F&W’s roundup of the best restaurants in Athens, including a café and meze spot in the heart of the happening Psiri neighborhood. For more great restaurants, check out our guide to the world’s best places to eat.
Star chef Vasilis Kallidis oversees this tiny restaurant in the wealthy suburb of Maroussi. The most distinctive flourishes on his menu are usually the simplest, such as the shaved mizithra (a Greek sheep’s-milk cheese similar in texture to ricotta salata) on a fresh purslane salad. The 1950s and ’60s memorabilia that decorates Aneton’s orange walls pays tribute to the golden era of Greek high society.
We loved: Moussaka served in a 1960s coffee cup; beef cheek stifado (stew).
Alexandros Kardasis, a protégé of molecular gastronomist Christoforos Peskias (of Dakos), has been attracting an ever-larger following since moving Athiri from a boondocks working-class neighborhood to trendy Plateon Street. In the kitchen of the century-old cottage that houses the restaurant, Kardasis creates innovative dishes like an excellent lamb stew accompanied by a delicious house-made lemon tagliatelle that’s so soft it's practically gel-like.
We loved: Orzo risotto; lentils with pumpkin and tomato.
Standout chef Yiannis Baxevannis is one of Greece’s most peripatetic cooks: He’s opened a place in Dubai and has consulted on menus in New York City. At his own Bistro Baxevannis on Nikis Street, he offers simply satisfying dinners for just 21 euros: skewered, marinated meats with sauces prepared tableside and house-made pita.
We loved: Chicken gyro; fried potatoes.
This longstanding restaurant just changed hands from original owner Timos Petrides to three co-chefs, Niki Tressou, Evdokia Filakouri and Manos Xandaakis. They send well-executed Modern Greek dishes, like a fava bean salad with caramelized onions, into spacious 200-year old dining rooms.
We loved: Mushroom fricassee; pasta with pureed chard and mizithra cheese.
- Athenians generally don’t eat lunch, yet they do come to this light-filled restaurant in the Hilton Athens—a testament to the talents of chef-owner Costas Spiliades. Spiliades, who also runs Milos New York City and Milos Montreal, makes sure the salads and fish are as fresh as they can possibly be.
- We loved: Charred octopus; lentil salad with smoked salmon.
- Insider tip: The three-course prix-fixe lunch is only 29 euros.
At this café and meze spot across the street from the Monastiraki flea market, near the heart of the happening Psiri neighborhood, Athenians overlook the sometimes rough-and-tumble service for the fine taverna dishes; the decent, affordable wine list; and a consistently fun, bustling vibe.
We loved: Fried cod and skordalia (a Greek garlic dip).
At this restaurant in the atrium of the Lemos Shopping Center, chef-owner Stella Perdika has been serving some of the city’s best classic Greek food for more than a decade, including bean dishes, stews and house-made bread sticks. True to its name, Ouzadiko also has one of the city’s largest selections of ouzo.
We loved: Roasted eggplant salad; black-eyed-pea-and-greens casserole.
In the four years since Argyro Barbarigou relocated her restaurant from the island of Paros to Athens’s residential Lycabettus neighborhood, she has become a media darling, with her own television show and a successful cookbook series. Impressively, Barbarigou can still be found in the Papadakis kitchen almost every night preparing outstanding seafood dishes. Another huge draw: The grass-green dining room offers a superb view of the Acropolis.
We loved: Octopus cooked in sweet wine with shredded potatoes; chickpea soup.
Konstantina Faklari holds court at Urban, a cavernous space near the Keramiko metro stop. She reinterprets Greek classics with techniques she perfected in various kitchens around the world, including a stint at Joël Robuchon’s Atelier in Paris.
We loved: Leek tart with feta ice cream; deconstructed shrimp saganaki.
Young rising-star chef of the moment Asterios Koustoudis oversees this stately restaurant, once the only Michelin-starred spot in the city. Vardis is still the place to go for refined haute Greek cuisine prepared with impeccable techniques.
We loved: Sea bass with leeks and celery avgolemono (a classic sauce of chicken broth, egg yolks and lemon juice); baked quince with cinnamon syrup.