Where to Dine in Athens … Right Now!
Athens’ giddy food revolution is in overdrive. From grill-houses where meat rules the roost to retro meze mansions and gourmet enclaves, Athens Insider breaks it down to the coolest 6 most eligible new dining addresses for you to discover.
Captained by Thodoris Papanikolaou – the gastro-genius who brought us such sophisticated tastes at Sense Fine Dining at AthensWas – Parla has just taken up residence in a charming aristocratic dwelling in Kifissia (next door to Cava Vinifera). Lovers of top-notch Italian cuisine (and face it, isn’t that pretty much everyone?) will find much to delight their palate on a menu which champions the fulsome flavours of the Tuscany and Emilia Romagna regions through a repertoire of home-made pastas, meat and fish dishes and Papanikolaou’s trademark avant-garde creations. Go to enjoy simply superb food in a stylish setting and during the summer season, try to snare a table in the dreamy garden courtyard. Esteemed bar-star Andreas Dimitropoulos has crafted an Italian-tilted cocktail list that you’ll want to get on friendly terms with, especially the spicy Ciao Bello! As the name suggests, newcomer Parla has given Athens’ foodies much to talk about!
Leoforos Kifissias 317, Kifissia, Tel. +30 210.620.2890
Escape the city to elegant Kifissia and road test another of this northern enclave’s latest culinary additions, Chapter. Greek head chef Nikos Vlakakis and his cooking crew are bringing it back to basics at this chic eatery by refining simple, but beautiful dishes like marinated pork tenderloin and chicken wings smothered in barbecue sauce. Chapter smartly combines space with taste to create a warm environment with some sumptuous fare, not to mention great service and wine to match. Decked out with trendy art and a modern design, Chapter is a swanky and welcome expansion of Kifissia’s vibrant foodie scene.
Pl. St. Agios Dimitrios 17, Kifissia. Tel. +30 210.801.6208
Lefkes on the side
Cresting off his success in Santorini, gourmet innovator Tasos Doumas and his team have opened up shop right here in Athens, bringing with them a welcome taste of the Cycladic via a lush garden, vintage decorations lining the walls and loads of natural light. Lefkes exhibits an impressive, state-of-the-art open kitchen decorated in marble where workshops and tastings are held. Try the chef’s own favourite: the beef tagliata (thinly sliced steak) served with Peruvian potatoes, or for a more Greek taste: the kebabakia on smashed aubergines. There’s an on-site butcher shop and market space where diners can buy meats, dishes and utensils from the restaurant to test their culinary mettle at home.
Leof. Galatsiou 98, Galatsi. Tel. +30 210.293.4633
De Sxara is the younger brother to Kifissia’s well-known Zambri, with the familial distinction being that here, meat rules the roost. This popular new “meat boutique” sports a memorable ambiance, created by a classical cathedral design under a domed ceiling, adorned with hanging ropes. Meanwhile, the menu emphasizes meat heroes such as the juicy, 33-month aged strip steak and the US-imported Tomahawk, all prepared by talented chef Stavros Skarpinakis (although there are plenty of other options for those who prefer to avoid red flesh). De Sxara is open until 2am, but you can experience daily between noon and 6pm, De Sxara’s spread of ten traditional dishes inspired by “meals any Greek mother might make”. Do take advantage of the robust wine cellar, featuring 50 labels, mainly from Greek vineyards.
Ag. Tryphon 15 Kifissia, Tel. +30 210.808.0647
In the center of chic Kolonaki, Meze Kolonaki is fighting the grain by going retro. With vintage items from times past lining the shelves, old Greek advertisements on the walls, and old-fashioned lights draped from the ceiling, this old-timey site injects charisma into the Kolonaki shopping strip. Its Mediterranean menu is made up of rustic comfort dishes like octopus vinegar and fried feta cheese with rosemary grilled sausage and homemade tomato jam. Meanwhile, every Friday and Saturday night, Meze Kolonaki hosts popular live music as it morphs into a late-night bar.
Karneadou 25-29, Kolonaki. Tel. +30 210.721.9782
Were a butcher and tattoo artist to build a home together, it might look something like Jack Spit, a quite literal temple of meat between Syntagma and Plaka. On one side of the restaurant is a shrine decorated with meats roasting on a rotisserie spit. On the other, radiant lights trace the windows with a red neon heart that looks as though it were traced from a sailor’s arm emblazoned above the door. The menu is a salute to barbecue the world over, conjuring dishes like the duck with Jack Daniel’s marinade. All meats from the spit can also be served on a brioche bun.
Skoufou 10, Athens. Tel. +30 210.331.6003