Instant Gratification

Street food redefined, Athenian style

There are plenty of souvlaki joints all over Athens, but Kostas is perhaps the best in the city center (Mitropoleos & 5 Pentelis, Syntagma Square • Τel. +30 210.322.8502, lunch only), a place with historical roots and know-how passed down from grandfather to son to grandson. Its motto is “no stress” and its offerings are indeed well worth the wait. For sandwiches made on the spot, Metropolis (11 Voulis, Syntagma Square • Τel. +30 210.322.2122) is a good choice. The ingredients are mainly Greek, with five different types of bread and some amazing combinations (rib-eye in country-style bread with smoked Metsovo cheese). You can sit in their inviting space on the pavement or continue your walk, sandwich in hand. As you make your way closer to the Acropolis, in the Koukaki district, Guarantee (41 Veikou • Τel. +30 210.922.6924) has been pleasing palates in the same spot for the past 30 years, with dozens of choices of cold cuts and cheeses, from all over the world, and homemade sauces, which you can wash down with fresh vegetable or fruit juice. May be crowded on Saturdays. Pie Works in Kolonaki (16Α Amerikis • Τel. +30 211.184.7595) continues the long Greek tradition of homemade pies, but with some welcome twists, such as the cuttlefish and greens pie. Plenty of choice for vegetarians, including the open pie with yogurt and herbs; and spinach pie with Eggs Florentine. Shop opening hours. Ιn the hip neighborhood of the Panathenaic Stadium (“Kallimarmaro”), you should pay a visit to Tortuga (1 Archimidous, Mets • Τel. +30 213.030.7520), a food bar specializing in fresh, handmade tortillas, stuffed with marinated chicken, tender beef or vegetables in imaginative combinations. The menu changes almost weekly. You can carry on to the stadium, tortilla in hand, and enjoy your food in a quiet corner with a contrasting view of the busy avenue, or take a seat at the bar next door and pair it with a suitable cocktail. 

Μoving on to Middle Eastern flavors, Falafellas (51 Aiolou, Monastiraki • Τel. +30 210.323.9809) makes the tastiest falafel in the city, wrapped in gorgeous pita bread (two sizes), along with refreshing salads, tabbouleh and hummus. Feyrouz (23 Karori & Aiolou, Monastiraki • Τel. +30 213.031.8060) makes lachmatzoun to die for, with handmade dough topped by delicious mince meat, or try the equally tasty vegetarian version; also, marvelous peinirli and aromatic rice with chicken curry. Another popular eatery in Monastiraki is Food Street (14 Kalamiotou • Τel. +30 210.321.1003), which offers an unbeatable combination of all-time favorites… burgers, hot dogs and fish ‘n chips. Open from noon till dawn, it is understandably a hit with night-time revelers emerging from the local bars. Quick service in a buzzing atmosphere. The burger buns are a very pleasant surprise, as are the quality meat patties inside, while the tasty pork dogs are enhanced with a divine sauce. Or if your sweet tooth is acting up, in the same neighborhood visit Lukumades (21 Aiolou & Ag. Irinis, Monastiraki • Τel. +30 210.321.0880) for… loukoumades, of course, the Greek version of churros – balls of fluffy dough, deep fried and drenched in honey, with a sprinkling of cinnamon and almonds. In addition to the classic variety, you can also try their exciting new versions filled with mastiha cream, lemon cream or chocolate praline.

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