Up until a few years ago, Athens did not offer much in the way of breakfast save traditional coffee houses that served cheese pies and the like or fancy hotel buffets. Now brunch has become all the rage, especially on Sundays, and reservations need to be made days in advance. Prices range between 15 to 27 euros per person. The menus do not vary that much, containing staples such as multi-layered burgers, pancakes and eggs cooked in different styles.
The biggest perks of eating at a bar, however, are the drinks, particularly at the better establishments, where they’re sure to hit the spot. The first to introduce brunch to the Athens food scene was Nixon, an authentic bar that has gradually become a classic; rather dark and British in style, with seating arrangements that afford a sense of privacy even on a busy day. The menu is big with selections including wild spiny chicory with tomato and cured pork, three different burgers and a dozen different types of eggs.
The place that really established brunch as the new thing was The Clumsies, an all-day bar that ranked 22nd this year among the world’s top 50 bars. A different acclaimed Greek chef takes over the kitchen each Sunday, preparing an original, signature menu, usually consisting of four or five courses. Most Sundays are sold out weeks in advance, but it is still worth trying your luck!
In the hip area around Syntagma Square, Barreldier is a bar with character and expertise, serving in-house barrel-aged classic cocktails with a twist, created by bartender Mario Bassο. Brunch is usually accompanied by an Aperol Spritz, a classic Mimosa or a Bloody Mary, but the Vermouth is really the star attraction.
Another great spot in the area is By the Glass, a wine bar tucked away in a beautiful arcade with a secret garden. It is quiet and sheltered from the city hubbub despite its very central location. You can pair your food with a selection of some 200 different labels served by the glass. Tip: The bougatsa cream pastry is delicious.
A walk from the city center towards the suburb of Petralona leads to Kyrios Hou (Mister Who), a 1970s style all-day bar in a neoclassical mansion with a retro courtyard. For brunch, they have created a fantastic Bacon Βloody Mary, the perfect match with eggs. Don’t miss out on sampling the cheesecake pancakes.
In the up-and-coming district of Koukaki near the Acropolis Museum, a former car repair shop has been transformed into a bar with a 1980s aesthetic and a devoted clientele. Bel Ray is always lively, youthful and bright, serving brunch daily from 10 in the morning, though the bar doesn’t open until 18:30. Try its famous Croque Madame and the Rachel sandwich made with apaki (Cretan smoked pork) and tangy cabbage.