Sep 18, 2023
Finding a restaurant in Athens is not hard! The city is full of great places to eat at. But we are not talking about fine dining or modern Greek food. We are talking about taverans.
If you are wanting the local experience away from the hustle and bustle of the city centre, then keep reading, as we have picked what we think are the 5 best tavernas in Athens.
What is a Taverna
A taverna is a Greek restaurant that serves you typical Greek food. This will range from traditional pork and chicken dishes, dips, Greek salads and seafood.
Tables are covered in a paper table cloth and clipped to your table. Cutlery and serviettes are put in a small container, and drinks and salads arrive at your table within seconds of ordering. If you are starving for food, then the local taverna is where you want to be.
Dont forget to ask for some Raki or Tsipouro with your meal. Its a bit like rocket fuel but with ice, it goes down a treat.
When eating at a taverna, all meals a shared. Its like a larger version of meze.
When drinking beer, its a custom to order 1 beer at a time and share it amongst the beer drinkers. As the bottle is finished, another is ordered. This works a treat during the summer months, as the beer stays cold and is drunk a lot faster. It works a lot better than each person ordering their own beer.
Located in the suburb of Koukai (just behind the Acropolis), sitting in the middle of one of Koukakis pedestrian walkways is Lolo's. It is one of the favourite tavernas in the suburb, and is busy all day and night.
Lolo's serve some delicious traditional Greek food with highlights being, pork brizola, calamari, tzatziki and a great dakos salad.
If you are after dips besides tzatziki, they serve a great fava dip and tirokafteri dip (spicy feta cheese).
The restaurant gets very busy, but just approach the staff (they speak English) and they will make sure you will get a table. Expect to wait for a table, as there is no set time limit on the tables, so people can talk and eat for hours. While you wait for a table, you are able to order drinks while you wait for you table.
If you are lucky, the locals may bring down their bouzouki and you will witness an impromptu concert.
Located on the border of Psyrri and Monosteraki is Atlanticos. This taverna serves only seafood and has, over the years become a go to spot not only for locals but for tourists as well.
The taverna is located in a little side alley with tables spilling out on to the road and sidewalk (they have had to expand over the years due to their popularity).
Their tsipouro is beautiful, nice and clean and with ice, it goes down a treat.
In regards to dips, try their garlic dip (skorlodia) which goes well with the horta (village greens!)
Their octopus in vinegar, grilled octopus, saganaki prawns and grilled sea bass are the highlights off of their menu.
Their service is fast and great, and the staff will make sure you will get a table!
Located in the bustling suburb of Psyrri, Nikitas is a must visit when walking around the centre of Athens.
It is always busy, but the staff will do their best to get you a table as quickly as possible.
Sofia, one of the owners runs a tight ship, making sure everyone has gotten their order and is being looked after.
All their dishes are delicious, but their highlights are Chicken ribs (direct translation, but its juicy chicken left on the bone), Chicken souvla - spinning chicken meat slowly cooked and based in herbs, and lastly their various dishes of cheese wrapped in pastry covered in honey!
This tradiational taverna does not take bookings, so turn up, have a chat to the staff and try your luck!
The restaurant has both indoor and outdoor seating available, but try and get a table outdoors in the front of the restaurant!
If meat is what you are after then Kaderina is where you need to be. Located in the central suburb of Petralona, Kaderina serves some beautiful meat platters that are large and full of different cuts of juicy meats.
Their highlight are their dakos salad served with plump tomatoes and creamy feta cheese. Their traditional dishes of lamb chops and pork souvlaki are also to die for.
The taverna is open aired and tables and chairs are spread out over their courtyard creating a great dinner experience.
Kaderina takes booking, so it is best to book a table, especially on the weekends!
Located in the outer suburb of Galatsi, The Shepherdess is one of the best places in the area. It is well worth the short taxi ride from the city centre to get away from the tourists and enjoy a dinner with the locals.
The Shepherdess has been around for years and is known for their calssic Greek grilled meat dishes.
Their mix platter of souvla (pork or chicke), souvlaki and gyro meat is a must try along with their lamb chops (2kg's should be enough!). Everything is cooked & marinated to perfection.
2 dishes you must not pass up is the kokoretsi and the liver. Both are seasoned perfectly and cooked to perfection.
The restaurant is located in a nice courtyard and their locally made Greek wine goes down a treat.
The taverna is very very popular, so its best to book a table!