Long gone are the days when Athens left exotic food lovers upset and hungry; the capital now plays gracious host to a mouthwatering and multi-colored abundance of restaurants, with menus featuring a plethora of dishes from around the planet. Fortunately, a satisfying selection of them is located just minutes off Syntagma Square, making a trip to the town center even more rewarding.
As exotic aromas waft through the air you could easily let your nose be your guide, but just to make sure you don’t miss out on anything, we suggest you take a look at our guide too!
Furin Kazan – UPDATE: Furin Kazan has closed (although there is a possibility it may reopen under new management)
An old-time favorite restaurant for Athenians – and one of the very first of its kind and beloved for its authentic tastes – Furin Kazan serves mouth-watering sushi, sashimi and nigiri platters, as well as a serious selection of classic Japanese salads, soups, vegetable dishes, fluffy tempura and traditionally grilled or stewed meats and seafood.
INFO | 2 Apollonos St • Tel: (+30) 210. 322.9170
A colorful variety of soups, noodle and rice dishes, spicy, sour and sweet sauces inspired by East Asian traditional and contemporary cuisine, this restaurant is a dumpling-lover’s go-to food haven, as it offers several choices of steamed and fried dumplings with meat, seafood and vegetable fillings.
INFO | 13 Nikis St • Tel: (+30) 211. 215.9352
Traditional, authentic Korean BBQ dishes with sticky sweet and savory sauces, chili-pickled kimchi cabbage salad, pork bulgogi and many more classic Korean dishes never fail to draw Asian residents and tourists looking for the real thing. The menu also includes a choice of sushi dishes.
INFO | 33 Voulis St • Tel: (+30) 210. 323.3330
There are only 5-6 tables in this Cantonese restaurant, which are usually occupied, and often by Asian tourists. Here you will find reasonably priced and chiefly authentic, classic Chinese dishes. The menu includes a few Thai specials and a good variety of Japanese sushi options, as well as a tasty choice of Dim Sum dishes accompanied by tea.
INFO | 2 Apollonos St • Τel: (+30) 210. 321.1218
Fresh and individual in both concept and execution of its innovative dishes, Nolan’s Greek-Japanese owner and chef combines ingredients and flavors from the Mediterranean with those of Japanese and Vietnamese street food. Dishes such as clams with peanuts and zucchini with aged Naxos cheese will surprise and comfort your taste buds at the same time.
INFO | 31-33 Voulis St • Tel: (+30) 210. 324.3545
A recent arrival on the Athenian sushi scene, Aji serves all the classic temaki and hosomaki favorites, as well as many uramaki (‘inside out’) rolls and its more modern, creative ‘prime rolls’, like smoked salmon mango rolls or dragon, with eel and avocado, to be enjoyed in a modern, minimal and polished setting.
INFO | 18 Ermou & Diomeias • Tel: (+30) 211.212.5535
As well as being a top quality sushi joint, dinky Sushimou is also a sushi-making workshop area where you can eat and learn, enjoying the rush of taking timed tests for presenting your newly acquired skills, like preparing a perfect combination platter for two in 10 minutes flat. The menu is printed every day depending on what fresh fish is available to the chef.
INFO | 6 Skoufou St • Tel: 211. 407.8457
Babaji Indian Food
Instead of a ‘souvlaki ap’ola’ (the classic Greek pitta wrap stuffed with gyros meat, tomato, onions, chips and tzatziki sauce) pop into Babaji for an Indian souvlaki – both the tandoori chicken and the vegetarian falafel version are really tasty, huge and cost next to nothing. The restaurant also serves classic Indian dishes – from the usual starters such as naan bread, papadams and samosas to saucy mains like chicken madras and saag paneer.
INFO | 11Nikis St • Tel: (+30) 210. 325.4841
SOUTH AMERICAN CUISINE
Fresh, spicy and pungent flavors and traditional, homemade tortillas are on offer at this self-service restaurant, where authenticity is a big priority. A good way to sample a variety of flavors is by ordering the taco palooza platter, on which seven tacos are each topped with one of the fillings created by the chefs: pulled pork, chicken, mushroom and corn, lamb, fish and chorizo with sweet potato.
INFO | 10 Petraki St • Tel: (+30) 211. 216.7081
Already popular for their homemade guacamole and tangy margaritas, Grexico combines local ingredients with Mexican street food flavors and offers a fast, pleasant and affordable pit-stop while zapping around the center. The fresh sweet corn, cheese and cabbage, or black bean, tomato salsa and avocado salads, cheesy, spicy tacos and hit-the-spot burritos are easy to gobble down in a hurry.
INFO | 4 Fokionos St • Tel: (+30) 210. 331.5540
Now you can also get your teeth into Venezuelan and Colombian street foods in Syntagma, but make sure to bring some toothpicks along after eating an Arepa Chiccharron – a crispy disk-like sandwich made with corn or maize flour that’s stuffed with crunchy pork belly, avocado, tomato, onion and ‘secret mayo’. With a menu rich in empanadas and arepas, pasapalos as well as smoothies, mocktails, cocktails and beers (as well as a range of cigars!), Los Loros is definitely offering Athenians something new.
INFO | 14 Xenofondos & Nikis • Tel: (+30) 210. 324.3232
La Pantera Negra
Definitely not for those on a budget, this trendy rock-and-ceviche restaurant is Athens’ first introduction to Peruvian Nikkei cuisine, a culinary tradition that developed from Peru’s Japanese population (the second largest in South America after Brazil). Delicate dishes based on meats and fresh fish with herbs, lime, chili, sweet corn and root vegetables like yucca star on the menu, as does the ‘leche de tigre’ ceviche marinade and pisco (Peruvian rum) cocktails.
INFO | 6 Kalogrioni • Tel: (+30) 213. 036.4214