What you see upstairs is a dining area that looks like an American diner. What you won’t see is the huge smoker in the basement where meat is slow-cooked just like they do it in New Orleans.
If you’re not sure what to get, go for the brisket burger, cooked for more than 6 hours at 120 degrees. It’s served with fried potatoes or with a flavorsome New Orleans potato salad that includes onion, mayonnaise and corn. The coleslaw salad, which goes perfectly with the meat, is delicious and particularly refreshing. You won’t go thirsty, either; there’s a a selection of 35 beers from Greek microbreweries.
12 Agatharhou and Lepeniotou, Psyrri
Tel. (+30) 210.323.4672
Open: Mon-Thu 17:00-01:00, Fri-Sun 12:00-01:00
At the brand-new artisanal ice cream shop Kokkion, in Psyrri, internationally trained pastry chef Vasilis Papamattheou makes innovative flavors such as the mild raw almond and tonka bean, halva, chocolate passion fruit, tangerine ginger sorbet, and mascarpone with grape pomace and bergamot.
Before you order here, make sure you hear the day’s special.
Open: Mon-Thu 08:00-00:00, Fri 08:00-01:00, Sat 10:00-01:00, Sun 10:00-12:00.
This is a stylish rotisserie restaurant with hints of New York or Paris, although it’s actually located in Syntagma. It shares its name with a mechanical rotisserie system made up of a spit and a drive motor, or jack. The menu here is wonderfully minimalist: there are three meats (duck, chicken and porchetta), all spit-roasted; five sauces; three side dishes and two salads.
We tried the pork. It was masterfully done, its skin crispy and as delicious as the tender meat that it enveloped. The side dish of mashed potato (perfumed with truffle oil) is also a treat. The meats are served on their own or in sandwiches, and you can enjoy them with a cocktail or any one of five good Greek wines, available by the glass (from €5) or by the bottle.
Tel. (+30) 210.331.6003
Open daily 13:30-23:00, Fri-Sat until 00:00
Chef and restaurateur Ari Vezene creates trends, even though that’s the last thing on his mind. His intentions are much simpler: to serve exceptional, unpretentious food that’s never confusing. At his new Japanese pub Birdman, the dishes, cooked by chef Takaaki Otsuka, may seem unusual to the Greek guests, but they’re not hard to understand. Elements from both Japanese and Greek cuisine go into both the yakitori (chicken skewers) and the beef nigiri. And the prices are beyond reasonable.
We especially loved the chicken tempura with Japanese plum sauce, the meaty Kokoro Yakitori (skewered chicken hearts), the garlicky Gyu Tataki (seared beef), and the nigiri with wagyu beef, aged for three weeks (soon there will be more beef nigiri on the menu, and you’ll be able to choose between various cuts). The generous drinks list includes nice, stiff cocktails.
Voulis 35/Skoufou 2 (entrance from both streets)
Tel. (+30) 210.321.2800
Open: Mon-Sat 18:00-00:00
Not just any bakery, this is a French boulangerie-bistro in the heart of Kolonaki, designed by K-studio, a well-known architectural duo in Athens, and led by the internationally renowned French baker Kamel Saci. With fine French butter, organic flour and the freshest ingredients, they make delicious sandwiches on a daily basis with various kinds of bread, while serving a small comfort-food menu of American origin.
This is a place where you can choose between mac’n’cheese or fine mortadella with pistachios in focaccia bread made with salt and rosemary. Cold-pressed juices, very good coffee and unforgettable croissants with almond praline and chocolate are also served.
45 Patriarchou Ioakim, Kolonaki
Tel. (+30) 210.720.9933
Open daily 08:00-23:00
In the busy Psyrri district, which is dominated by traditional restaurants and cafés, Dos Gardenias stands out from the crowd with a look that’s vibrant and perfect for summer. Whether you take a table on the sidewalk or sit down in the colorfully decorated inside space, the Caribbean theme of this bar is present everywhere.
Beer is served in small glasses and accompanied by pinchos, snacks, as is customary in a cerveceria, and the mojitos, caipirinhas, and Cuba libres flow freely. Aside from the snacks, if you visit after 21:00 on a weekday or 20:00 on the weekend, you can pair your drink with paella, cooked in front of you on the street.
21 Ivis, Psyrri
Tel. (+30) 210.323.5349
Open: Mon-Fri 12.00-02.00, Sat 12:00-late, Sun 17:00-late.
THE PIE SHOP
Pies from all over the world are prepared in a tiny shop that brings together flavors from as far as Jamaica and Russia. We tried the beef patties – small pies with fresh minced beef, chili and spices from the Caribbean – the Spanish Hornazo de Salamanca recipe with Spanish pork ham, and the spicy chorizo in puff pastries.
A favorite is the English chicken pie with bechamel, carrot and celery in fine buttery dough. France, Tanzania and Russia (with its Coulibiac – steamed salmon fillet with rice and five spices) all make contributions to this collection of a specialized yet global food product. There are sweets, too, most using fine French pâte brisée. Pies from €3.50.
16 Voulis, Syntagma
Tel. (+30) 211.403.7328
Open: Mon-Fri 09:00-18:00, Sat 09:30-19:00.
The easiest Athens bar to fit into a packed sightseeing schedule is TYCO, which stands for “take your cocktail out” – a new concept in the city. Its cocktails, long drinks and mocktails are low-priced and meant to be enjoyed on the go, but they’re also really good, on par with many of the city’s other top bars.
Try the #4, their dressed-up and summery whiskey sour, the #5, with tequila, raspberry, pineapple and coconut cream, or, for an awesome Instagram post, get the #1, with glittery blue Curacao.
11 Romvis, Open daily 12:00-02:00.
In the hip neighborhood of Koukaki, the new Thai food joint TukTuk serves authentic asian flavors at street food prices. You may have to wait in line – but it’s absolutely worth the wait.
If you’re not against eating soup in the summer, get the tom kha kai, which is great for sharing, and the phat Thai noodles, served with extra ground peanuts, sugar, chili and lime on the side.
Tel. (+30) 211.405.1947
Open: Mon-Sat 17:30-23:30, Sun 17.00-23.30