News / City Life

Souvlaki, spanakopita and sculpture: it’s the best of Greek London

Greek food and culture in London – Dimitris Ballas
Andy Parsons

You can’t stroll down King’s Road, Marylebone High Street or Portobello Market without bumping into a Greek. Not only is London one of the most popular holiday destinations for Greeks, it’s also been a top city to relocate to since the late seventeenth century, when a small group of us fled the motherland to escape Ottoman rule and built a Greek Orthodox church and community in what became known as Greek Street in Soho.

Nowadays, from entrepreneurs in Shoreditch to shipping playboys in Kensington, Greeks are literally everywhere (you’ll even find one of us living in Buckingham Palace). And since 2008, a new Greek invasion motivated by the financial crisis has brought a much-needed upgrade to the culinary scene here, which for many years relied on subpar tavernas. Epicurean Londoners can now taste modern takes on traditional recipes and enjoy Greek hospitality all over the city. ‘Opa!’ indeed. Dimitris Ballas

Did you know? Greek mythology is on display all around London, but get it right. The winged statue in Piccadilly Circus is not Eros (god of desire), but his twin brother Anteros, god of requited love.

Dimitris’s favourite Greek spots in London

A post shared by Yum Us (@yum_us) on

For a killer spanakopita (traditional spinach pie), visit Archway Market and Jonida’s unassuming Yum Us stall. It comes with Greek salad, of course.

Grab an outside table at The Life Goddess in Bloomsbury and listen to expats moan about Grexit, TfL and the British weather.

For a quintessential Greek brunch, head to The Greek Larder and order sfougato of Lesvos, its take on baked eggs.

Critically acclaimed Athenian collective Imam Baildi showcase their distinctive folk/electronic sound at O2 Academy Islington on October 11.

Check out the Parthenon Sculptures (aka ‘Elgin Marbles’) at the British Museum and join the relocation debate. Spoiler: it’s complicated.

The best of Greek London, according to you

‘The Hellenic Gourmet shop in Wood Green; for culture: the Hellenic Centre near Baker Street and Theatro Technis in Camden.’ Mike M via timeout.com

Holy Pitta on Upper Street serves a decent souvlaki wrap well priced, as does Souvlaki Land in Homerton. Also Carpo on Piccadilly for nuts and Greek treats, and Isle of Olive deli off Broadway Market.’ Zoe C via Facebook

Lemonia in Primrose Hill, The Athenian in Shoreditch and the Souvlaki Street market stall.’ Chrysoula C via Facebook

Now check out our pick of London’s best Greek restaurants.

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