Athens Eater's Guide

From Culinary Backstreets

We recently wrote about the excellent Athens food tours run by Culinary Backstreets, and there's no-one better qualified to publish Athens, An Eater's Guide to the City. 

This Eater's Guide is only a slim volume of 112 pages but if you're like us and love both Athens and food then it's worth its weight in gold. It follows the same pattern as the walks do, taking you to lesser-known neighbourhoods to find the most exciting and authentic Athens eating experiences. It doesn't matter whether it's a simple kebab place or an innovative restaurant, the only concern is the quality of the food.

Athens, An Eater's Guide

The book, which has five different authors, is filled with the kinds of recommendations that you won't find in regular guidebooks, which rarely venture outside the city centre. Between them the authors have come up with over 70 places to enjoy the best food Athens has to offer, ranging from a dairy serving the best Greek yoghourt, or a bakery, through to terrific seafood places and wine bars.

The Last of Its Kind

The authors have also tracked down the last bakalotaverna in Athens: To Eidikon. These were once widespread, being shops that also served food, but now people seem to prefer to keep the two activities separate. Either that or no-one wants the hard work that goes with running two different types of establishment in one. Apostolos Papakonstantinou doesn't mind, though, and you'll find this unique spot at the junction of Psaron and Salaminos streets in Piraeus. The best time to go is Saturday night when there's also live music.

To Eidikon
Photo (c) Johanna Dimopolous/Culinary Backstreets

Mouthwatering Dishes

Some of the dishes described in Athens, An Eater's Guide to the City, are so mouthwatering to read about that they made us want to jump straight on a plane to Athens and spend a few weeks tracking down every last one of them.

Let's start with Seychelles, which the book describes as the 'best mezedopoleio in Athens'. You'll find it at Keramikou 49 in the Metaxourgeio neighbourhood. How about starting with a chickpea salad with fresh mint and feta, before going on to enjoy octopus cooked in red wine and served on creamed peas?

Or how about Argoura, a seafood place where you'll be welcomed with a complimentary fish soup? You could follow it with a green salad with sea urchin dressing, and then maybe prawns with fava beans. Or would we have the mussels with seaweed? 

The Best Kebab in Athens, at Tomas Kebab
Photo (c) Manteau Stam/Culinary Backstreets

Finding Good Food in the Plaka

We have one very definite rule when we're looking for somewhere to eat, wherever we are in the world. We never eat anywhere that employs someone to stand outside and try to persuade you to dine there. They are invariably tourist traps. This inevitably rules out about 90% of restaurants in the Plaka district of Athens, the most touristy part of the city. But Culinary Backstreets has found a place in the Plaka which they do recommend: Paradosiako.

Paradosiako does traditional Greek dishes, but does them superbly well, say the authors. Their baked feta is done in a ceramic dish with olive oil, tomato and parsley, while their moussaka is so authentic it sounds like a benchmark to judge all other moussakas by.

Maxim is one of the city's best places for pastries
Photo (c) Manteau Stam/Culinary Backstreets

Specials

Most of this excellent book is given over to individual entries - with great photos - for the various eating places and shops that are recommended. Each one gets a double-page spread. The write-ups are only short but they are well done, capturing the atmosphere, the character of the owners and the flavours of the food. That's no easy thing to do.

But at the back of the book is a section called Specials. Here you'll find round-ups on different topics. Over four pages you'll read about the new wave of Greek wine, including retsina, with four of the best bars to drink in. That's followed by another four pages, and another four recommendations, this time for the best grilled lamb in the city. 

Other Specials include the best coffee places, the best places for feta, the best shops for buying wild herbs, the best souvlaki joints and a spread on which of the city's museums also have good places to eat in them..

A toast to Cretan food at the Kriti restaurant
Photo (c) Manteau Stam/Culinary Backstreets

Athens Maps

The entries are grouped by district, and at the back of the book are four maps for the four districts, with each place mentioned being marked on them. They're not the most detailed of maps, though, and you'll still need a proper Athens street map or satnav on the phone to find the places.

