Just In: The Best New Places to Try in Athens in 2020

The Athens scene is constantly expanding and evolving, with new shops, boutique hotels, art spaces and places to eat and drink. Here's our pick of the best.


CHEZ LUCIEN @ BIOS

French restaurant Chez Lucien, an Athens staple for the past 17 years, has relocated to the famed Bios multi-function space. In what resembles an Athenian residence from the 1960s, with an open-plan kitchen and retro furniture, you can enjoy classics like the piping-hot onion soup – and it really is hot, so be careful – herring with boiled potatoes and onions, and meat dishes such as duck breast, entrecôte or rooster. For your side dish, we recommend the melt-in-your-mouth potatoes au gratin. The atmosphere is homey and friendly, while the entire restaurant team makes a point of thanking every diner when they leave by ringing a bell. – N.D.

Info

84 Pireos

Tel. (+30) 210.342.5335

Elysian

There are plenty of photogenic cafés in Athens, but the city’s first “flower café” has social media influencers lining up for tables. The fact that the flowers covering the walls are plastic doesn’t seem to bother anyone; after all, you can’t smell an insta-feed. The most attractive seats are upstairs, where lupins hang from the ceiling, and the windows let in the perfect light for capturing tall slices of pretty frosted cakes, mugs of pink flat whites and heart-shaped pancakes. They also serve smoothies, matcha bowls, classic brunch and cocktails. Owner Eftichia Lazarou recommends the bright turquoise “Big in Japan” cocktail, with gin, matcha tea, blue curaçao, lemon and lavender. – P.B.K.

Info

Elysian

11 Aghiou Filippou, Monastiraki

Brunch is served 09:00-18:00

THE EDITOR HOTEL

This new four-star boutique hotel is located in a former printing house, which provides the inspiration for its name, The Editor Hotel Athens. As every editor knows, attention to detail is paramount and all of the I’s have been dotted and all of the T’s crossed in carrying out the meticulous renovation. The hotel has 40 rooms and suites, with bold stone and wooden touches, and a rooftop restaurant and two bars where no word is out of place. The location is great, too: in the heart of Monastiraki and just around the corner from hip nightlife spots. – A.K.

Info

5-7 Voreou and Karori

Tel. (+30) 210.331.1444

editorhotel.gr

Dope Roasting Co.

The brand-new creation of Athenian café-bar owner (and interior design enthusiast) Panagiotis Pilafas and fourth-generation coffee roaster Antonis Tzarougian, Dope Roasting Co. is housed in an 1830s building on busy Athinas Street. Stripped down and fitted with large windows and plenty of power outlets that make it ideal for remote working, the industrial space nonetheless maintains a welcoming feel, partly thanks to the homey aroma of freshly baked pastries and bagels, made there daily. Two or three times a week at noon, that soft fragrance bows to the stronger scent of coffee beans, as Antonis works the roaster in the back room. – P.B.K.

Info

Dope Roasting Co.

25 Vyssis, Monastiraki

Tel. (+30) 210.321.5209

Lo-Fi concept store

The latest arrival on the trendiest street of Koukaki is a stylish design and record shop, with a love for all things analog. Lo-Fi Concept has an interesting range of jewelry, artwork and homeware, all created by its co-founders. The music section of the store has more to offer than most of its kind. Alongside an expertly curated selection of vinyl records, spanning genres from hip hop to jazz and electronica, it also stocks cassettes and offers customers the chance to press their own records on site. “Brother Singer” is the name of their home-built record-making machine, which cuts music to order onto PVC discs – playable on turntables, just like lacquer vinyl, but more hard-wearing. Check for upcoming parties, where you’ll be able to appreciate the music alongside the discerning audiophiles that make up the shop’s clientele. – A.K.

Info

38 Odyssea Androutsou

Tel (+30) 213.045.7027

loficoncept.com

Gargaretta BISTRO

Doubling as a deli that sells select products from around Greece, but with a focus on Crete in particular, Gargaretta serves locally-sourced dishes prepared following recipes from around the Mediterranean. We love the kavourmas (slow-cooked beef) from Thrace, shaped into a log with a crispy bread crust and topped with sweet potato mayo and egg; the chef’s innovative take on fish and chips, where thin slices of potatoes have been wrapped around salted cod, then fried and served with a black garlic dip; and the latest addition to the menu, the BBQ beef burger with spicy caramelized pineapple. For a bite on the go, pick up one of the salads served in glass jars, perfect for a picnic on the slopes of the Acropolis, just a short walk away. – P.B.K.

