15 Places to Eat and Shop on Apollonos Street

Apollonos Street in the center of Athens boasts a fruit and vegetable store and a number of fine restaurants, boutiques, cafés, and jewelry stores, giving it a character of its own.


There’s a lot to do and see on Apollonos Street. You can head there for food, or to enjoy a good book or do some work on your laptop at a café. You might want to browse through the boutiques and meet the shopkeepers who found that this stretch of road was the perfect place to plant their dreams. You could find yourself heading back home an hour after midnight with a bag full of vegetables and fruits, admiring the 1930s buildings as you pass, or perhaps engaging with tourists on their way to Plaka. The dry cleaners here wash and iron piles of uniforms for the people who work at nearby hotels, and clean fabrics for the designers with ateliers nearby. It’s a relatively short road running parallel to Mitropoleos Street, but Apollonos packs a lot into a little space. At certain parts the street is lively, at others it’s quieter, but it’s always interesting.

 
 
 
 
 
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A post shared by GAKU Sushi – Izakaya (@gakuizakaya)

If you’re approaching from Syntagma Square, you’ll come down Nikis Street to turn onto Apollonos, where you’ll find Gaku, in the spot where the legendary Furin Kazan once stood. That Japanese restaurant, owned by Eyko Mitchiko, served customers from 1999 to 2017. (Athenians would dine on sushi, salmon tataki, tempura and soba noodles, all while admiring the wall paintings of blooming cherry trees.) Gaku, another Japanese eatery, opened its first location in Halandri and saw on Apollonos the ideal location for its second restaurant. The wide variety of sake is on display in the window; you can sit at the counter or at one of the tables to enjoy delicious seafood curry soup or well-prepared gyoza, nigiri, sashimi and hand rolls. Just next door, you’ll find East Pearl, which moved here a few years ago from Piraeus, taking the place of another Chinese restaurant. At its white-tableclothed tables, locals and tourists, many from Asia, enjoy noodles and crispy duck, as well as more difficult to eat items such as chicken feet. 

 
 
 
 
 
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A post shared by So so so! (@sososo_ramen)

 

If you choose to sit by the window, the view of the street-food eateries across the way – So So So! with its delicious ramen noodles and the Chinese canteen Yum Cha Toom – makes you feel like you might be in another city’s Chinatown or Little Tokyo.

The Asian character of Apollonos Street is further reinforced by the availability of Chinese cabbage and shimeji mushrooms at The Apollonos, a fruit and vegetable shop run by the always helpful duo of Ritsa and Vaso. The store, which has been operating for more than 25 years, stays open until late at night and its crates are filled with fresh products: don’t be surprised if you find yourself buying Cretan bananas – hands of bananas hang next to the door – fresh salads or a small bag of Arcadian olives in the small hours of the night. The Apollonos is also the shop that the bars of the area turn to when they run out of something.

 
 
 
 
 
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A post shared by Nolan Restaurant (@nolanrestaurant)

AN INTERESTING GASTRONOMIC AREA

The restaurants that have opened up a few metres further down make the gastronomic scene on Apollonos Street more diverse. Tables are set out on the sidewalk, with standing heaters at the ready. Opening its doors in 2016, Nolan brought new energy to the area and quickly became known for its bonito with sujuk and spiny chicory, the chicken soup with Vietnamese flavours, the Nolan Fried Chicken (NFC) and many other dishes created by Sotiris Kontizas, masterfully drawing on his working experience and his Hellenic-Japanese roots while, at the same time, adding his own personal style to comfort food.

 
 
 
 
 
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Then came Sweet Nolan, the restaurant’s pastry shop. With its pasteis de nata, Basque cheesecakes, opera cakes and chocolate bread, the shop fit right into this food-focused neighbourhood. Birdman, another popular spot just a few meters in from Apollonos on Voulis Street, and Ovio, whose menu is curated by Panos Ioannidis, a food judge on the television show MasterChef Greece, who brings his own a particular flair to modern Italian cuisine, had already been added to this mosaic of flavours. Ovio’s tables are filled even on weekdays with people who come here to try the golden arancini rice balls which, made from trahana rather than rice, have more of a Greek feel to them – a dish I personally tried the last time I was there, together with an particularly delicious vitello tonnato pizza. The restaurant’s owner, Panos Politis, told me that there was a reason why he chose Apollonos Street: “We opened in November 2019, but I had been walking up and down Apollonos, Skoufou, Voulis and Nikis almost every day since late in 2017 until I found the place I had in mind. The area had already developed an interesting gastronomic identity and I thought it would be the ideal place for this endeavour. It has become a popular destination because everything is done carefully.”

