There are loads of restaurants in the Athens Plaka and surrounding area.
If you try these out you will know what a good restaurant should look,
taste and feel like, and be less likely to be taken advantage of in one
of the tourist joints. If you have any faves you want to add, take a picture
and send me a review. Remember that if you order fish it is sold by the
kilo so before you choose make sure you know the price since it can vary
greatly from one fish to another.
In The Plaka Byzantino
This is the restaurant of choice for many locals in the Plaka. From the
outside there is nothing to distinguish it from the other more tourist-type
places except for the great location in the small park on Kydatheneon
street, but the food is better and influenced by the Greek clientele.
I like the spinach pie (spana-ko -pita), their fish soup (psa-row -soupa)
which you can get it with or without a plate of fish. Of course they have
the Greek salad (hor-ee- ah-tiko), eggplant salad (mel-eetsana salata),
yogurt dip (satziki), and all the standards. It's not cheap but it's not
expensive either. I love their roast potatoes (fourno pahtahtes) and chicken
(kotopoulo). They have bottled wine and cold beer and ouzo and mezedes.
The menu is in several languages including English. Look for strange and
funny translations on menus here and all over Greece. It's a high form
of entertainment for travelers. Galeos is not red snapper which is what
all the menus tell you. It's shark, kind of a humorous translation. You
can walk right in and see the food. Either ask the cook or waiter how
to pronounce whatever it is you want, or drag your waiter in and point
to it. It's perfectly acceptable behavior. After lunch you can buy a newspaper
at the kiosk across the street and have a coffee while reading about what's
going on in the rest of the world.
If you continue walking up Kydathenaon street past Adrainou and begin
climbing the steps you will come to this very nice restaurant that is
not too expensive and it is in a relatively quiet location. Sit outside
next to the ruins of ancient Athens. If you order mezedes and a salad
you won't even need a main course. But if you have a large stomach everything
here is good and though you will see other tourists around it is still
traditionally Greek and you will also see many locals. If the lower areas
of the Plaka are too hot. Tom Mazarakis loves this place.
Right on the corner of Kydatheneon and Geronta street on the small square
is the Plaka Restaurant which has been serving locals and travelers for
years. They specialize in Greek oven dishes, grilled meats and fish and
features some specialties from Asia Minor like my favorite Lamb and Vegetables
from Smyrna. You can order from the menu or go inside and choose what
you like. They also have a large selection of fish which is on display
in the glass-case. You can even choose which cut of meat you want from
their choice of pork-chops, lamb-chops and steaks. Their Athens-made red
wine is good and lets you off easy the next morning. Also try their lamb
fricasse (lamb with escarole and egg-lemon sauce). My mom says their grilled
octopus is the tenderest she has ever eaten. Try the Thrapsala grilled.
It is giant squid with their special oil and lemon sauce. Waiters speak
English and are helpful if you can't decide and like most restauarants
in the Plaka the menu is in English and a couple other languages and has
plenty to choose from. You will be treated to fruit or desert if you mention
this site so don't be shy.
If you should be lucky enough to be here before the weather gets too hot
you may notice several basement restaurants. These are called Bakaliarzidikos
and they specialize in fried codfish. There are three of them, the oldest
being Domigos near the corner of Kydatheneon and Adrianou Streets right
underneath Brettos Ouzo. The reason they are not open in the summer is
because with all the ovens and fryers it's just too hot. But these restaurants
generally have some of the best Athensmade wine (khee-ma) and the codfish
(bakaliaro) served with garlic dip (skordaya) is out of this world. The
tables are cramped and you can tune in to the conversation next door as
easy as your own. It's very friendly and full of local Athenians, expatriates
and smart people. Just about anything on the menu is good and your clothes
will smell of codfish for days to come. The best Bakaliaro place in my
opinion and the one I usually go to is Saita located a block from Nikis
Psaras Fish Taverna
Psaras was my favorite restaurant in the Plaka. One of the oldest Tavernas
in the Plaka, dating back to 1898, this is where my friends and I spent
many an evening. Who cared if the waitors were rude and got mad at you
if you didn't order enough, or spilled hot fish oil on my friend's expensive
dresses not one but two times. What was the big deal if everytime we ate
there the bill was padded with stuff we didn't order and never received?
