One of the first things I wanted to do in Athens, Greece was EAT ALL the Greek food I could!
I wanted to try some of the best places for food in Athens; but there was a slight problem…we’d never been to Athens before, so where could we find the BEST food in the country’s capital? What food should we not to miss in Athens? And what about the little things like when is dinner time and should we tip in Athens?
In today’s blog, I’m going to share how i found some of the best food in Athens, Greece! Join as we explore the city’s best food spots, uncover must-try dishes and share helpful tips from our 5-day trip. From navigating dinner times to finding hidden gems, let’s dive into the vibrant world of Greek cuisine together!
So, how did I find some of the best food in Athens? First, I asked for…
#1. Recommendations from a Local
Taking recommendations from a local resident or recent visitor is one of the easiest ways to find some of the best Greek food in Athens.
How do you find a local? Ask a hotel staff member, taxi driver, someone who’s lived in or traveled to Athens, or do what we did – join a Greek food tour!
Joining a Greek food tour will help you to quickly discover what is the best food in Athens and what is the main food in Athens, Greece to try. You can opt for a street food tour, group option to meet other travelers, or private tour (which is what we did). I’ll put a few ideas in the description box for you to check out, but if you’re going to spend time in in the city, What food should you not miss in Athens?
Here’s what to eat in Athens, Greece:
Moussaka – beef, eggplant, and potato lasagna topped with a creamy béchamel sauce.
Tzatziki (or ANYTHING involving greek yogurt!) – Greek sauce made with yogurt, cucumber, garlic, and herbs. It’s cool, refreshing, and often served as a dip or condiment, adding a tangy and flavorful element to dishes.
Dolmades – grape leaves stuffed with a mixture of rice, pine nuts, herbs, and sometimes minced meat. Dolmades are typically served as an appetizer or part of a meze platter in Greek cuisine. The dish is enjoyed both warm and cold, often accompanied by a side of tzatziki sauce.
Souvlaki – skewered and grilled pieces of meat (lamb, chicken, pork, or beef), usually served with accompaniments like pita bread, tomatoes, onions, and tzatziki. The meat marinates in a mixture of olive oil, lemon juice, garlic, oregano, and other herbs before being threaded onto skewers and grilled.
Gyro – a savory dish featuring grilled and seasoned meat (often lamb or chicken) wrapped in pita bread. With a garnish of tomatoes, onions, and tzatziki sauce, the combination creates a flavorful and satisfying handheld delight. What’s the difference between souvlaki and a gyro? The answer lies in the meat. Souvlaki is marinated and grilled on skewers while gyro meat is grilled rotisserie style then shaved.
Spanakopita – features layers of flaky phyllo pastry filled with a delicious mixture of spinach, feta cheese, onions, and herbs. Baked to perfection, it’s a savory and flavorful spinach pie.
Baklava – a sweet pastry made of layers of phyllo dough, chopped nuts (often walnuts or pistachios), and honey or syrup. Baked until golden, it’s a rich, indulgent dessert with a perfect blend of crunchy layers and sweet, nutty goodness.
Horiatiki – horiatiki, or Greek salad, is a refreshing dish featuring tomatoes, cucumbers, olives, feta cheese, and red onions. Drizzled with olive oil and sprinkled with oregano, it’s a classic Mediterranean salad bursting with flavors. Unlike in the U.S. a Greek salad in Athens does NOT have lettuce!
Olives – often used in salads, dips, and Mediterranean dishes, adding a distinctive taste to the culinary experience. Try as many olives as you can!
Ouzo – strong alcoholic beverage created in the 1800s. To this day, ouzo is only made in Greece and Cyprus. Ouzo is made with grape or grain and distilled with anise, fennel, and other herbs. When mixed with water, it turns milky white. It has a distinct licorice flavor and is a popular social drink in Greece. After poring a cup of ouzo, don’t forget to say “YAMMAS” (pronounced, “yam-us” or cheers to your drinking buddies!
This is just a sample of food to try in Athens, but if you have any other recommendations please leave a comment with your suggestions below!
How did I act on the idea of taking recommendations from a local? I started with a breakfast recommendation from our hotel staff:
Stories Urban Bistro (Hotel Breakfast)
This Urban Bistro is located on the rooftop of the Editor Hotel – a boutique hotel in the heart of Monistiraki and our home base for our trip to Athens, Greece.
A traditional Greek breakfast often includes items like eggs, tomatoes, cucumbers, fruit, greek yogurt, pastries, and bread. It reflects the Mediterranean diet, emphasizing freshness and simple, wholesome ingredients. You also can’t forget a cup of Greek coffee!
