To experience some of the best food and drink in the Greek capital—long a CH favorite for its energy and thriving start-up scene—through a local’s perspective we enlisted the help of Kiya and Demitra Babzani, who recently moved there part time. The owners of CH favorite Self Edge, they have impeccable taste and a holistic point of view. From drinking to dining and dancing, these options are thoughtful, diverse and delightful.
Coviar is a fairly new coffee roaster and cafe that opened last summer. The staff, comprised of local industry stars, built out one of the nicest set-ups in the city. The service is top-notch and the atmosphere offers a tranquil reprieve from the hectic city. A custom six-foot long Kees van der Westen espresso machine dominates the counter, and thankfully the coffee lives up to the decor.
One of the most ambitious recent ventures in Athens, Six D.o.g.s is an underground cafe and restaurant during the day and a bar-meets-club at night. There’s a bustling music venue on the first floor, a gallery and a space for pop-up shops next door. The bookings are the finest in the city and the food is far better than the usual bar or club fare. If you’re unsure what to do, day or night, go to Six D.o.g.s and the rest will sort itself out.
Warehouse Project is a lively place for drinks and small plates, complete with one of the most extensive Greek wine selections in Athens. Outdoor seating abounds and a menu of Greek-inspired small plates tantalizes. The pastourma toast is Greece’s answer to a pastrami sandwich and it’s a must.
This is the spot for Greek classics with thoughtful updates. Space is tight and reservations a must, but it’s worth the effort. Overall, Mavro Provato is one of the most compellingly authentic Greek restaurants in Athens. It’s a cafe during the day, but at night it turns into a bustling Greek restaurant doing elevated versions of traditional food. Kiya says “It may be the best Greek restaurant I’ve ever been to and it’s nearly impossible to order anything bad there.”
Traditionally in Greek tavernas you step into the kitchen, peer over a counter at what they’ve cooked that day and order your meal. Olympion, a bit of the beaten path, features classic Greek taverna fare. There is nothing fancy or fast about it, but the food and experience are both highly compelling on any visit. All kinds of characters fill the seats, making it great for people-watching too.
A true neighborhood spot, Lotte bistro bar is hidden on a residential street in Athen’s Koukaki neighborhood. It’s a cozy bar where the cocktails are the main event. A slightly kitsch interior houses no-frills dishes, classic drinks and a bit of home-like comfort.
One of the city’s best bakeries, Takis offers sweet and savory delights—many of which the staff makes in bite-sizes so visitors can sample them. We suggest grabbing a stuffed sesame bread or mushroom phyllo pie and heading to Drupes and Drips across the street for an espresso. This an unrivaled morning ritual in Athens and will set you up for a proper day of exploration.
Images courtesy of respective venues