Even after my friends and I one at a time declared we would never eat
there again, we always came back, because the food was great, the wine
delicious and because it was on the steps of the Plaka far from any cars,
it was like being on an island. They could insult us, not recognize us
after hundreds of visits, ruin our clothes, rip us off and laugh at us
when we left, and we did not care.
For some reason Psaras went out of business.
But now it is back, with new tableclothes, a new decor (a whole new restaurant
in the same beautiful spot), new waitors (the old ones are probably in
prison or selling chestnuts in Omonia), new cooks (the old ones were over
100 and probably died), and food and wine that is better then the old
Psaras. The menu is in English and the waitors and staff are pleasant
and very helpful. If you want to go to my new favorite restaurant in the
Plaka come here. It's not too hard to find. It's on the corner of Erotocritou
and Erehtheos streets up the steps that lead from the Plaka to the Acropolis.
I love the soupes (cuttlefish). Try the Cretan Salad too. Try everything.
Laura at Byzantino loves this place. Probably the best place for fresh
fish and also grilled steaks and chops.
The Diros is the favorite restaurant of my friend George at Fantasy Travel
which is lucky for him because it is just two doors down from his office.
Getting him to eat anywhere else is almost like pulling teeth but I don't
really mind because I like the place. Diros was actually a very old restaurant
called The Corfu which was located in Syntagma that closed many years
ago and reopened with the same staff in their present location on Xenofontos
street. This is one of the last of the old-time restaurants and is still
frequented by the old polititians and Greek celebrities as well as many
people in the business community. Air-conditioned in the summer it is
a good place to be when it gets really hot in July or August and very
cozy in the cool months. If you want good food in a clean environment
with excellent service come here for lunch or dinner. To find the Diros
go to Syntagma Square and walk up Nikis or Fileninon. If you walk up Nikis
take your first left, if you walk up Filenenon your first right.
Eden Vegetarean Restaurant
If you are a vegetarean I suggest going to the EDEN Restaurant on the
corner of Misicleos and Lissiou streets. To find it just walk down Adrianou
towards the Monistiraki flea market, and turn left on Misicleos and walk
up the steps. I love their eggplant salad. If you are looking for a purely
vegetarean restaurant it's the best. (and the only). Vegetarrean's who
have used my website and gone here have raved about it. Also check out
The Noodle Shop on Apollonos street between Patrou and Pendelis streets.
I left Athens the day before it opened but it looked great and had lots
of vegetarean stuff on the menu. It has dishes from Thailand, China, Viet-nam
and many other countries in the far east.
For backpackers and budget travelers this small taverna-estiatorio on
Patroou street has been a hangout since I was in highschool and I was
very pleased to find it still open one night while taking a shortcut from
the Plaka to Psiri. In the daytime the place is air-conditioned on very
hot days and at night they have tables across the street in the entrance
of a parking garage. No maybe it is not the most romantic setting but
their Athensmade wine is excellent and the beers are cold and they have
a good selection of food on display inside so deciding what you order
is easy. The roast chicken and potatoes were good. I had the pork in red
sauce and that was fine too. My friend Dorian said they had the best beefteki
he had ever tasted. Dorian is prone to exaggerate but they were pretty
good. The waitor and sometimes night-manager is Markos who is a very charming
young guy from I don't know where. You can find Peristeri by walking down
Apollonos street and turning right or down Metropolis street and turning
There is another old restaurant worth going to in the Plaka called Platanos.
To find it walk down Adrianou towards Monistiriki. Turn left on Mysicleos
street and then take your first right which is Diogenous street. It's
in the platia. Go inside and see what they have. Everything is as good
as it looks. Great place to eat at night. Be sure to sit outside unless
it is cold. Next door is the Greek Music Museum which is my favorite museum
in the city. Each display has headphones so you can hear each instrument
in context and in a variety of styles. If you continue walking you will
come to the famous Tower of the Winds.