Traditional fast food shops, mainly in the center of Athens, have become a bit more colorful in recent years and abound with the scents of nature
If you follow the aromas of freshly cut fruit, vegetables and tea, you will be rewarded with colorful displays of red apples competing with bright yellow bananas and green avocado.
These places serve an alternative choice for a quick breakfast and brunch. Their menus include freshly squeezed juices, organic coffee and tea, herbal teas, vegetable and fruit salads, cereals, soups and healthy snacks that are becoming increasingly popular among both Greeks and tourists in the city center.
The colorful wooden façade of Hymopoieio smiles out to morning customers in the heart of the city’s busiest point, on the edge of Monastiraki square.
They’ve been filling glasses with their healthy fruit juices since July 2014. It was an idea that the owner, Aris Papatheodoropoulos, brought with him from Amsterdam, where he worked in a similar business.
“I thought that Greece has so many fruits and vegetables and was looking for a way to leverage them, linking production with Greek and foreign consumers and, at the same time, creating a viable business.”
A year and a half later, Hymopoieio has 22 juices on its menu which cost from €1.50 to 2.50. Currently, the most popular is the pomegranate, mango and pineapple, and, from personal experience, I can assure you that it is excellent.
The girl next to me also seems equally impressed by the combination of pineapple, banana, apple and orange she is enjoying, after asking for “a tonic to start my day.”
The menu also carries four vegetable soups, salads, yogurt with fruit and honey, organic fair-trade coffee and cereal bars. [64 Pandrosou, Monastiraki ]
Situated next to an old, traditional cheese pie shop in central Athens, the contrast could not be starker. Fruits, vegetables, honey, muesli, dried fruits, nuts, cereal bars, organic almond and coconut milk on one side; pies, pizzas, packed juices and instant coffees on the other.
Theodoros Christoulakis, along with his brother Polydoros, established Frutonic in December 2014.
“We want to introduce Greeks to the correct diet” is what they cite as their goal. Their medium is the great variety of freshly squeezed juices and smoothies from fruits and vegetables – over 30 in number – and healthy snacks, plus options for diabetics. Clients were a little hesitant about the idea at first, but soon became devoted fans.
“Some of them have tried almost the entire menu,” says Theodoros excitedly. A few have made it a way of life and a necessary stop in their daily routine.
Frutonic makes deliveries to the suburbs of the wider city center – Exarcheia, Kolonaki, Plaka, Psiri, Koukaki and Kerameikos – which require short transit times, to make sure the vitamins are preserved.
Prices are affordable with orange juice starting at €0.90 and others up to €4, depending on the number of ingredients used. [34 Panepistimiou]
Pure Juice Bar
About a year ago, Thanos Modiano left his job at the Bank of England and Dimitris Ladas left behind his life in Montreal with an idea: a juice bar in the Greek capital.
“If someone wants something healthy with organic ingredients, with no preservatives, it is worth a try. That’s what we want to convey as the ideology of the store, that this is a gift worth giving to yourself.” says Thanos enthusiastically.
There are 11 set smoothies seasonal suggestions, dozens of fruit and vegetable juices, gluten and lactose free options, raw food bars, a salad of the day and a soup of the day, wraps with salmon, turkey, tuna, banana-tahini, chia-seed puddings either with coconut milk or yogurt, and, of course, a wide variety of superfoods which are added as ingredients to snacks and drinks.
The menu is very popular with the law firms around Kolonaki thanks to the delivery service, but also with passersby and students, who take a break on its comfortable terrace.
Although friends, the two partners disagree over their favorite drink: Thanos is a Gym freak fanatic: avocado, banana, coconut or almond milk, cinnamon, honey and maca. The taste is a very pleasant surprise.
Dimitris recommends the X Factor, with spinach, pineapple, kiwi, honey and wheatgrass. [21 Sina]
Fontana Living Well Store
This is a paradise of superfoods, seeds, dried fruits, vegetables and herbs. The owners, George Koromi and Leonidas Pappas, launched the Fontana Living Well Store in April 2014 in the pedestrian zone of Eolou street.
The shelves are filled with colorful jars. Mango and calendula flower beside fennel seeds and cardamom rose petals and cinnamon, dried fruits and oats.
All these can be purchased for home or added to one of the tasty and refreshing smoothies or juices on the menu. Also available are yogurts with superfoods, herbal teas, herbal infusions, natural fruit and vegetable juices, smoothies with fruits, vegetables, coconut, almond, hazelnut, oat and seed milk, cereal bars, pastels, fruit and vegetable salads.
Try the Popeye green smoothie with spinach, mint, lemon, Chia seeds, green apple and banana. Don’t be put off by the green color, it tastes amazing. [17 Eolou and Ermou]
“The idea was to create a point in the city center where one could pass by and get a vitamin and energy boost. So about a year ago Vitamin Point was born.” says Stamatis Fasoulis, a businessman with a dreamy aura, who managed to turn his vision of healthy beverages into a profitable business.
A dozen different kinds of juices are offered daily, freshly made in front of the customer. The store’s shelves are stacked with brown, green and organic barley, tea mixtures with saffron and aloe, organic teas and herbal blends with healing properties – for slimming, relaxation, toning, detoxification and cold relief. There is also a selection for kids with organic chamomile, pomegranate, orange and apple.
All teas and beverages are packaged in sachets so that they are easy to prepare, while a wall in the store has been transformed into an encyclopedia of information, describing the beneficial properties of each product. Prices are extremely reasonable: lemon and orange juices start at €0.80 while all the rest cost €1.20. All hot and cold beverages go for €1and half-liter bottles of water cost €0.50.
Fruits and vegetables are procured from Greek growers and arrive at Vitamin Point one day after harvest. [Stadiou 10]