The Greek Good Life: Seven Tavernas in Athens to Visit

Hungry? Tag along with us as we dance through the higgledy-piggledy streets of Athens and take you to its finest tavernas. Sun-drenched courtyards, olives galore… Here we come.

You don't have to be a foodie to appreciate just how sensational Greek grub tastes. From scrumptious souvlaki and mouth-watering moussaka to feta-stuffed salads, the Greeks are expert at rustling up a top-notch feast. While we won't miss a chance to hop between the capital's hippest restaurant hangouts and boho beach joints, nothing quite hits the spot like a trip to a good old-fashioned taverna. You know the sort of place that draws crowds for its quirky traditions, no-frills attitude and menus packed with secret family recipes? Well, we've found them. Tag along as we take to the higgledy-piggledy streets of Athens to find the spots worth visiting this summer.

Divine dining: seven delicious tavernas to try in Athens

Psaras Taverna

restaurant

Psaras Taverna

Best for: date night

The picture-perfect Psaras Taverna is living proof that romance isn't dead - even if it is just a taverna, it's certainly stolen our heart. Originally opening its doors in 1898, there are two reasons why we're feasting at this local favourite. Firstly, the menu is a mix of Greek meets Italian - think: Lobster spaghetti and olive-oil dressed salads. Secondly, it has one of the most dazzling al fresco set-ups Athens has to offer - one with tables set on the steps alongside the neoclassical building which, on warm evenings, are covered in candles. Gaze upon the blood-orange sunset while helping yourself to a fresh glass from an enormous carafe.

Address

Erotokritou & Erechtheus 16, Athens 10556

Margaro Restaurant

restaurant

Margaro Restaurant

Best for: fresh seafood

The saying goes: "If it ain't broke, don't fix it" and that's exemplified at Margaro located in Piraeus - a gritty port with a blossoming creative community. Owner Margaro first left her hometown of Mykonos to open this tiny taverna back in 1944. Today it remains in the same spot and is now run by the late Margaro's son Lazaro and her four grandchildren - who have learned their skills from the best. The daily menu remains pretty much identical to when its first story started, edited to five fish dishes, including shrimp, crayfish red mullets, koutsomoura and lithrini - all plucked straight from the sea before being pan-fried. Snag a side of the classic Greek salad and you'll be hooked.

Address

Leof. Chatzikiriakos 126, Athens 18538

Diogenes Restaurant
Image credit: Alexis Stefanides

restaurant

Diogenes

Best for: long lazy lunches

Named after the Greek philosopher, Diogenes is housed slap-bang in the centre of Athens' oldest (and, some might dare say, best-loved) neighbourhood of Plaka. Just a short stroll from the Lysicrates monument, this leafy courtyard makes for an ideal, long lazy lunch hour. Tuck into lemon-drizzled lamb shanks, stuffed cabbage rolls and orzo drenched in spicy tomato sauce. If the weather is too sickly hot, slip inside to the cosy abode, where pampas grass countertops, wishbone chairs and cupboards stashed with all sorts of herbs and spices await.

Address

Lysikratous Square, Athens 10558

Cafe Avissina

restaurant

Cafe Avissinia

Best for: outrageous interiors

The idea that a destination is best discovered through its food sits at the core of Cafe Avissinia. Next door to the magnificent Monastiraki flea market. and with Acropolis views, this outrageously shabby-chic former tea house makes for the perfect pit stop for family recipes and live accordion music. Round up the troops and head straight to wooden banquette seating for a full session of ouzo tasting and plate sharing. We'll be making an annual pilgrimage here, partly for its soutzoukakia meatballs and barbequed chicken skewers, but also for the cosy interiors: Floral wallpapers, bunting-draped ceilings and floor-to-ceiling vintage mirrors. Don't even think about leaving without trying the strained yoghurt.

Address

Kinetou 7, Athens 10555

Theraputerio

restaurant

Therapeutērio

Best for: streetside dining

Curbside dining is a trend we'll happily hop on, especially if it looks like an evening in the city's old industrial district of Pertalone. Step forward, Therapeutērio. This traditional restaurant is easing the appetites of the city's cool and creative population, thanks to its great-value prices and go-slow vibe. The menu (chalked up on a blackboard) offers fried prawns, beetroot-stuffed salad and a creamy tzatziki on tap. Come sunset, tables spill out onto the sun-scorched streets - you'll need to get down there early to snag one.

Address

Kidantidon 41, Athens 11851

Ama Lachei

restaurant

Ama Lachei

Best for: art lovers

If you've holidayed in Athens without visiting Ama Lachei, book a one-way ticket - pronto. Situated in the art-filled district of Exarchia, the restaurant is in a former school hidden down the handsome street of Kallidromiou. Many of its original features, including high-vaulted ceilings and 80s classrooms, make for an authentic dining experience. You'll want to visit on a midweek evening, though, for the ultimate, balmy taverna experience. Wade through the jasmine vines, take a seat alongside the citrus trees, and the next pleasure is in the hands of the five-course extravaganza.

Address

Kallidromiou 69, Athens 10683

Taverna Kilmataria

restaurant

Taverna Klimataria

Best for: singing and dancing

An ivy-clad pergola, chequered tablecloths, sunshine-yellow painted walls, and a stage backed with wine barrels tick the traditional theme boxes at this all-singing-all-dancing joint. Dishing up traditional Mediterranean cuisine since the 80s, Taverna Klimataria is where to enjoy homemade pies, oven-fresh bread and a healthy side of live music. Bring your gang and prepare to party from dusk till dawn with a mixed-age crowd of laid-back Athenians.

Address

Theatre Square 2, Athens 10552

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