From hidden gems to historic institutions, our curated list of Athens’ best traditional taverns offers a guaranteed authentic Greek dining experience. Get ready to explore the vibrant tapestry of Athenian gastronomy as we guide you through the city’s most cherished and timeless restaurants.
Athens, the historic and vibrant capital of Greece, is a city steeped in rich cultural traditions.
But a journey through Athens isn’t complete without a visit to the traditional Greek tavernas.
Here, time-honored recipes, warm hospitality, and a deep sense of community come together to create an experience that transcends mere dining.
These charming establishments, often hidden amidst the labyrinthine lanes of the city, are the heart and soul of Greek gastronomy and hospitality.
Whether you’re craving classic moussaka, succulent grilled meats, or homemade delights, these eateries offer a taste of old-world Athens, rich in flavors and nostalgia.
Get ready to explore the vibrant tapestry of Athenian gastronomy as we guide you through the city’s most cherished and timeless taverns.
Map of the Top 10 Traditional Taverns in Athens
Before we continue, be sure to check out our comprehensive guides to enhance your Athens trip:
- Navigate with Ease: Discover the most reliable Uber services in Athens.
- Your Ideal Stay: Explore the top 10 neighborhoods for the perfect accommodation.
- Athens Survival Guide: Master your visit with our essential tips for first-timers.
Diporto is arguably one of Athens’ most historic eateries, a renowned “underground tavern” as mentioned by poet Kostas Varnalis in his poem “The Fated.”
It is located in the heart of Athens, on Platia Theatrou (Theatre Square).
Housed in the basement of a building dating back to 1880, it has been in operation since the early 20th century.
Without prominent signage but with two entrances (hence the name Diporto, meaning “two doors” in Greek), it offers a limited but exquisite menu.
Diporto boasts exceptional ingredients, benefiting from its proximity to Varvakeios, the largest municipal market in central Athens.
It’s not a place known for menu variety; instead, it excels in serving a few, meticulously prepared dishes: chickpea stew, bean soup, Greek-style potato stew, giouvetsi (a Greek dish made with beef or lamb and pasta), grilled and fried fish, and braised greens.
What truly prevails is the sense of being transported to the old, almost forgotten heart of Athens.
Must-tries at Diporto include the chickpea soup and the fried fresh fish.
9. Oikonomou Tavern
Another historic tavern in Athens, Oikonomou has been serving authentic Greek cuisine since 1930.
Oikonomou is holding its spot at the crossroads of Troon and Kydanidon, just across from the Zephyros open-air cinema in Ano Petralona.
Here, you won’t find fried dishes on the menu; instead, traditional Greek fare takes central stage, featuring classic dishes cooked in pots, in the oven, or in homemade pies.
All of Oikonomou’s dishes are prepared with high-quality olive oil and top-notch ingredients.
Under the stewardship of current owner Kostas Diamantis since 1990, Oikonomou Tavern has preserved its place as one of the best taverns in Athens, making it a timeless haunt for intellectuals and artists alike.
It’s a go-to choice for those seeking a taste of traditional Greek cuisine.
Oikonomou’s menu offers dishes like baked Imam Bayildi (stuffed eggplant), lamb baked with potatoes, rooster in wine sauce, beef or rabbit stew, and more.
You must try the delicious rooster in wine sauce with pasta and the cabbage rolls stuffed with rice and meat.
8. Tavern Leloudas Votanikos
Discover the culinary heritage of Tavern Leloudas, one of the best taverns in Athens, with roots dating back to 1928.
Nestled in Votanikos, an industrialized worker’s neighborhood, this family-owned hidden gem offers a feast of authentic Greek flavors.
Meet Dimitris Leloudas, the third-generation owner and oenology expert who ensures the wine selection is as remarkable as the cuisine.
Indulge in savory dishes like fresh minced meat meatballs, crispy zygouri cheese, and relish organic fava beans.
For a side, enjoy fried Naxos potatoes with dry Kalavryta mizithra cheese.
Finish your meal with grapes from Mesogeia or a sweet baked plum.
Tavern Leloudas has been honored to host notable figures, creating a blend of tradition and innovation that’s enchanting.
Must-tries include chickpeas roasted alongside herring, and garlic-infused cod.
7. Kitsoulas Tavern
Situated in Chalandri, Kitsoulas Tavern has been one of the best taverns in Athens since 1946, serving up genuine Greek flavors.
The restaurant’s authentic atmosphere combines with a warm environment and an extensive selection of classic Greek dishes.
Expect to taste traditional favorites like giouvetsi, moussaka, pies, stew, braised beef, pastitsio, as well as grilled fish and meats among the many offerings on their rich menu.
Especially on weekends, reserving a table is essential, as Kitsoulas Tavern, beloved by regular patrons, continually enhances its reputation, making securing a table a bit of a challenge.
