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4 unique restaurants to savour the flavours of Athens

Ancient history, cultural heritage and the modern Olympics are just a few elements that make Athens the great city that it is. Yet another, often underrated attribute, is its Mediterranean cuisine. Reflecting its rich heritage Athens boasts a vibrant culinary scene that spans traditional Greek flavours to innovative gastronomy, The cradle of Western civilisation, as it often affectionately known, offers a diverse array of dining experiences, blending ancient traditions with modern influences.

Whether you seek a romantic rooftop dinner with panoramic views, a taste of Michelin-starred excellence, or a casual bistro experience with local charm, Athens has something for everyone. Read on to learn about four very different restaurants that capture the essence of upscale dining in Athens.

For a traditional Greek feast: Cookovaya

Cookoovaya, located in Athens’ historic Pangrati neighborhood, prides itself on culinary excellence and is known for its ‘wise cuisine’. Well-travelled Chef-Owner Periklis Koskinas emphasises simplicity and local, seasonal produce in his cooking. The apheresis-focussed menu emphasises traditional techniques to bring out and highlight natural flavours and showcase Greece’s finest ingredients from both land and sea. The restaurant’s dedication to utilising every part of the ingredients from “nose-to-tail” and “root-to-stalk” demonstrates its commitment to sustainability and culinary integrity.

Cookoovaya offers a lively, relaxed atmosphere with friendly, attentive service and an open-plan kitchen where diners can watch the culinary magic happen. The dishes, such as dorade royale carpaccio, grilled wild fennel pie, and the hearty bianco-style catch of the day, demonstrate the restaurant’s respect for tradition and celebrates the essence of Greek cuisine. Now in its tenth year, the restaurant continues to uphold its commitment to wisdom and simplicity in cooking.

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For the views: Orizontes Lycabettus

Perched at the top of Lycabettus Hill in Athens’ Kolonaki neighborhood, Orizontes Lycabettus offers diners breathtaking views of the city, the Acropolis and the Aegean Sea. This restaurant, situated at the highest point in Athens, is accessible via a funicular, providing a convenient option in hot weather. The Mediterranean-inspired menu features high-quality produce from all over Greece, with standout dishes like grilled shrimps served with a mixed seasonal salad, stir-fried mushrooms with goat’s cheese cream sauce, and a lobster linguine cooked in a homemade bisque with fresh tomato and basil.

Chef Michael Zacharis, a Piraeus native, brings his extensive experience from upscale hotels and restaurants to the restaurant. The outdoor terrace, with its crisp white linen and relaxed atmosphere, makes it an ideal spot for a romantic dinner or special occasion, set against the stunning backdrop of Athens.

For Michelin star dining: Soil

The Michelin-starred Soil restaurant located near the Panathanaic Stadium in the Pangrati neighborhood of Athens is among the top twenty in the “Global Tastemakers Awards” by Food & Wine magazine. Situated in a beautifully restored neoclassical house, the menu is rooted in sustainable gastronomy, featuring ingredients from their Alepochori garden, an hour from Athens.

Chef and Co-Owner Tasos Mantis offers a 14-course tasting menu with delicacies including oysters with Ossetra caviar, a trio of Greek berries with white asparagus ice cream, and sous vide cod fillet with a beurre blanc sauce. The ambience is serene and refined, with al fresco dining in a beautifully-lit courtyard at the rear of the property. Soil is more than just a restaurant—it’s a memorable gastronomic journey.

For modern Greek cuisine: ATENO Cook & Deli

Located on Aiolou Street, ATENO Cook & Deli embodies the essence of ‘bistronomy’, blending the relaxed ambiance of a bistro with the gastronomy of Greek cuisine. With Nikos Karathanos at the helm, Greece’s youngest ever Michelin-starred chef, you’ll enjoy innovative dishes such as Beluga lentils with tomato paste pesto and chickpeas with Bacalhau fish served in a crust of lemon leaves, rosemary and a lemon cream. Be sure also not to miss his unique twist on the Greek salad.

The venue also has a delicatessen which showcases premium produce sourced from all over Greece, available for purchase. Whether you’re grabbing a coffee, shopping for gourmet products or dining in, ATENO Cook & Deli is a great venue to visit in the heart of Athens’ historic and bustling commercial district.

Disclosure: Our trip was sponsored by AEGEAN Airlines.

Paul Johnson

Paul Johnson is Editor of A Luxury Travel Blog and has worked in the travel industry for more than 30 years. He is Winner of the Innovations in Travel ‘Best Travel Influencer’ Award from WIRED magazine. In addition to other awards, the blog has also been voted “one of the world’s best travel blogs” and “best for luxury” by The Telegraph.

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  1. My Greek friends often complain that Greek food is underrated and this post suggests that they may be right.

    1. Very true, Judy… and I’d say the same is true of Greek wine. I had always felt the latter didn’t have a great reputation, but we had a many a glass that turned that notion on its head also!

  2. After that opening image, bursting with colour and freshness, you didn’t really need to write any more. That box of fresh produce is such a great advert for Greek restaurants. A picture’s worth a thousand words as the old saying goes.

  3. You’ve obviously got a nose for sniffing out excellent restaurants.

    It would be nice to have this sort of guide for some other European cities too.

    I like it that you’ve gone for authentic Greek tastes and I’ve taken note of your comment on the quality of Greek wines.

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