Delta – A food destination that’s a leading light
Athens has never lacked good food or high-level gastronomy. However, Delta, created through the initiative of, and with a grant from, the Stavros Niarchos Foundation and housed within the glass walls of the fifth-floor “Lighthouse” at the Renzo Piano-designed Stavros Niarchos Foundation Cultural Center, isn’t just another good restaurant. It’s a gastronomic destination, and the distillation of the international experience brought by two young chefs from the three-star Michelin restaurants in Denmark and Norway where they worked.
Thanos Feskos and Giorgos Papazacharias both operate as head chefs; together with three sous-chefs and a team of cooks, pastry chefs, top sommeliers and bartenders, they make up an exciting hospitality crew equal to the high standards of the SNFCC. With attention to every detail, from the wrought-metal décor on the bar to the futuristic ceramic underplates and the six amuse-bouches which open the meal, every night here is a celebration of gastronomy. The Delta farm just outside Athens provides all the herbs, salads and edible flowers in an important first step towards sustainability. Together with other select ingredients cooked using a range of pioneering techniques, these are used in all three menus – omnivore, vegetarian and vegan – which are available with wine pairings from Greek and international vineyards. In addition to turning out bright cutting-edge culinary creations, Delta also acts as a virtual lighthouse for all local culinary talent; the achievements of its two chefs have lit the way ahead for others.
– Nena Dimitriou
364 Syngrou, Kallithea
Line – Have you ever had grapeless wine?
Its slogan is “The Method of Anarchy.” It seems the next place to be in Athens has an irreverent character. The name “Line” refers to the timeline of fermentation, the central concept behind this new venture by Nikos Bakoulis and Vasilis Kyritsis, whose cocktail bar The Clumsies is ranked no. 4 in the 50 Best Bars list, and Dimitris Dafopoulos, co-creator of the Three Cents line of artisanal sodas. Line experiments with wine, bread and beer, focusing on unexpected ingredients. The former industrial building, which until recently housed a gallery, contains a microwinery producing wines from fruit other than grapes.
The bakery makes bread with fruit as well, while the wine dregs are used to mature local cheeses, in collaboration with Greek cheesemakers. The statuette of Aphrodite isn’t just decorative; it’s also a tap for the fresh beer which the owners produce as contract brewers in a nearby microbrewery. All alcohol, and other ingredients on the menu such as syrups and cordials, are produced with sustainability in mind. This commitment also extends to the all-day café bar, which serves quality coffee and tasty food for all hours of the day as well as some great cocktails. In short, Line aspires to turn Petralona into the next hotspot.
– Nena Dimitriou
37 Agathodemonos, Kato Petralona
Normanou Street – A little shortcut to enjoyment
Normanou has always been a special case, a secret little alleyway with shades of old Athens and beautiful neoclassical buildings, some of which are derelict and graffiti-covered, others well-preserved. In the mornings, the street fills with bric-a-brac stalls: antiques, old bikes, art nouveau mirrors and lampshades, posters and artworks make for an eclectic scene. Passersby nod along to the beats of DJ parties which are frequently organized on the block.
When darkness falls, the open-air gallery closes, giving way to the nightlife. At So So So (7 Normanou), warm yourself up with a hot bowl of ramen; at Couleur Local (3 Normanou), sip on a cocktail with a view of the Acropolis; at the newly opened Norman Athens (6 Normanou), sample interesting coffee blends and aperitivos before dark. At TAF (5 Normanou), dining meets art in a multifunctional space full of little corners and curated “ruins” in the courtyard, as well as spaces for exhibitions, performances and even seminars. Athenians have been loving it for more than a decade.
– Georgia Papastamou, Marina Petridou
petraki Street – Hidden in plain sight
It’s located right in the city center, but it doesn’t feel like it. Petraki Street runs parallel to Ermou, the busiest shopping street in Athens, but manages to keep its own, laid-back rhythm. In just a short block it creates its own little scene, just a stone’s throw away from the hustle and bustle of downtown. Starting at street number 1, we find The Bar in Front of the Bar, which serves a different cocktail list every day.
On cold evenings, Hanoi (no. 12), is great stop for a steaming hot fragrant bowl of pho. If you need a quick bite, you can try a Japanese-style sandwich at Poke Hawaiian Sushi (no. 7) or try a hot cheese pie or a spinach pie with spicy feta cheese at the Pnyka traditional bakery (no. 23). Elegant and delicate, the pâtisserie Bon Bon Fait Maison (no. 30) of Kriton Poulis, who served for a decade alongside the famous chef-pâtissier Pierre Hermé, combines French techniques with Greek ingredients. The popular wine bar Heteroclito (2 Fokionos & 30 Petraki) boasts some exceptional labels and makes for an ideal spot for people-watching.
Read more about these spots here.
– Georgia Papastamou
The city is living the golden age of gluten. New bakers and pâtissiers with know-how and fresh ideas have reintroduced the public to the joys of natural yeast and the city has been filled with superb sweets and viennoiserie. It began with Kora (44 Anagnostopoulou, Kolonaki), an ultra-modern sustainability-conscious bakery which attracts lines of Athenians every morning for buns, tarts and sturdy sourdough loafs, or croissants made from fresh dough and fine French butter. The hard work of kneading takes 72 hours, but the result pays off every single time.
Croissants are also the specialty of Overoll (27 Praxitelous, Syntagma), a croissanterie offering more than ten different varieties of the item, both sweet and savory. In the near future, the hottest restaurant in town, Nolan, will acquire a sister establishment, Sweet Nolan, right next door. Antonis Selekos, the pâtissier and member of the award-winning Funky Gourmet team, has set up a delivery-only kitchen from which he will supply Athens with fine pâtisserie, while two friends with excellent CVs and a history of collaborations with fine dining restaurants across the country, Ioannis Kikiras and Evgenios Vardakastanis, are behind Noble, which will open its doors in time for the holiday season.
– Georgia Papastamou
Hip, stylish, green & tasty
Old record shops, second-hand clothing spots, coffee shops and the occasional bar were, until recently, the main components of a somewhat colorless scene on Zoodochou Pigis Street, which received its first injection of fresh life when Kopria (30 Eresou & Zoodochou Pigis), the first contemporary plant and garden store in Athens, opened on the corner with Eressou Street. On its shelves, you’ll find all those amazing plants you see in modern interiors and influential Instagram accounts. The knowledgeable team can recommend a plant for your home, or a bouquet; their flower arrangements look like something out of a fairy tale.
A few doors down, Giorgos and Iasonas sell their own brand of authentic streetwear at Mohxa (59 Zoodochou Pigis); they started by making shirts with inventive designs as a side project and, in 2013, launched with a stylish shopfront. An on-trend tribe with strong views on music and advanced skating and surfing skills has adopted their well-made clothes.
The latest talk of the street is micro-bakery Black Salami (71 Zoodochou Pigis). Who doesn’t love sourdough? Here, the cool new crowd and the long-term neighborhood residents pick up wild green pies and sourdough loaves. We recommend either the pastrami sandwich or the eggs Florentine served on a superb brioche. You’ll also find classic Greek ingredients served on bread. Saturday is a great day for a stroll along neighboring Kallidromiou, which hosts the biggest farmers’ market in Athens, and also features street musicians.
– Nena Dimitriou, Georgia Papastamou