Better maps are one of the few ways in which the book could be improved. The lack of prices is deliberate, as they can date quickly, and we've no argument with that. Addresses, phone numbers and opening hours are all provided, but we'd like to have seen websites too for the places that have them - though most probably don't.

To repeat - if you like Athens and you like food, this little book is worth its weight in gold, and will be in our hand luggage next time we go to Athens.

You can buy Athens, an Eater's Guide to the City direct from the Culinary Backstreets website:

http://culinarybackstreets.com/product/culinary-backstreets-athens-an-eaters-guide-to-the-city/

 Note that there are some copies of an older edition for sale on Amazon but be sure to get the updated and expanded edition reviewed here.

Where to Stay in Athens

Don't miss this visual tour of Athens with photos by Donna Dailey of Greece Travel Secrets.

You might like these other Athens posts...

  • National Archaeological Museum

    The National Archaeological Museum is one of the best things to see in Athens, and the best museum in the world for seeing Greece's archaeological treasures.

  • A Drive around Attica

    This drive around Attica offers visitors high hills, beach resorts, small villages and classical sites like Marathon and the Temple of Poseidon at Cape Sounion.

  • Cape Sounion and the East Coast

    The beach resorts of Athens are easily reached from the city and also close are Cape Sounion with the Temple of Poseidon, ancient Marathon and Rafina's port.

  • The Best Things to Do in Athens

    The best things to do in Athens, Greece, include top archaeological sites like the Acropolis and must-see attractions such as the National Archaeological Museum

  • Best Cocktail Bars in Athens

    Two of the best cocktail bars in Athens, MoMix Kerameikos and The Clumsies, are making creative cocktails using that most Greek of Greek spirits, Metaxa.

  • Athens: Travel Information and Advice about Athens, Greece

    Athens is a top vacation destination. The Greece Travel Secrets Athensguide has information on hotels, museums, Athens airport and all the best things to do.

  • Athens Weather and the Best Time to Visit

    The Greece Travel Secrets website looks at the Athens weather, the chance of rain, the climate in summer and winter and the best time to visit Athens.

  • Athens Walking Tours and Other Experiences

    Athens walking tours and other experiences like cookery lessons, ceramics workshops, dining with a family, and street art are available from Alternative Athens

  • Athens to Santorini

    There are lots of flights from Athens to Santorini as well as a ferry service from Piraeus, with flights to Santorini leaving from Athens International Airport.

  • Athens International Airport

    Athens International Airport is east of Athens city centre with its own Metro train station, buses to Athens and Piraeus, taxis and car rental offices.

  • Athens in the Rain

    Athens in the rain isn’t something you’re likely to experience but here are suggestions for things to do in the rain in Athens including museums and shopping

  • Athens Food Tours

    Athens Food Tours are being introduced by new company The Greek Fork, and will include tours of the Central Market, and the best street food.

  • Athens Events and Public Holidays

    If visiting Athens it helps to know when major events and public holidays take place, as some shops and attractions may be closed, but to be there at times like Easter can make for a magical trip.

  • Athens Dining Guide

    This Athens dining guide doesn't list restaurants but gives practical advice on types of eating places, tipping, hotel breakfasts and picnics.

  • Athens Culinary Tours

    Athens culinary tours are among the food walking tours offered by an unusual company, Culinary Backstreets.

  • Athens Car Rental

    Athens car rental options include almost all of the major international car hire firms such as Avis, Budget, Hertz, and Europcar.

  • Athens Airport Hotels

    Athens Airport hotels include the luxury Sofitel at the terminals, Holiday Inn near the airport, and others close by like the Hotel Pantheon.

  • Athens Airport Car Rental

    Athens Airport car rentals include Alamo/National Car Rental, Avis, Budget, Europcar, Hertz and Sixt, all with offices at the airport.