Info

Gargaretta Bistro

1 Rovertou Galli, Koukaki

Tel. (+30) 210.922.8713

Mozzart Pizza

For a long time, pizza in Athens usually involved a thick crust with a mountain of toppings. At the newly opened Mozzart Pizza, however, you’ll be treated to a slice that’s more about quality than quantity. They import cheese, cold cuts and flour from Italy, and prepare two different doughs: in the morning, they use twice-fermented pala dough, to make a focaccia-like crust for their sauce-less breakfast pizzas. Try the Mortadellina, with mortadella, ricotta and pistachios. At noon, they turn the heat up in the Italian oven, and bake classics like Margarita and Spianata. – P.B.K.

Info

Mozzart Pizza

1 Chrysospiliotissis

Tel. (+30) 210.321.4183

 

amagiccabinet.com

Many fairy tales feature a magical place or thing: a bag, a hidey-hole or a closet that contains everything the hero needs to conquer adversity and go on to lead a wonderful life, happily ever after. The new e-shop amagiccabinet.com has taken inspiration from that notion and features beauty, fashion, decorative, culinary and even pet products by well-known and up-and-coming Greek firms and brands. You’ll find, for example, scarves by Mary Katrantzou, jewelry by Minas, cosmetics made with donkey milk and honey from remote pasturelands, stylish stationery as well as many other one-of-a-kind items. The website also features brief accounts by artists and celebrities, describing what they would put in their own “magic cabinets.” – N.D.

art hotspots

Three new art spaces in and around the downtown area are well worth your attention. Located near the National Archaeological Museum, Hot Wheels Athens has already made an impact on the capital’s art scene. Its owners are artists themselves and have a good eye for talent, showcasing artists from Greece and Cyprus (41 28is Oktovriou, open Wed-Sat). For photography buffs, Luminous Eye is an exhibition space near the Acropolis that is wholly dedicated to the medium. Created by a group of avid shutterbugs, it hosts exhibitions, book presentations and other events (2A Mitsaion, Tel. (+30) 211.116.1206, open Tue-Sun). Just a few kilometers south of downtown, Tavros is a quiet residential suburb between Athens and Piraeus that few Athenians have reason to visit. But here, away from the trendy gallery clusters, the artistic duo known as Locus Athens operates a non-profit space called Tavros that showcases new art forms such as video installations (33 Anaxagora, 1st floor, Tel. (+30) 210.342.5360, open Wed-Sat.) – E.A.

redd coffee

This boutique coffee shop only serves espresso and flat white, making precision blends for every beverage ordered using state-of-the-art equipment. Quality beans, a good roast and modern technology come together to produce a great cup of java. – N.D.

Info

8 Kapsali, Kolonaki

Tel. (+30) 216.900.2141

naxos apothecary

Downtown Athens’ newest natural cosmetics and herb store draws you in with its attractive window displays and keeps you there with a wide selection of natural and homeopathic remedies, as well as a range of cosmetics from the famous Greek brand Korres. You can often see members of staff at work measuring, grinding and mixing all sorts of natural ingredients, most of which are sourced from the island of Naxos, to create a variety of weird and wonderful remedies. – N.D.

Info

3-5 Kolokotroni & Voulis

Tel. (+30) 210.722.2774

thenaxosapothecary.com

THE ARTIST Athens

This stylish hotel was once an industrial building, but has been given a dazzling makeover to cater to the creative crowd. Billing itself as a “living canvas,” The Artist Athens boasts cutting-edge design and imaginative touches from top to bottom. An impressive range of rooms and suites are complemented by a first-floor private inner yard and a third-floor roof garden bar with a view of the Acropolis and Aghios Dimitrios Church. The ground floor lounge bar and restaurant is open to both guests and the public, and spills out onto hip Melanthiou Street. – A.K. 

Info

7 Kalamida

Tel (+30) 210.323.8012

theartistathens.com

Andora cinema

Andora first opened in 1966, but stood empty for more than seven years after shutting its doors in late 2011. In 2018, this historic cinema was given a new lease of life and an extensive restoration by independent film distributors Weird Wave. In a short time, the Andora has reestablished itself on the Athens’ cinema scene, with an impressive program of celebrated arthouse titles from Europe and around the world. It also hosts regular special events for cinephiles, including the Unseen Film Festival and 2018’s screenings in celebration of the 100th anniversary of the birth of Swedish auteur Ingmar Bergman. Films are presented in their original language, with Greek subtitles, but some special screenings have additional English subtitles. Check their program online. – A.K.

Info

117 Sevastoupoleos, Ambelokipi

Tel (+30) 210.698.0796

andora.gr

morning bar & me then

Here for breakfast or shopping? The aroma of freshly baked cinnamon buns and sourdough bread fills the upstairs area, while good-quality cotton T-shirts emblazoned with statement mottos beckon the fashionistas downstairs. The brands Me Then and Morning Bar have been cozily squeezed into just a few square meters, offering good coffee, a small selection of breakfast and brunch options, fashion and urban chic decor in a space that resembles a Danish concept store. – N.D.

Info

36 Odyssea Androutsou, Koukaki


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