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...

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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!

  • Monastiraki Flea Market

    Greece Travel Secrets visits the Monastiraki Flea Market, followed by Sunday lunch at Sigalas on Monastiraki Square

  • Monastiraki and Around

    Around Monastiraki is the flea market, Athens cathedral, Kerameikos Cemetery, the Benaki Museum of Islamic Art and the Psirri and Gazi nightlife districts.

  • Marathon

    The ancient site of Marathon and the site of the Battle of Marathon are in Attica and naturally about 26 miles or 42 kilometres from the centre of Athens.

  • A History of Athens

    A History of Athens from the first people to live on the Acropolis through the Golden Age of Pericles and Alexander the Great to the military junta.

  • Greek Architecture

    This beginner's guide to Greek architecture explains how to tell your Ionic from your Doric columns, and what to look for in temples and Byzantine churches.

  • Entertainment in Athens

    There's all kinds of entertainment in Athens whether you're interested in theatre, dance, classical music, jazz, Greek music, rock music, disco, opera or movies.

  • Easter in Athens

    Easter in Athens is, like everywhere in Greece, the biggest religious celebration of the year and this page tells you what to expect over the Easter weekend.

  • 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 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.

Latest Posts

  1. Greece Looking to Open to Travelers from the United States

    The United States is one of the markets that Greece is eyeing to form a travel arrangement that will open up tourism between the two countries this year.

    Read More

  2. Restaurants in Greece Expected to Re-open for Outdoor Service After Easter

    Restaurants and other food and beverage (F&B) establishments in Greece will most likely be allowed to re-open and serve customers initially outdoors after the Easter holiday, Greek Deputy Development…

    Read More

  3. Norwegian Cruise Line to Sail the Greek Islands in July

    Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings Ltd. is planning to restart operations this summer with sailings to the Caribbean and the Greek islands.

    Read More

  4. Greeks and Tourists will Abide by Same Covid-19 Rules, Says Tourism Minister

    Tourism Minister Harry Theoharis on Monday clarified that any safety and health rules that apply to Greek citizens – such as mandatory mask wearing and social distancing – will also apply to tourists…

    Read More

  5. Celestyal Getting Ready to Offer Safe Cruise Experiences from May

    Celestyal Cruises is speeding up procedures for the restart of sailings on May 29, aiming to provide its guests with carefree holidays to the Greek islands and the Eastern Mediterranean.

    Read More

  6. Greece will Open for Tourism with ‘Five Lines of Defence’ Against Covid-19

    Greek Tourism Minister Harry Theoharis said Greece has set up five lines of defence against the coronavirus (Covid-19) in order to open for tourism safely this year.

    Read More

  7. Greece Unsure About Easing Lockdown Measures for Easter

    Greek Deputy Minister to the Prime Minister Akis Skertsos on Monday told SKAI radio that it is “too soon” to discuss if lockdown restrictions would be eased in Greece in time for the Easter holiday. T…

    Read More

  8. Piraeus Port Authority to Create New Park, Bike Lane

    The Piraeus Port Authority (PPA) has announced plans to undertake the construction of a new playground and a bicycle lane at the port of Piraeus.

    Read More

  9. Culture Ministry: Summer Operating Hours for Archaeological Sites, Museums

    The Ministry of Culture has announced the summer operating hours of archaeological sites and museums across Greece. According to a ministry announcement, the opening hours of archaeological sites, mon…

    Read More

  10. The Guardian Selects 10 Crowd-free Greek Islands and Coastlines

    The Guardian recently announced its selection of 10 crowd-free Greek islands and coastlines that can offer travelers “a taste of true Greek culture”. According to the British newspaper, with the end o…

    Read More