  • Athens Acropolis

    The Athens Acropolis has the city's most iconic building, the Parthenon, along with other historic buildings and is where the Elgin Marbles were taken from.

  • Artistic Athens

    This extract of Artistic Athens in the Lonely Planet book Culture Trails takes visitors on a journey through the artistic side of Athens..

  • Pictures of Athens

    Pictures of Athens from the Greece Travel Secrets website

  • Where to Eat in Athens and Piraeus

    If you're wondering where to eat in Athens and Piraeus we have a few suggestions including some favorites around the Acropolis, Omonia Square, and Syntagma.

  • Ten Fun Things to Do in Athens

    Ten Fun Things to Do in Athens include eating in the Central Market, watching the sun set over the Acropolis and seeing one of the world's oldest theatres.

  • Piraeus

    Piraeus is the port of Athens from where many ferries to the Greek islands depart, and it also has an Archaeological Museum and the Hellenic Maritime Museum.

  • My Athens: a Portrait by Travel Writer Mike Gerrard

    In My Athens on Greece Travel Secrets travel writer Mike Gerrard describes what he loves about Athens including the Acropolis and eating!

Enjoy this page? Please pay it forward. Here's how...

Would you prefer to share this page with others by linking to it?

  1. Click on the HTML link code below.
  2. Copy and paste it, adding a note of your own, into your blog, a Web page, forums, a blog comment, your Facebook account, or anywhere that someone would find this page valuable.

Latest Posts

  1. Kos on its Way to Become a Greek Biking Destination

    The comparative advantages of Kos as an emerging biking destination were presented by Deputy Transport Minister Michalis Papadopoulos during an event held recently on the island by local authorities…

    Read More

  2. Covid-19: Greece Still in CDC’s ‘Very High’ Travel Risk Category

    The US Centers for Disease Control (CDC) is warning Americans to avoid travel to some 75 countries, including Greece, after adding on Monday, Germany and Denmark to its “Level Four: Very High” Covid-1…

    Read More

  3. Greek Mountain Destinations Aching for Bookings

    The second winter season in the pandemic finds hotels in Greece’s striking mountain villages in a fragile state.

    Read More

  4. What to Eat at Syntagma – Petraki Street

    Petraki Street, near Syntagma Square, has everything a foodie wants, whether you’re looking for a good wine bar, cocktail bar, bakery, pastry shop, or restaurant worth visiting again and again.

    Read More

  5. Bringing Ancient Olympia Back to Life

    A new digital revival project, "Ancient Olympia: Common Grounds," harnesses artificial intelligence to bring the ancient sanctuary back to life like never before.

    Read More

  6. Athens Tops Europe’s Meeting Destinations Ranking, Says AmEx Report

    Athens, Greece’s capital city, ranks first in the top 5 meeting destinations in Europe in the 2022 Global Meetings and Events Forecast, the 11th annual report produced by American Express Meetings & E…

    Read More

  7. Covid-19: Greece Bans the Unvaccinated from More Indoor Places

    Adults in Greece not vaccinated against the coronavirus (Covid-19) will be banned from entering more indoor spaces, including cinemas, theaters, museums and gyms as of Monday, November 22, according t…

    Read More

  8. South Aegean Islands Introduced to Luxury Wedding Planners

    The South Aegean islands were introduced to some of the world’s leading wedding planners during the 7th Destination Wedding Planners (DWP) Congress 2021, that took place on Rhodes earlier in November…

    Read More

  9. Greece Promotes Western Macedonia as Top Wine Tourism Destination

    Western Macedonia, its wineries and wines are spearheading a far-reaching tourism ministry campaign to establish Greece as a leading wine tourism destination, said Deputy Tourism Minister Sofia Zachar…

    Read More

  10. A foodie guide to Thessaloniki

    Welcome to our foodie guide to Thessaloniki, where you’ll get to know all about what and where to eat in one of the best culinary getaways in Greece.

    Read More