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Fish and potatoes at Cookoovaya, a restaurant in Athens
Photograph: nikosmamalos

The 12 best restaurants in Athens

From local seafood to vegetarian fare, foodies are spoilt for choice in the Greek capital

Demetrios Ioannou
Written by
Marissa Tejada
Demetrios Ioannou

Sure, you’re heading to Greece for unrivalled views, sultry sunsets and breathtaking beaches, but we know you’ve really got your eyes set on the food. Greek food is loved worldwide, and you can find it in pretty much any major city, but it just hits different in its home country, enjoyed with a cold carafe of wine, looking out over a harbour. 

And the food in Greece’s capital, Athens, is as top tier as it gets. Indulge in meat platters (meant for sharing, but we don’t judge), Michelin-starred seafood and lots and lots of salty cheese. Breakfast, lunch and dinner, you’re guaranteed to eat good here. From tiny taverns and open kitchens to fancy terraces and city views, here are the best restaurants in Athens right now. 

🏛️ The best things to do in Athens
🐚 Where to stay in Athens
🧿 The best things to do in Mykonos
🌅 The best things to do in Santorini
🏠 The best hotels in Athens

This guide was recently updated by Demetrios Ioannou, a writer based in Athens. At Time Out, all of our travel guides are written by local writers who know their cities inside out. For more about how we curate, see our editorial guidelines.

Best Athens restaurants

Why go? For a fine dining experience with an element of surprise.

In the backyard of a neoclassical building in the center of Athens surrounded by apartment buildings from the 50s, chef Alexandros Tsiotinis has created a space where Greek cuisine meets French techniques and international inspiration that earned him a Michelin star. Do not miss the CTC Voyage, a blind tasting menu of 11 courses, and try it with the wine pairing recommended for the full experience. The dishes are a mystery until the moment presented to you, but you can hope for corn soup flavoured with lobster, and possibly an avocado dessert. Oh, and the service here is impeccable: the waiters could be choreographed.

Why go? To tell all your friends about this hidden gem in Athens. 

We’re letting you in on a little secret with To Kati Allo. It has no website and no Instagram, and it’s tucked away down a little side street in Athens, round the corner from the Acropolis Museum. To Kati Allo is run by a local family over two generations, serving up simple, good, home-cooked Greek food that will likely be the best meal you have there. You can watch the chefs at work from its open kitchen, and the tiny tavern feels really understated. There’s no menu, so we can’t tell you what to order, but just trust us whatever they serve up will amaze you. 

Ta Karamanlidika Tou Fani
Photograph: Ta Karamanlidika Tou Fani

3. Ta Karamanlidika Tou Fani

Why go? For the traditional Greek deli experience.

This Byzantine pastomageireio, a tavern and deli in one spot, is set in a neoclassical house. Expect an array of Greek cheeses and cold cuts. The restaurant serves traditional regional dishes, like fried aubergine and zucchini in a Cappadocian sauce or saganaki cheese, served with a slice of dried meat called pastourma, beef sausage and eggs. 

Why go? Intricate, innovative cooking and sharing plates.

Cookoovaya in Greek means owl, and like the wise bird, Periklis Koskinas brings his own wisdom into his dishes. Here you’ll try Greek cuisine at its best, pushing the boundaries of fine dining with shareable dishes, like the grilled octopus with fava or the tarama with grilled phyllo. Here you'll find Greek pies with a modern twist, (like the one with Greek beef filet, black pork bacon, mushrooms and fresh truffle), and for the full tasting experience, the restaurant created three different menus as an introduction to their cooking philosophy. And there's a vegan one.


5. Klimataria

Why go? For traditional Greek food, music and dance.

This family-run taverna has been going strong since 1927, offering evenings packed with Mediterranean food, music and dance – a combination Greeks love. The tis oras – a grilled meat platter – is a must. It includes biftekia, grilled meat patties seasoned with spices, as well as lamb and pork chops. Plus, considering Klimataria translates as ‘grape vines’, it’s no surprise the wine served here is always excellent. 

6. Hytra

Why go? To try some of Greece’s most distinctive flavours.

Greek cuisine is always elegantly presented at this Michelin-starred restaurant on the sixth floor of the Onassis Cultural Centre. Here, dishes are created with wild herbs, fresh vegetables, meat and seafood sourced from nearby. A multi-course menu encourages anyone new to Greek cuisine to indulge in its most distinctive flavours through dishes like tomato trout with pickled strawberries and savoro oysters. There’s also an array of imaginative desserts.

Photograph: Orizontes

7. Orizontes

Why go? For fine dining on Athens’s most scenic terrace.

Perched on Lycabettus Hill, one of the highest peaks in Athens, the views from Orizontes are god-level. Sit outdoors come sunset – with the Acropolis, the Aegean Sea and the entire city sprawled below – and you’re guaranteed to feel like you’re dining on Olympus. The restaurant is equally acclaimed for its food: Mediterranean dishes that incorporate seasonal ingredients and local produce. Go for the rack of lamb breaded in pistachios from Aegina island with lamb joux sauce, poached pears and patatas bravas if it's on the menu. It will simply blow your mind.

Why go? For a Japanese experience in the center of Athens.

Inspired by Japanese bento railway culture, Ekiben Kitchen, the brainchild of chef Ari Vezené, is the latest addition to Athens' multicultural food scene. Watch your food being prepared in its open kitchen, and let its aromas take you on a journey to the Far East. For a quick lunch, order the edamame and a sando sandwich (I recommend the kuruma shrimp). But if you have time, then relax and settle into a bowl of pork katsu don or some ondori ramen. The best part? Ekiben shares the space with Ikigai Japanese Market, so you can grab all the ingredients you tasted at dinner to try your hand at making it at home.

Photograph: Lukumades/Instagram

10. Lukumades

Why go? To chow down on a doughnut with a difference. 

Most European cultures have their version of doughnuts, but Greek loukoumades are arguably one of the tastiest. They’re perfectly fluffy fried dough balls topped with Greek honey and cinnamon. At Lukumades dessert café, lines of locals come to indulge in much more sinful versions. Creative toppings and syrups are drizzled on, and they’re sometimes accompanied by scoops of creamy ice cream made with mastiha (a resin from the mastic tree).

Photograph: Varoulko

11. Varoulko

Why go? For a Michelin-starred experience by the sea.

Varoulko is one of the most elegant sea-view spots in the city. The Michelin-starred chef Lefteris Lazarou specialises in taking traditional Greek dishes and adding a creative and flavourful seafood touch. For example, his take on the usually minced meat-laden moussaka is made with crayfish, while his pesto pasta is squid-infused. Make sure to try the smoked octopus prepared with wild greens called stamnagathi. Visitors can take in the picture-perfect view of Mikrolimano harbour, the sailboats, yachts and tiny fishing boats floating in the distance. 

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