Six Tantalizing Takeaways
on the Athens Food Trail

Central Athens street-food menus taking diners to nirvana

Downtown Athens is filled with street food and dessert outlets offering simple and fast takeaway. Some are good, others are better; we have come up with a list of recommendations that never fail to satisfy.

Deep-fried dough pieces with honey at Lukumades

Lukumades, the traditional deep-fried dough pieces covered with honey and cinnamon, have been the latest street-food craze in Athens. At Lukumades, found on a busy corner near Ermou Street, the dough pieces are fried before your very eyes in large pots, like in the past, and served hot. Then, they are injected heartily with your favorite sweet filling. Apart from the traditional honey-and-cinnamon filling, options include praline, mastic, or ice cream with caramelized almonds. The choice is yours.

{Address: Corner of 21 Aiolou & Perikleou streets, Monastiraki}

Souvlaki at Costa’s

The best souvlaki to be found in Athens, according to most, is made by Costa. He has preserved the traditions of his grandfather, who made a name for himself in the souvlaki business back in the 1950s in the Plaka district. A lean but quality-focused approach is observed. Unlike the over-made souvlaki versions generally offered – stuffed with gyro meat, potato chips and tzatziki – the souvlaki prepared here is delicats and not as oily. The meat on offer is either minced beef or skewed pork pieces, complemented with tomato, onion, red pepper, yoghurt and parsley.

{Info: It’s best to get here early •  The place usually serves all it has to offer by 15:00-15:30 and closes for the day •  Address: 5 Pentelis Street, Syntagma}

Jacket potato at Kafti Patata

Handling hot potatoes is an experience to be avoided, some say, but at Kafti Patata, (meaning hot potato in Greek) it is an experience meant to be enjoyed. A special selection of large potatoes – cultivated by producers around Greece – reaches this place on downtown Kolokotroni Street every morning. The potatoes are baked for 1.5 hour at 300 °C in a cast-iron oven, are then filled with butter and cheese (or with just olive oil for vegans), and topped with any ingredient of your liking – the menu features 29 set varieties plus personal-choice alternatives if you so desire. Anatolian recipes coming directly from the proprietor’s Turkish wife, freshly cut salads, and the delicious grilled meat are all bonus features here. Nothing is fried.

{Info: Expect to find Kafti Patata, located in a nightlife hotspot, open until 5:00 AM on Friday and Saturday nights • Address: 37 Kolokotroni Street, Monastiraki}

Ice cream at Le Greche

Evi Papadopoulou studied the secrets of Italian gelato in its homeland and decided to fuse its secrets with Greek PDO (Protected Destination of Origin) products, such as Cretan anthotyro (a light white cheese), Corinthian raisins and Kalamata figs for her smooth-textured ice cream. Her peanut-flavored ice cream and the mascarpone with caramelized figs are top sellers. All ingredients used are fresh and the ice creams are produced daily. The best feedback she has ever had was: “You’re even better than the Italians!”

{Address: 16A Mitropoleos Street, Syntagma}

Falafel from Falafellas

What’s the deal with the never-ending queue at Falafellas on Aiolou Street? Everyone seems to be asking this question. Two friends with an interest in travel – and falafel – gathered Lebanese and Syrian traditional recipes and used them to fine-tune their own recipe, made with eggplant, cucumber, lettuce, tahini, yoghurt sauce, tomato, and red sauce. Expect to be asked how spiced-up you want your falafel to be before it is prepared at this small yet oh-so-busy place. You will need to hold on for at least five minutes before being handed your own meal.

{Info: If in a rush, avoid the peak-hours 14.00-17.00 • Falafellas is open until midnight • Address: 51 Aiolou Street, Monastiraki}

Chinese at Street Wok

The t-shirts worn by the magicians-with-woks here – tossing noodles over flames all day long – bear two slogans, “wokaholic” and “take a wok on the wild side”. The food prepared and served at Street Wok is loyal to the ways of East Asian food markets. You choose the base (egg noodles or rice, for example) then your choice of meat or vegetables, and then the sauce (choices include teriyaki, sweet chilli, and Szechuan). Asked when he felt that his venture had succeeded, the owner – who also runs two Street Wok outlets in the Athenian districts of Ambelokipi and New Erithrea – replied: “When I noticed little food bowls of mine at the airport!”

{Address: 21 Aiolou Street, Monastiraki}

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