 
 
 
 
 
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A post shared by @amigastrotheque

Last summer, at the corner of Apollonos and Voulis, Lobby Burger Lounge opened its doors at the rear of the Electra Metropolis Hotel. It offers various kinds of mini burgers – two or three per plate – and cocktails in one of the coziest and most inviting hotel restaurants you’ll find in the center of Athens. Ami Gastrotheque launched in the winter of 2022. Its small bistro-like tables, both inside and out, are busy from the morning. Here, you can try a variety of ham and butter croissants and baguettes, as well as the signature tartare, the anglerfish with a meuniere sauce or the entrecôte Café de Paris. As George Melissaris – one of the owners who, almost five years earlier, had opened the rôtisserie restaurant Spit Jack on nearby Skoufou Street and who had worked in the area before it became what it is today – told me, they wanted to open a quiet, modern restaurant with a French-based menu showcasing their own personal style while complementing the street’s general atmosphere. “Apollonos Street has a character of its own, very distinct”, he said. “It is a good spot, between Syntagma Square and Plaka, in a part of the center of Athens without too many people. The area appeals to discerning visitors, and I believe people will continue to come. As long as there are professionals who offer a good product at a good price, the area will never lose its appeal.” Of course, the interesting gastronomic spots on neighbouring Nikis, Skoufou,Voulis and Navarchou Nikodimou streets, also help. The area has an alluring diversity, offering different gastronomic experiences for all tastes.

 
 
 
 
 
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THE “SECOND” APOLLONOS

Most people heading west down Apollonos from Nikis only make it to the corner of Voulis Street before cutting over to larger Mitropoleos Street. However, if you stick with Apollonos a bit longer, you’ll discover a part of the street that’s developing at a slightly gentler pace. Over the past few years, a number of small shops have opened up in this quieter part of the street. Noble, where you can find select men’s and women’s clothing from independent designers as well as vintage leather handbags, is one, as is the neo-retro barber shop of Ioannis Pantazis, with its black and white barber’s pole outside.

 

At two neighbouring contemporary jewelry stores, each with its own style, Mary Gaitani and Maria Anagnostara display their creations. I found Anagnostara standing outside her store and, as I looked over the unique evil-eye amulets that she makes (you feel as though they’re watching you) we got to chatting and l learned that she’d left a job at an advertising agency to study jewelry-making. She attended design seminars in Florence and, after working at various ateliers, decided to create her own collection. She began with an online store, working initially only with brass and silver. Today, her work has become better-known through social media, and she works with gold, natural pearls and precious stones. She had a small showroom on Perikleous Street until June of 2021, when she found this small store that had been an antique shop, and moved here. “The store needed a lot of work, but it was worth it. We’ve all become very good friends here”, she said. “Most mornings, you’ll find us sitting on pillows outside the store drinking coffee together. It’s certainly quieter compared to the upper end of the street. It feels more like a hang-out down here, and it’s got a beauty of its own. Personally, I like the change.”

 
 
 
 
 
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A post shared by september (@september.athens)

A little further down the street is September, run by Elisabeth Mavrou and hard to miss. Mavrou used to work at the clothing store that operated here, and when the owner decided to leave, she kept it and turned it into a charming boutique – mainly women’s clothing – that exudes a feel-good vibe. Here, you’ll find jackets and sweaters with multi-colored patterns, inlaid handbags, beautiful socks and stockings and a host of accessories that will brighten your look. Clothes from Greek designers, such as Klelia Andrali, Adelie Pengu and Poptometry, can be found here, as well as Rains waterproof jackets and handbags. “I have a certain clientele, and they’re loyal,” Mavrou explained. Today, many people know the store, while others just happen to stumble onto it. Either way is fine with her. “The feeling that I’m in the center of Athens, I’m in the middle of all the excitement, but at the same time I’m not gives this part of the street an added sense of beauty,” she told me.

 
 
 
 
 
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A post shared by THIRD PLACE. (@thirdplace.gr)

 

This part of Apollonos is also home to Third Place, a café-shop owned by Michalis Tsoumanis and Katerina Papapostolou. In a way, they started everything. They even gave advice to most of the people mentioned above who, while contemplating opening their own shops in the area, would often stop here for a cup of coffee and counsel. As I enjoyed my espresso – they have a wide range of single-variety Ofelia coffees from countries such as Brazil and Ethiopia – I checked out the various items for coffee lovers: cups, kettles and thermoses. Decorative objects, marble chopping boards, vases, plates and candles all caught my eye. “They create an environment – life takes place around a table”, said Papapostolou, explaining that she has been active in both the field of communication and that of contemporary design for years. She named some of the brands on display: Kinto from Japan, Fellow from San Francisco, and Kristina Dam Studio, Raawi, Broste and Cooee items from Scandanavia. It’s difficult to imagine, but the business that preceded them at this location sold ecclesiastical objects. The new owners even discovered a mosaic, under the tiles they tore out, that had been covered for 30 years. “When we opened the store, there was nothing here from Nolan all the way to the end of the street,” Papapostolou said.

At first, the fact that most people wouldn’t venture further than Voulis Street concerned her. Now, it doesn’t bother her at all. The spot has its own clientele: tourists from nearby hotels, foreigners who live in Greece and work remotely, businessmen who hold meetings near here, or journalists who come for a cup of coffee or a glass of fresh juice and want to work in a quiet environment. The café also offers an assortment of light snacks, such as avocado toast or vegan cheesecake, but no full meals. If you do get hungry, however, the upper end of the street is just minutes away; from So So So! at 1 Apollonos to Third Place at 23B, it’s just a two-minute walk, a distance of 200 meters that, ultimately, fits a lot.



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