Apart from archaeological sites, famous monuments and rich history, the Greek capital is renowned for its culinary wonders. The streets are filled with food stalls and there are hundreds of restaurants throughout Athens offering all kinds of different cuisines and gastronomic experiences. But without some local insight, there is high risk to miss out the city’s well-hidden eateries Athenian foodies love and end up at a touristic overpriced tavern. Discover the local gastronomy scene with this insider’s guide of the best Athens restaurants to taste some real authentic Greek delicacies.

9 Top Athens Restaurants

To Steki tou Ilia

To Steki tou Ilia means ‘Ilias’ hangout’ and it’s a perfectly suitable name for this restaurant that makes you feel like home from the very first moment. Located on Eptachalkou 5, a lovely pedestrian street in Thiseio, To Steki tou Ilia offers a menu with all the must-try Greek traditional dishes. Most visitors though head here for the delicious grilled meat and especially the lamb chops, topping the list of Athens restaurants to try on your next visit. Tzatziki, french fries and Greek salad will complete a heavenly meal. The tavern also features a small scenic backyard that looks like a traditional Greek island home’s patio.

Santorinios

In the heart of Petralona, one of the hippest neighborhoods in Athens you’ll find Santorinios, a typical Greek tavern with a lovely backyard. Santorinios is someone who comes from the island of Santorini. Even though I can’t say for sure if the owners are actually from the beautiful Aegean Island, the fava’s extraordinary flavor makes me believe the family holds the secret recipe of Santorinean fava. The food is great, the service is excellent and the prices are more than affordable.

Thessaloi

Nestled in a pedestrianized street away from the city’s hotspots, Thessaloi isn’t one of Athens restaurants that you’ll casually run across. But if you like non-touristic, quiet places it is worth to stroll down Votanikos’ narrow alleys in search of this hidden gem. The restaurant’s menu isn’t very diverse but each one of the dishes is carefully selected and cooked with a twist so that nothing will miss from your table. Locals often head here for a meze accompanied by the traditional raki and the sound of Greek traditional songs.

Laika

Laika is a relatively recent addition to the Athenian food scene but it has already gained its clientele. The cozy bar-resto in Votanikos serves traditional Greek food with a modern twist. Among its most prized dishes are the vegetarian moussaka, pork with vegetables bathed in a sweet sauce and the marinated portobello mushrooms. Don’t expect to find a traditionally decorated tavern but rather a stylish little restaurant that looks more like a French bistro.

Orizontes Lycabettus

Situated on Lycabettus hill, Orizontes offers a spectacular view alongside its gourmet Mediterranean cuisine dishes. The high-end restaurant’s menu has a wide range of salads, seafood dishes and desserts. As you may have already guessed it isn’t exactly what you’d call a budget restaurant but it’s one of the best if you want to give yourself a special treat.

Korkofilas

Korkofilas is a culinary gem hidden in plain sight. Located in the heart of the city center, only a few minutes away from Kerameikos train station, this traditional restaurant is among the locals’ favorites. You might not be immediately impressed by its interior, but you can rest assured that you will be amazed by the quality of the food. During weekends, Korkofilas hosts live folk music sessions in the afternoon, creating an authentic festive atmosphere that will make you think you’re having dinner with a large group of friends.

Varoulko Seaside

Varoulko seaside is the country’s first Michelin-starred restaurant, located a few kilometers outside Athens, in the small port city of Piraeus. Its excellent location on the oceanfront, exquisite seafood dishes and extensive collection of wines will definitely make up for the somewhat long ride. Their specialties include some remarkable dishes such as rice with spinach and cuttlefish, grilled octopus with vinegar and steamed clams marinated in wine and garlic.

Tzitzikas & Mermigkas

This restaurant chain’s name comes from an Aesopian fable that’s as old as Greece. There are currently four restaurants operating under the same name spread throughout the city, with the most famous being the one close to Syntagma square. Tzitzikas & Mermigkas’ chefs take a lot of pride in cherry-picking high-quality, seasonal, fresh materials and creating gourmet traditional dishes. The restaurants’ aesthetics definitely make them stand out, as they are all decorated to resemble old-fashioned grocery stores from the ’50s.

The Holy Goat

This restaurant and cocktail bar is as peculiar as the name suggests. Describing themselves as a “punk bistrot”, The Holy Goat is a collectively owned culinary space at Ano Petralona. Aiming to reinvent Greek cuisine, the restaurant features experimental recipes and molecular gastronomy, with a lot of surprises awaiting visitors on the menu. The dishes might be as hard to describe as they are to pronounce but they are just as impressive and delicious. Holy Goat’s laid-back atmosphere, exquisite tastes and competitive prices make it an excellent choice for those that appreciate haute cuisine.