Vouliagmeni’s best restaurants right now
From classic spots you know and love to the Athenian Coast’s trailblazers, here is our compilation of dining options in Athens’ preferred summering destination, Vouliagmeni. They may be good-value-for-money, a reliable source of fun, or temples of fine dining – but they all define and capture Vouliagmeni’s classy spirit and island-in-the-city vibe.
The launch of Four Seasons Astir Palace doesn’t just raise Vouliagmeni’s glam quotient, it translates as elevated dining options with world-class chefs. With four new restaurants, two all-day café lounges, a cigar lounge and Matsuhisa on its grounds, we’re spoilt for choice!
First off, Mercato makes up for a much-needed Italian trattoria in the Southern suburbs with wholesome Tuscan cuisine on the waterfront. There is something soul-warming about a carb-filled plate of pasta, cheese and cured meats and Chef Roberto Cannato knows exactly how to whisk your senses away with a unique take on comfort food. A spritzeria for your summer quaffs, a deli counter, an outdoor pizza oven, killer views and a wine list to match – need we say more? At extremely accessible prices too.
For a melting pot of Latin American accents head to Helios. Revel in the subtle freshness of ceviche, tinged with just the right doses of piquancy and zest for an explosive burst of flavours, with a view that spills beyond its olive-lined pools to the Saronic Gulf. The bar is a delightful cocktails lab where bartenders flaunt their imaginative, alchemist skills, making full use of the continent’s famed spirits and pantry of exotic fruits to concoct some impressive swigs. Plus salsa lovers take note, Helios comes alive to the sounds of live Latin music on Friday nights.
At Pelagos, Greek for ocean, even before menus are consulted, guests are treated to a ‘kalosorisma’ or a welcome bite – a palate-teaser for what is to follow. From the briny goodness of sea urchins to the subtle flavours of fresh mussels cooked in Santorini’s bone-dry Assyrtiko wine, the menu at Pelagos is unpretentious, yet sophisticated. The robata grill here holds centre stage, so expect a chat with the chef to turn into an impromptu master class.
As any food lover will testify, the finesse in presenting a seemingly simple dish lies as much on the quality of the ingredients as on the mastery of cooking techniques, executed with precision. Taverna 37 perched on the water, serves a stormy sea of Greek seafood treats and taverna fare with flair. The taramosalata is perfectly buttery and briny, the grilled fish, deboned and drizzled with extra virgin olive oil. Greek cuisine celebrated here in all its refined simplicity.
Nobu’s Matsuhisa at the Four Seasons Hotel Complex with its sublime, refined Japanese-Peruvian cuisine remains a destination of choice for its spectacular setting as for its legendary black cod in miso that must surely feature on every foodie’s bucket list.
For clubbing, celebrity-spotting, all-night parties that rival Mykonos and Ibiza, and meals cooked by a roster of the best chefs in the city, look no further than Island. Island is the definitive beach club: it teeters on the edge of a dazzling bay, on its own little peninsula, on the outskirts of Vouliagmeni, frequented by celebs, models and princes; replete with white loungers, billowing gazebos, potted palms.
Wednesday nights throughout the summer are reserved for guest chefs (including Nikos Karathanos of Cookoovaya and Ioannis Parikos of Varoulko Seaside), so make sure you book ahead. La Luz on Sunday nights has now been established as a weekly summer tradition where Island’s flamboyant host Chryssanthos Panas is often spotted in the company of fashion designers, Hollywood A-listers and Greek rockstars. Guests in June included German fashion designer Phillip Plein and the inimitable Jean-Claude Jitrois who has dressed Joan Collins and Cher amongst others in his iconic leather ‘second-skins’.
A new addition to Vouliagmeni’s dining scene is Nerõ at the cavernous Vouliagmeni Lake. The Il Barretto team bring their expertise to this most exquisite of settings. Dinner on the teak deck skirting the lake with the illuminated rocks is an experience unlike any other – this is the venue to declare undying love, or at the very least, to make amends for forgotten anniversaries.
In Vouliagmeni, the expansive beach-rimmed bay, lolling in turquoise splendour commands the eye. The sandy stretches that hug the narrow isthmus draw Athenians here on a Sunday to swim, windsurf or sail – or simply to enjoy long lunches of local fish.
One of the oldest seafood destinations in Vouliagmeni has been Garbi, which started life as a humble eatery for fishermen in 1924, and fast gained a reputation amongst celebrities and tourists. When the restaurant had to relocate from the current Astir Beach in the late ‘50s, it moved to Kavouri, where it is run today by founder Petros Garbi’s three daughters and their children. With a passion for food and hospitality (the staff here uncannily remember your name and culinary preferences), Garbi attracts not just locals from the southern suburbs, but from all over Athens.
At Astir Beach, dining options include waiter service to parasoled sunbeds by Nice n Easy. Dimitris Christoforidis and Chris Athanassiadis bring their organic and healthy-gourmet philosophy southside. The newly launched Astir Beach Bar promises cocktails on the water and downtempo dance music by DJs on Thursdays and Saturdays.
