27 July 2019

My favourite places to eat in Athens - updated July 2019

This is a personal list of some of my favourite places to dine in Athens. This year, I decided to keep the list even more compact, so I only included places that I have visited in the last few months. These restaurants satisfy my requirements in three areas: quality, innovation and attitude. Some of them employ a trained sommelier; his/her suggestions help maximise the overall enjoyment and experience. 

A quick note concerning a few things. First of all, restaurants should have proper wine glasses, especially when they charge 50 and 60 euros per person. Secondly, I continue to see the same wine lists over and over again. Why is that the case? What is the point of having the exact same wines all the time? Dare to be different; this is the first thing taught in marketing. 

All photos are mine. Central photo: BlueFish Restaurant

Aleria
Aleria remains a classic and chef Gikas Xenakis presents a modern take on traditional Greek recipes. The result is definitely delicious. A fine wine list supports the overall experience. Lovely, both in the summertime and in winter.

Alficon
An exciting addition to the Athenean gastronomic scene. This very cosy restaurant is an attempt to highlight modern Greek cuisine. It is situated in an 1890 neoclassical building where the two young and talented chefs Dimitris Zyba and Nikos Vorias cook. They have an exciting wine list, which is focused on natural wines. Try the chilopitaki and Naxos goat. 

Argoura
Owner and chef Nikos Michail is a man of special character. He has access to top quality seafood, and his cult tavern emanates a casual and authentic vibe. Try Greek-grown oysters and sea urchin pasta, or anything else Nikos suggests. The wine concept is relaxed, but still present. 

Bluefish Vouliagmeni
Bluefish is the ultimate seafood place in Athens where chef and owner George Oikonomidis presents fish, from head to tail, in various ways and recipes. The scenery is reminiscent of a cycladic island and there is a new wine list underway, which I have put together and which includes exciting wines in many different styles. An experience not to be missed. 

Dry and Raw by Drakoulis
It’s been a while since I last visited, but it still remains a top choice for meat. It features some of the best cuts of meat in the city. Has a very straightforward BYOB policy and good service by the sommelier. Best in winter. 

Fuga
Fuga is an oasis in the centre of Athens where chef Dimitris Katrivesis blends flavours from Asia, Latin America and Mediterranean. The oysters are delicious and must try, but there are so many other temptations. 

Izakaya 
Chef Chronis Damalas delivers a combination of exotic Japanese cuisine with a touch of Greek soul. Easy going, tasty food in a gastropub setting. Try Damalas’ signature dish, marinated sea bass with yuzu, shiso, sea urchin and passion fruit. 

Kohylia (Gran Resort Lagonissi)
Stunning location in a James Bond setting; exquisite Asian sea food and a superb wine list by sommelier Dimitris Manolakos. The spicy chili crab is a must, the sushis are also exquisite. Glorious in summertime. This summer I am going to also try ‘The Captain’s’.   

Kritikos
Top casual meat destination with ''Tiffany's'' lamb chops. Very friendly service; they work nicely with families. Try the lamb chops and lamb kidneys ‘nefrakia’. Summer and winter.

Magikes Katsaroles
Family friendly restaurant in Paleo Faliro, right next to ‘Psarades’. Tasty Greek cuisine that focuses on local ingredients, vegetables, fish and meat. Winter. 

Matsuhisha Athens
Nobu's restaurant in Athens combines hard to beat scenery and very detailed Japanese cuisine with top quality ingredients. Justifiably expensive, although the Omakase menu offers good value for money options. Professional wine service. Try the masterpiece of Scallop Foie Gras Vanilla Den Miso, King Crab Creamy Spicy, nasu miso and the best sushi in town. Summertime.

Nami Sushi
My choice for sushi in the southern suburbs (Sushimou in the centre). Excellent and good value sushis with very professional service in a relaxed location. 

Nolan
Smart place with a cosy atmosphere, in which Japan meets Greece. The result is delicious. Try everything, but definitely don’t miss the Nolan Fried Chicken paired with Champagne, grilled fish for babies, and short ribs if you prefer meat. Never disappoints.

Sushimou 
Not a secret anymore, this 12 seat Japanese restaurant offers distinctiveness and authenticity plus fun discussions with chef Antonis Drakoularakos. Needs patience to get a booking, but it is definitely worth trying. Winter.

King George Tudor Hall
It would be a serious mistake not to include King George. Asterios Koustoudis burns the place down with his amazing dishes, full of Greece. Try Grouper seafood balls with artichokes ‘à la polita' and egg-lemon sauce  or maybe Rooster ‘pastitsada' cooked ‘en cocotte' with macaroni pasta and ‘San Michali' cheese. This is paired with fantastic scenery, as it overlooks the Acropolis. Pricey. 

Varoulko Seaside 
Top location, especially for the summer-time, with gorgeous dishes and an interesting wine list. What to try: Poached egg with smoked eel. . 

Vittoria Gati
A place of this kind was missing in Glyfada, where one could find a bistrot atmosphere with New York vibes. Now owner and chef George Papakostas has partnered with Michelin star chef Nikos Karathanos, so I expect many surprises. Cacio e peppe is excellent, so is the Wagay Agnelotti, but also look out for Karathanos’ new signature dishes. 

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