We ate a simple yet fresh breakfast consisting of: boiled eggs, sautéed mushrooms, sausage, salad, and fruit with freshly squeezed orange juice.
For our next recommendations from a local, we joined a…
Private walking Greek Food Tour
In this 4-hour private Walking Greek food tour in Athens experience, Anabelia guided us around the city, sharing bits of history, culture, and where eat in Athens along the way. We were able to taste hearty portions of popular Greek food, like…
- Two different types of Spanikopita (spinach pie)
- Greek coffee from Mokka
- Anchovies, eggplant, calamari, fried eggplant w/ tzatziki, potato salad, spicy cheese, and muscles from “Tns øeaàtpou to ōtéki” (Tis theatrou to steki) restaurant. Pronounced “Tayce (like mace) theatro toe steak-ee”.
- Loukoumades from Kpivos (pronounced, “cree-nose”). Loukamades are deep fried in cotton-seed oil and topped with fresh honey and cinnamon, which gives it a light density similar to a fluffy donut.
- “Kōsh-tah” for beef and pork gyros.
In addition to recommendations from a local, I Found Some of the Best Food In Athens Greece by…
#2. Eating a Home Cooked Meal
Unless you are personally invited to someone’s home in Athens, trying to eat a home-cooked meal is a difficult task. Thankfully, you can easily book these experiences!
Some of the best food in Athens is cooked with love, and you can do that by booking a cooking class w/ professional chef OR book an activity that includes home made food already prepared for you!
We booked two tours: Greek Small-Group Athens Cooking Class & Dinner and a Day trip to Three Greek Islands from Athens with lunch included.
Greek Small Group Athens Cooking Class & Dinner
This activity was one of the highlights of our trip! We learned how to make a traditional Greek dinner from scratch and learned about Greek family traditions surrounding food.
On the menu, we made a delicious, creamy, lemon yogurt desert, nibbled on freshly baked bread, prepared a hearty greek salad with tomatoes, capers, cucumber, and feta cheese, fresh cucumber and yogurt tzatziki dip, crispy zucchini and spearmint balls, dolmadakia (dolmades with rice wrapped in tart vine leaves), marinated lamb and potatoes in a lemon rosemary sauce, and of course, a huge cheese spinach pie!
Day trip to three Greek islands of Agistri, Moni, and Aegina
During our all-day excursion on the seas, we stopped in the middle of Moni to feast on a home-cooked Greek food BUFFET!
- Greek lemon rice
- Roasted chicken in herbs
- Hilopites – egg noodles tossed in a creamy tomato sauce topped with shredded Myzithra cheese
- Gigantes Plaki – large Greek butter beans marinated in tomato sauce
After swimming in the blue waters outside the island of Moni I DEVOURED this lunch in minutes!
Outside of a boat in the middle of the sea, If you’re planning to dine in the city,what time do people eat in Athens, Greece?
What time is dinner in Athens?
Meals are a little bit later than in the US. Breakfast is in the morning (of course) from 7am- 10am, which not terribly different. Lunch is the biggest meal of the day, around 1-3pm. Dinner starts around 8-9pm, so expect to eat and stay late into the night enjoying Greek cuisine.
Aside from a home cooked meal, here’s how I found some of the best food in Athens Greece –
#3. Internet Recommendations (blogs, trip advisor, YouTube, food magazines, IG, Yelp)
Crowdsourcing information on the internet can be a blessing or a curse. Pictures speak a thousand words and reviews are helpful, but be sure to do your research, consider the source, and read as many reviews as possible. The bright side of conducting internet research before you go to Athens? You’re able to research menu prices in advance to see if a restaurant matches your budget.
How much does a typical meal in Athens cost?
I found the meal prices in Athens to be incredibly reasonable for the portion of food you receive. A hearty main dish can cost between €3-10 with specialty entrees around €11-17.
Thankfully, my research yielded positive results!
Fanis’ Karamanlidika (MEZE RESTAURANT)
Fanis’ Karamanlidika specializes in cured meats, charcuterie, and artisan cheeses in a low-key, cozy environment. On our first night in the city, we dined on:
- Aubergines & zucchini w/ feta cheese in a spicy capadocian sauce
- “Kavourmas” beef meat w/ potatoes, dill, green and red pepper
- Meat balls karamanlidika w/ tomato sauce, smoked eggplant cream, and anevato cheese
- Mommy’s Arcadian baklava
- Carrot yogurt dessert
In Athens you might be pleasantly surprised by the generosity of the restaurant staff. On our visit, we received a free carrot yogurt dessert. Carrot yogurt, you say? Yes! Who would’ve thought a carrot yogurt would be a sweet end to a savory meal but it was!
