kifissia, Athens, Greece Tel +30210 6284400 Fax +30210 6284499 www.semiramisathens.com
Traditional Greek taverna fare with the added advantage of being served hot (and not lukewarm, the fate of so many Greek dishes). Has an excellent array of casseroles and not to be missed fish soup – all viewable in the kitchen. Barrelled wine and bottled retsina also good. This is the taverna that true Athenians will go to. Average price of meal for one (with wine): €16.
Byzantino taverna, Kydathinaion Street, 18, Plaka; Tel: 210 332 7368; Open: 9am-2am Mon-Sat; Nearest metro: Akropoli/ Syntagma
Karavitis is a very nice traditional taverna that is central, but located far enough from the tourist area that it remains uniquely Greek. A good sign is that it is always full of locals. The food is traditional, inexpensive and delicious. Also, if you go on a Friday or Saturday night you might be lucky enough to experience some live entertainment courtesy of an old gentleman who sings to you whilst playing his guitar.
The place is very basic, with tables covered in paper tablecloths and walls lined with wine barrels. In the summer there is a vine-covered patio which is a delight to sit on. If traditional is what you are after, it does not get much more traditional than this.
Located near the Panathenaic Stadium and across the street from the statue of Harry Truman. It is at the corner of Arktinou and Pafsania Street just off the main street of Vassileos Konstandinou in the district of Pangrati (exact address is 35 Arktinou and 4 Pausaniou);
nearest metro: Evangelismos;
tel: 2107215155; open 8pm-1:30am.
A welcome relief from tzatziki-overload, the Pak is five minutes walking distance from the centre, with great atmosphere, friendly staff and good quality Indian favourites (from 10 euros). Upstairs is a special area with low tables and cushions to sit on the floor if you're feeling particularly exotic...
13 Menandrou Street; tel: 210 321 9412/210 324 2225;
nearest metro: Monastiriki/Omonia
Plaka's a tourist trap with some rubbish restaurants but irresistably pretty on a spring evening, so what do you do?
Go to To Kafeneio - the locals’ favourite, tucked away on a sidestreet. It's got a limited but great quality mezedes menu, and a local feel. Not to be missed are the meatballs with 'special' sauce (patented, apparently) and fava dip.
1, Epicharmou Street, Plaka;
tel: 210 324 6916;
nearest metro: Acropolis or Monastiriki;
This is a big covered market. It’s quite fun to watch the locals buying their fish and chickens but for visitors I recommend it for the fruit and nuts. I stocked up on pistachio nuts for munching while I was sightseeing and came home with bags of dried figs and pine nuts at bargain prices compared to England. You can also buy slabs of halva if you have a sweet tooth.
Athinas Street, between Omonia and Monastiraki metro stations
This is a branch of Milan’s Salumaio di Montenapoleone and the right place to eat authentic Italian food in a city that boasts a plethora of Italian restaurants. Try their exquisite dishes and their fabulous desserts sitting in their wonderful patio on a warm spring evening in Athens. Sheer happiness.
Panagitsas Street, Kifissia
A nice newly renovated hotel centrally located and within walking distance of the Parthenon and the Acropolis, the Plaka, the Monastiraki, the Roman and Ancient Agoras and most of the other major sites in Athens. Close by are banks and the post office (all via 28 October). It also has a very good restaurant and for those who don't want the full service, the same kitchen provides food for their bistro, 'Food and Drink', where the choice of meals and the service by the young staff is excellent. Greek meals are a speciality. In season, the roof garden eating area is great too!
19, Patission (28th October) & 10 Veranzerou Streets 10432 Omonia; Tel: +30 210 5243156-9; www.thesaurus.gr/hotels/athens/athens_center/grand_hotel/grand_hotel.htm
Excellent food, good for both winter and summer. Order 'kondosouvli' and fava. Drink-wise, I prefer Retsina but it is an acquired taste. Don't expect a great list of wines. Generally, while in Greece, try and taste the following wines: Astrofelia (white), Ktima Katsarou (red), Amethystos (white)... will continue another time.
Kifissia on Kifissias Avenue
An offshoot of the original Milos restaurant in New York, this is the place to eat fish and gourmet Greek food in Athens. With in-house chefs using the finest ingredients (including some of the best cheeses and olive oils from around Greece) its cooked dishes and salads are amongst the best to be had in the country. Clientele ranges from international rock stars to famous local politicians, journalists and simply the rich. Dinner for two will cost at least €140.
Hilton Hotel, Vasilissis Sofias Avenue, 46; Tel: 210 728 1000; Nearest metro: Megaro Mousikis; www.athenshilton.com/
Here you’ll get Italian-inspired Mediterranean food in funky environment. Friendly service is topped by a good wine list with some of the latest Greek vintages and wines from the New World. Brachera also has one of the best rooftop views of Athens’ sites (the entire Acropolis holy rock), which perhaps explains why ship owners and industrialists are as likely to rub shoulders here as artists and penny-watching tourists. Dinner/lunch for two is likely to set you back €85 with wine.
3 Abyssinias Square; Tel: 210 321 7202; Nearest metro: Monastiraki; www.brachera.gr/
Send your feedback or queries to firstname.lastname@example.org