What to Eat in Athens
Nothing says “you’re not in Kansas anymore, Toto” like trying new cuisines. I love how different the food is every place you visit, everything from the flavors to the garnishes to the side dishes. I love how earnestly people present you with their dishes, watching to see how you enjoy the food they’ve offered.
What to Eat
Today I want to share some of the foods I enjoyed in Athens. I tried lots of traditional foods: souvlaki, gyros, and moussaka, as well as some things I’d never heard of before.
But one thing really surprised me. I mean, I hate to be cliche, but I thought I’d be floating on rivers of tzatziki while riding on rafts of pita bread. But it was probably a solid week before I ended up eating someplace that served these two items. (Yes they were as delicious as you would expect.)
Feta, on the other hand, was everywhere. You know how we would just crumble a little bit of feta cheese on top of a salad or other dish? Here, you got the whole dang block. A giant block the size of one you’d get at the grocery store in the US would be sitting on top of your salad and drizzled with a little bit of olive oil and some fresh herbs.
I digress – here are some of the utterly decadent and wonderful things I did have.
I had sofrito which is a delicious stew of meat cooked in vinegar and herbs, pasticcio which is almost like a macaroni casserole with a thick layer of creamy bechamel baked on top of it, soutzoukakia – grilled meatballs in red sauce, and all manner of grilled meat.
Perhaps the culinary highlight was whipped feta cheese topped with olive oil and fresh herbs and served on a bed of just-picked, juicy tomatoes.
Whatever you do, be adventurous – step outside your comfort zone. My favorite strategy for trying new things is to ask the server what their favorite item on the menu is, and then try that.
Here are some photos of the tasty foods I enjoyed in Athens.
Restaurants and Recommendations
Here are some of my favorite restaurants in Athens.
Olympion – Anapafseos 9
This place is super-busy all the time. It took a while to get a table but once I did the waiter was very attentive. The food is very traditional “home-cooking.” The waiter recommended I try sofrito, a dish from the island of Corfu, and was so sure I’d like it he offered to pay for it himself if I didn’t. It was so good I came back and got it a second time.
Elvis Souvlaki – Archimedes 1-5
This is a walk-in place and it serves by far the best souvlaki I had on my trip.
Baba Ghanoush – Empedokleous 25
A vegetarian restaurant with incredible falafel
Chickens Gr (Κοτόπουλα.gr Νέος Κόσμος) – Pitheou 50
I ordered takeout from them through Wolt, Athens’ answer to DoorDash. I got the mixed meat platter and some sides which fed me for 2 days for less than $20 US