All That Jatz
All That Jatz was nestled in a side street in Monistiraki. The restaurant may be closed now, but when we went to Athens we dined on Chicken Kalamaki and Moussaka.
How else did I find some of the best food in Athens, Greece? I looked at…
#4. Michelin Star Ratings
According to the Michelin Guide, a Michelin Star is awarded to restaurants offering outstanding cooking. A committee of anonymous Michelin inspectors rate restaurants according to five criteria: quality of ingredients, harmony of flavors, mastery of techniques, the personality of the chef as expressed through their cooking, and consistency across the entire menu and over time.
If a restaurant makes the cut – and few restaurants do – they are ranked on a scale from one to three stars. I’ve dined at Michelin-rated restaurants and had some of the best meals of my life, so why shouldn’t I try to find the best restaurant in Athens, Greece with a Michelin star? It was my belated birthday trip, after all, and time to celebrate!
There are 12 Michelin-starred restaurants in Athens with cuisine ranging from seafood, French, contemporary, modern, and mediterranean. During my belated birthday trip to Athens, all the Michelin starred restaurants boasted one or two Michelin Stars, offering 8-course menus priced from $100 to $175. I wanted to focus on modern Greek cuisine in a creative and sophisticated setting, so for my bday, we dined at CTC Urban Gastronomy.
CTC Urban Gastronomy
I don’t want to give too many details about our meal because CTC operates a “blind tasting menu”, meaning you don’t know what you’re going to eat until you get it! During the reservation process we were asked about allergies and dietary preferences so the chef could prepare something amazing. As a taste, let’s just say we are a little of everything – soup, seafood, homemade bread, pasta, meat, and a special dessert. As a tip, I HIGHLY suggest ordering their signature dish – it is worth it!
CTC curated an exceptional experience and I recommend this restaurant if you’re looking for a special night out. If I could sum up the experience in a few words I’d say professional staff, unbelievable creations, and EXCELLENT service.
Is tipping expected in Athens?
No, not really. Service is typically included in the bill and among the locals tipping isn’t a thing, but tourists can tip for exceptional service. Typically around 50 cents for small items like coffee and a few euros for meal service or around 10-15% of the total bill.
Outside of fine dining, where else can you find the best food in Athens, Greece?
Serendipity is “the occurrence and development of events by chance in a happy or beneficial way.” How do you apply serendipity to finding the best restaurants in Athens? Take a walk somewhere, anywhere in the city – if it looks good, smells good, and the price is right…try it!
Finding some of the best food in Athens via serendipity is also excellent for snacks; but if there is someone outside of the restaurant trying to convince you to come inside…don’t do it! The food is likely to be sub-par, unauthentic, overpriced, or some combination of the three.
Going with the flow and without a plan can lead you to discover some of the best food and best places to eat in Athens. By happy accident, we stumbled across the following tasty places to eat in Athens:
Museum food tends to be a bit dry, flavorless, and overpriced, but the Acropolis museum was the exact opposite. After a long day’s hike up and down the Acropolis, we dined on two items: the Greek appetizers trilogy: Fish roe, eggplant, tzatziki dip with crispy pita bread; and Feta cheese baked with “Florinis” red pepper cream and sweet cherry tomatoes in carob honey. Both were and excellent snack in between meals.
Bufala Gelato serves 100% Bufalo milk ice cream treat that tastes sweeter and creamier than regular ice cream. To order, you pick your base (waffle cone, cup, crackers, etc.), pick your gelato, then enjoy! We recommend the strawberry sorbet.
This Athenian patisserie was founded almost three decades ago. A little more upscale and located right beside Bufala gelato, serves pastries and 100 types of gelato with fresh milk and pure ingredients. We snacked on a piece of flaky pistachio baklava and a strawberry cookies & cream gelato.
This trendy restaurant in specializes in grilled meats and quality, affordable greek food. We stumbled upon Tylixto on our last night in Athens. Just like I mentioned earlier in this post, we walked by, smelled the air, saw the food, and decided to order.
We ate a Main dish of “Gyros Mix of Chicken and Pork” – hand cut fries, grilled pita bread & sauce along with a Chicken Gyro – tomato, lettuce, sauce, fries.
These are just a few ideas of how I found some of the best food in Athens Greece. 💡 There are so many restaurants and experiences in Athens that I can’t list them all, so please leave your suggestions in the comments below to help travelers discover some of the best items and places to eat in Athens!
Antoinette | Frolic & Courage