The beautiful and historic capital city of Athens is bathed in ancient Greek history and boasts some of the most famous monuments in Europe. The Parthenon, The Temple of Hephaestus and the Acropolis Museum are just some of the magnificent relics left from one of the greatest, and oldest, civilisations the world has ever known. When you think of Greece, however, you cannot ignore its mouth watering cuisine which is now eaten across the globe and you will be hard pushed to find a European town without a so-called authentic Greek restaurant. There is nothing quite like eating a dish where it originated from however, and here are the very best eateries in Athens and a sample of what they have to offer.
5 star excellence awaits those who dine in the Baku which is located in the Acropolis area of Athens. A heady mix of luxury, comfort and efficiency, this is Greek dining at its very best. The in-house restaurant of the premier Margi hotel, the ambience here is tangible and you will be transported to Ancient Greece thanks to the party taking place on your palate. Dishes here are created by the masterful hands of Panagiotis Giakalis and he couldn’t have found a better location to show off his craft. A signature dish is the mouth watering beetroot “Kritharoto” made with smoked Mackerel and has to be tasted to be believed. Another big favourite is the green salad with figs, mastelo cheese and caramelised nuts.
Ideal is the longest continuously running restaurant in Athens, no mean feat when you consider there are over 1100 eateries in and around the city. Locals and visitors have been titillating their taste buds here for more than 80 years, and the relaxed and friendly environment right in the centre of Athens is something very special. One of the best purveyors of traditional Greek food cooked to centuries old recipes, they have moved with the times and catered for the changing tastes of consumers. The plates of the day are a big attraction where you have a choice of meat or fish dishes and a firm favourite is soutzoukakia, a traditional dish the Greeks love, consisting of rectangular beef patties with spices and cumin and served drizzled in tomato sauce with rice.
To Petrino tou Kritikou
Better known just as Petrino’s, this outstanding restaurant is located in one of the loveliest areas of Athens within one of the most beautiful and traditional buildings. Established in 1990, Petrino’s has carved itself a niche in somewhat of an overcrowded sector and the locals have nicknamed it “The Garden of Eden”. It is easy to see where they get the inspiration for the name from. Petrino’s enjoys a paradisiacal setting surrounded by lush greenery and running streams. Even the most discerning of diners will be taken on a journey of gastronomic delight from the Greek salads and delicious fried cheese to the meat smorgasbords and dakos. This is top end dining at its very best, and eating outdoors in the sumptuous grounds is the stuff that dreams are made of.
If ever there was a name from Greek history that you expect to see over the door of a restaurant in Athens it would be Zorba, and whilst it may seem a bit of a stereotype, the food is anything but. Zorba’s has been in business for around 40 years, and is located in Old Plaka. Eating with the backdrop of a floodlit Acropolis is something very special, but the exemplary cuisine on offer takes it to a whole new level. From traditional fare such as moussaka and veal stew to the fresh from the sea shrimps the menu here is exquisite. For such a location it is also competitively priced, making it hugely popular with both visitors and locals, always a good recommendation for any restaurant.
The Amvrosia, or Ambrosia, restaurant is situated in the Piraeus area of the city and offers its visitors hearty, traditional Greek dishes at excellent prices. This is not a touristy restaurant by any means and you will hard pushed to hear a language other than Greek being spoken by the diners. But the staff all speak English and make everyone welcome. You will find all your Greek favourites here such as kleftiko, stifado and, of course, moussaka and if you fancy a change from meat try their fish menu, with the delicious sea bass being a big favourite. With daily specials and a vast and varied menu, it is little wonder the locals love Amvrosia.