Tucked away in a hidden courtyard in the heart of Metaxourgeio, central Athens, the canteen Galiandra in Avdi Square produces mouth-watering beef and pork sandwiches, not to be missed by meat lovers.
Inspired by chef Gogo Delogiannis and her colleagues, Nelli Bofiliou and Michalis Dimakos, the braised veal sandwich is served in two slices of dark sourdough bread with tsalafouti (a soft cheese made from goat’s milk), pesto with herbs and roasted peppers. Another comes in a soft, freshly-baked handmade bun, with pulled pork, cucumber pickle and mustard.
Patrons can enjoy their sandwiches with a side of golden French fries, hand-cut and freshly-made, washed down with a frozen margarita!
Giatrakou 4, Avdi Square, Metaxourgio
Tortilla wrap with chicken, yogurt and almonds
At the self-styled “neo traditional” Mimis souvlaki joint in Pangrati, the first thing that draws your attention is the extensive wine list. Not to be sidetracked, the food here is outstanding. The pies are handmade, also the sauces, while the meats are meticulously selected, marinated and cooked to perfection.
The tortilla wrap with chicken and onion, carrot and celery, simmered in almond milk, and accompanied by yogurt, almonds, chili flakes and grilled tomato is a highlight in an otherwise sumptuous menu.
Eufranoros 10, Pagkrati, Tel: (+30)210.756.5789
Overoll croissanterie on Praxitelous avenue, near the heart of old Athens, is owned by three confectioners, Alkis Zervas, Giannis Kikiras and Spyros Pappas, who spread dough and bake two or three times daily. Their croissants are always fresh, sweet-smelling, and reminiscent of the classic viennoiseries found in Paris.
Made with passion and all the best ingredients, the variations of the basic recipe on offer are all excellent, but the croissant with spinach is simply out of this world.
Praxitelous 27, Athens, Tel: (+30)211.419.8151
Pizza salsiccia e friarielli
La Bella Napoli in Neos Kosmos makes the most authentic Napolitana pizza in Athens. Head chef Marco Genaboni, a Neapolitan himself, imports the ingredients from his homeland because he is a perfectionist. His margarita is a small masterpiece and his version of Salsiccia e friarielli pizza is a faithful copy of the original.
Salsiccia e friarielli is an iconic pizza of Naples, made with the most delicious dough. While “friarielli,” a bitter herb (known to us in Greece as rapini or broccoli rabe) is scarcely available on the Greek market, chef Genaboni’s recreation of this Neapolitan classic includes salsitsia, a spicy, rustic sausage and mouth-watering provola and scamorza cheese.
La Bella Napoli
Rubesi 64, Neos Kosmos, Tel: (+30)211.115.0602
Tacos al pastor
Mexican cuisine is not always faithfully represented in Athenian eateries. At Poncho Tacos in Karytsi Square, near Syntagma, however, delicious handmade tacos and quesadillas go a long way to vindicate this much-loved ancient cuisine.
The small taqueria is actually a long kitchen with a countertop and a pork gyros spit that has a juicy piece of pineapple nailed to the top. Its menu is small but packs surprising variety, inlcuding three tacos and three quesadillas, four of which are vegetarian. A particular favorite is the tacos al pastor with freshly made tortillas, pork, onion, pineapple and fresh coriander.
A range of accompanying sauces are on offer, including a deliciously mild salsa verde with avocado and coriander, one with habanero peppers, and, not for the faint-hearted, a hot sauce with chipotle peppers.
Cold agua de Jamaica drinks made in-house with hibiscus or tamarind and served as they are with tequila or mescal are also available.
This article was previously published in Greek by “K” Magazine.
Karytsi Square 10, Syntagma, Tel: (+30)210.331.7538