Starring eggs cooked in all sorts of ways and fluffy pancakes, brunch has become the toast of the town in Athens. Even though the country does not have a much of a brunch tradition, the past few years have seen cafés, restaurants and even concept stores embracing the trend and menus becoming enriched with dishes that bridge the sweet-savory divide and keep friends at the table for hours on end. Some places insist on the classics, successfully serving tried-and-true dishes, while others like to get creative, offering original recipes.
Fill The Bracket
When it comes to classic brunch, we recommend the new, all-day bar Fill the Bracket in Kerameikos. From 11:00 to 17:00 every Saturday and Sunday, it serves great eggs Benedict made with choice smoked ham from France, artisanal bread and sweet potato chips, as well as authentic American pancakes with a fried egg and maple syrup – a titillating use of sweet and savory.
Among its top dishes are the avocado and smoked salmon sandwich with bread made of high-quality dinkel flour, served with a poached egg, as well as the fresh Greek pies made with handmade pastry stuffed with cheese, spinach or mushrooms. If pancakes are not enough to satisfy your sweet tooth, fresh cinnamon rolls with a buttery glaze are baked every day and are the perfect treat to go with a smoothie of yoghurt, coconut cream, pineapple and cinnamon.
Classic recipes, artfully executed with excellent ingredients by a chef who’s a deft hand at European cuisines and techniques, await brunchers at the recently revamped 42 Barstronomy.
The weekend brunch menu includes eggs Florentine, scrambled eggs with truffles, authentic Viennese Hoffman schnitzel as well as dishes meant to be shared, like in a traditional Sunday lunch. The steak sandwich and beef Wellington are meant to be divided by a party of four, and are best accompanied by classic drinks and cocktails such as Bellinis, Bloody Marys and Spritzes.
Peek A Bloom
The Greek answer to eggs Benedict is kagianas, a traditional dish comprising scrambled eggs, feta cheese and fresh tomatoes. At the new cocktail bar and micro-roastery Peek A Bloom, they serve a version of kagianas from the island of Zakynthos, using fresh anthotyro (goat’s milk cheese) instead of feta.
Its brunch, served Monday through Wednesday until 17:00 and Thursday through Sunday until 21:00, includes classic dishes as well as more unusual ones like the pastrami sandwich with jalapeno peppers, lemon mayonnaise and spinach. Notable are the eggs with Hollandaise sauce and turkey ham, as well as the two soups of the day. We tried the sweet corn soup with smoked pork, which paired perfectly with a glass of absinthe from the big selection at the bar. Coffee is an equally good way to go, as it is roasted in-house.
Warehouse in Exarchia
Great coffee and a “Greekified” brunch menu is served at Warehouse in Exarchia, Monday through Saturday 10:00-13:00 and Sunday until late in the afternoon.
Try the strapatsada (scrambled eggs with pork pancetta, volaki cow’s milk cheese from Andros Island and tomato marmalade) or the very popular open sandwich with aged gouda, mustard seed mayonnaise and marinated picanha. There’s a regular menu of soups and hot dishes served every day after 13:00.
The Clumsies offers a fusion brunch menu that successfully blends French, American, British, Latin American and Asian flavors. Served every Sunday, strictly from 11:00 to 18:00, it comprises 16 choices, the most impressive of which is the Cuban Benedict. This dish is made up of a brioche-like bread with slow-roasted pork and a sweet, tasty BBQ sauce made in-house (using Coca-Cola), two breaded poached eggs and a Hollandaise sauce with pickled gherkin and crisp onion.
Our other two favorites are also egg-centered; one is made with a traditional Thessaloniki koulouri (sesame seed bread ring) and pastrami, and the other with mushrooms and brown butter. The menu also boasts bowls of noodles or poke (with rice and a Japanese omelet), as well as tuna burgers.
On the sweet front, you’ll find fried bao buns made like Spanish churros and served with caramel and chocolate sauce, as well as pancakes with savory praline from cashews, also made in-house. The food must be accompanied by one of the famous cocktails created by the bar’s award-winning bartenders. Try the Verde Mary with vodka, spinach and avocado, or the Athenian Spritz with Otto’s Athens Vermouth and premium Greek Three Cents tonic.
The Trap serves what can be described as the most Greek and most creative version of brunch in the city. The owners of this cocktail bar have a passion for domestic spirits and seafood meze and take pride in their collaboration with the team behind Mezen, one of the best eateries in Volos, a city where tsipouro and meze are like a religion.
The customary starter is a cup of trachanas soup (a kind of traditional porridge), but if you’re not a fan we recommend a bowl of thick and creamy Greek yogurt with blueberries and a homemade pasteli sesame, honey and lemon snap.
If you have a hankering for eggs, order the strapatsada scramble with soft goat’s cheese and grated tomato, or the fried egg served with artisanal bacon. Rustic staples have been cleverly adapted into fillings for the sandwiches including spetzofai (a mixture of sausage, peppers and kasseri cheese) and beef cooked in a tomato sauce with eggplants and creamy cheese. The vegan dish of grilled mushrooms served with a fava split-pea puree and onion in a rye bun will please meat-eaters vegetarians.
The sweets include American pancakes topped with bougatsa custard, icing sugar and cinnamon, or tahini and honey. You can also accompany your meal with a punch-packing cocktail like an Old Fashioned or a Negroni with tsipouro made exclusively for Trap be the Mezen team.