Succumb to the pleasures of day-to-dusk beach-side dining at 40 at Astir Beach. Now in its fourth year, 40 has established itself as the go-to place for accessible, gourmet meals. Start off your day at the beach with an on-trend almond chia pudding drizzled with agave syrup to boost your chi, or good old scrambled eggs for comfort while you watch chiseled beach bods flaunt their stuff. Waiters ply burgers, pizzas, light salads and sashimi to keep you and your family fueled up at your sunbed or at the restaurant. Book ahead to access the restaurant, even after the beach is closed to the public at 8pm. Head Chef Yiannis Markadakis, who also helms the other restaurants of the group (Papillon in Psychico, Dock and 1937 at the Vouliagmeni Nautical Club) crafts a menu that boasts such enticing suggestions as King crab and mango tartare, lobster and Wagyu beef steak, seared to perfection.
1937 is styled as an ouzeri, serving traditional Greek staples and is open until 8 in the evening while Dock is an all-day bar restaurant, open at night for cocktails and dinner on the jetty. Omilos, also at the Nautical Club of Vouliagmeni and En Plo at Vouliagmeni Residents’ Nautical Club NOKB offer a terrific perch to watch young children bounce off water glides or navigate their little Optimists.
Just below En Plo is Blue Fish. Chef George Oikonomidis reworks the magic with which he wooed tourists and locals on Paros and brings his unique brand of Mediterranean-Japanese seafood cuisine to Blue Fish. Its stone walls, white tables and rustic décor sets the tone for an unhurried meal. This is the closest you can get to having a meal on the water and the food here is a delightfully engaging play on textures and flavours. Perfect for pre-or post-swim meals or indeed, in between dips!
For fine dining, Ithaki suspended on a cliff above Astir Beach is well worth the splurge for special occasions. The view, the service and the engagingly creative cuisine, beautifully plated, is a winning formula for special occasions.
Moorings at the Astir Marina is a good pit stop for coffees, cocktails and gourmet meals with a side-order of yacht-envy. Work out your excesses by strolling along the harbour and taking in some serious eye-candy – no leaky fishing boats here, just gleaming, million-dollar sleek yachts.
Krabo, is a beautiful secluded cove equipped with sundecks, cocktails and a sophisticated dining experience. For ouzo and mezes, Sardellaki, has established itself as a great value-for-money neo-taverna. Only glitch: they follow a strict no-reservations policy, so you cannot book ahead.
The 130-year old Lambros, a steady point of reference in every sepia-tinted image of Vouliagmeni, still has a cachet for Athenians who head there to relive the nostalgia of Sunday family lunches. For daily meals, locals flock to the family-run Louizidis on Vouliagmeni’s main square, which has fed generations with good, wholesome Greek staples for years. Zaxos which used to be souvlaki king for 25 years now faces stiff competition from newcomers.
Ermina’s More than Meat being a case in point. You know there is thought and emotion invested in a restaurant when it’s a mother of four who runs the show. Ermina Vassiliadou’s eponymous restaurant in Vouliagmeni’s café strip seems like an extension of your home kitchen, only infinitely yummier. Everything at Ermina’s More than Meat is meticulously hand-picked, the chicken is free-range, the meat sourced from two trusted butchers, the potato wedges are sliced by hand and it comes through in a joyous celebration of simple, healthy eating. The atmosphere is convivial. Vouliagmeni locals have embraced it, and its proving to be a popular draw for tourists too.
Lagom, Social Eats and Drinks introduces daring, innovative experimentation to Mediterranean cuisine with a refined take on classic dishes. Everything here exudes discreet luxury. The décor is understated with roughly-hewn green marble and wood accents. The food here is subtle and sublime without being intimidatingly pretentious. Lagom, after all stands for ‘just so, no more, no less’. The starters are generous portions to be shared. The crunchy-on-the-outside, gooey-on-the-inside, crusted poached eggs with curry vinaigrette hits all the right notes. That play on textures with a punchy umami comes through in the impeccably seasoned Rib-Eye steak too. Wash it down with a selection of Greece’s finest wines.
For coffees and in-between meals, the strip that runs parallel to the main coastal road is a 24-hour caffeine zone and most locals split time between the most popular cafes to catch up with newspapers and friends. Aquamarina is a Vouliagmeni ‘institution’ with its old-fashioned charms and retro green rexine chairs, reputed for its meringues and millefeuilles, popular with the older generation. Sloop is a laid-back hangout with good coffee, attentive service, an incredible view to the limpid Saronic bay and the crunchiest potato wedges! Rumors at the far-end is a fave ‘steki’ for young professionals who work in the neighborhood. Waffle House is a family pleaser and is packed to the gills any given time of the day, throughout the year. The local bakery Artopolis doubles up as Café Philip and serves light snacks and salads throughout the day.
Four Seasons Astir Palace Hotel, Apollonos 40
- Matsuhisa Athens
- Ithaki Restaurant
- BlueFish Restaurant
Leoforos Poseidonos 4
- Aqua Marina
Agiou Panteleimonos 15
Tel : 210.896.3480
- Sloop Cafe
Agiou Panteleimonos 17
Agiou Panteleimonos 17
- Louizidis Taverna
- Ermina’s More Than Meat
Agiou Panteleimonos 15
- 40 Forty
Vouliagmeni Lake, Ethniki Odos Athinon Souniou
- Philip by Artópolis
On the way from Vouliagmeni to Varkiza