It’s also an excellent excuse to take a stroll beyond the center of Athens and explore the charming neighborhood of Chalandri.
Discover the essence of Greek cuisine at Kitsoulas Tavern, where tradition meets mouthwatering taste.
You shouldn’t miss the opportunity to try the zucchini stuffed with rice and minced meat and the lamb fricassee.
6. Epirus Tavern
Would you like to savor some authentic hot soup in the heart of Athens?
Look no further than Oinomageireio Epirus, a charming tavern nestled within the historic Varvakeios Municipal Market of Athens.
This hidden gem is the epitome of traditional Greek cuisine, specializing in serving hearty, home-cooked meals.
It proudly stands as the sole surviving establishment in this location, carrying forward a rich culinary tradition.
In fact, it’s whispered that even the renowned chef Jamie Oliver himself couldn’t resist the allure of their fricassee and the unique Greek soup made from lamb offal!
Epirus is celebrated for its diverse array of soul-warming soups.
On their menu, you’ll find a tantalizing selection of Greek soups, all lovingly prepared to satisfy your cravings for authentic Greek flavors.
My personal favorites are the tripe soup, and the offal soup, a dish traditionally eaten during Easter in Greece.
Rozalia Tavern, a downtown favorite, situated in the Exarcheia neighborhood, continues to be one of the best taverns in Athens.
Frequented by luminaries like the great Greek painter Giannis Tsarouchis in its heyday, this charming eatery transports you to a village-like setting, complete with olive and mulberry trees.
Since 1978, the owner, Mr. Achilles Sevastopoulos, has nurtured a green oasis in the heart of Athens.
Upon arrival, enjoy a platter featuring 16 delectable dishes, including the signature Rozalia salad, pasturma pie, and delicious meatballs.
The warm appetizers are a treat, especially the flavourful mushrooms, honey-drizzled kaltzounia, Cretan marathopita, and airy fried zucchini sticks.
Grilled and cooked dishes shine, featuring succulent lamb, tender braised veal, and more.
End your meal with homemade delights like traditional orange pie, and semolina-based halva.
If I had to choose one dish only from their huge menu, I would go with the burger stuffed with red peppers and feta cheese.
4. Filippou Restaurant
Nestled in the heart of Kolonaki, Filippou’s Restaurant has remained a beloved neighborhood institution since its establishment in 1923.
Stepping into this charming eatery is like taking a step back in time.
Here, the ambiance exudes warmth and hospitality reminiscent of an old-world tavern.
The atmosphere at Filippou’s Tavern is a delightful blend of old-world charm, where white tablecloths are elegantly set.
Decorating the walls are vintage photographs that tell the story of a time when Filippou’s was a humble tavern with barrels and dirt floors, frequented by famous patrons.
Expect nothing less than “mom’s” dishes – hearty, comforting, and true to tradition.
If you’re seeking haute cuisine or avant-garde creations, you won’t find them here.
Instead, Filippou’s Tavern serves up simple yet delectable meals, featuring fresh ingredients and classic cooking techniques.
It’s the perfect place to taste the essence of Greek comfort food in a nostalgic setting.
You must try the shrimp giouvetsi (with pasta and tomato sauce cooked in the oven).
Olympion is a delightful family-style eatery with a devoted local following.
It is located just behind the Temple of Olympian Zeus in the neighborhood of Mets.
This restaurant has been serving its patrons diligently daily, except Sundays, since 2001, when it replaced an auto repair shop.
Olympion specializes in hearty, down-to-earth fare that satisfies the soul.
The menu, resembling a well-worn piece of paper, changes quite frequently, following the seasons with a familiar, homey touch.
Mrs. Eleni’s specialties include moussaka, stuffed cabbage rolls, imam bayildi (stuffed eggplant), and eggplant with chickpeas.
You can always find grilled fish, liver, and the day’s dish, often leaving you wishing for a bowl of homemade chicken soup.
It’s a local favorite that offers a taste of authentic Greek cuisine.
My personal favorite is the sofrito veal, a traditional dish of Corfu.
2. Nikiforos Tavern
Nikiforos Tavern is conveniently located next to Panormou Metro Station, tucked away in a tranquil alley.
It’s a classic family-run establishment, characterized by white tablecloths and spacious interiors.
During lunchtime, you’ll often find students, nearby office workers, and passersby enjoying hearty homemade dishes to-go.
In the evenings, Nikiforos Tavern takes on a more formal ambiance, attracting larger groups, families, and celebrations.
During the summer months, outdoor tables line the pedestrian walkway.
The Stavrakaki family, owners of the tavern, source many of their ingredients from Crete, including olive oil, wine, cheeses, snails, artichokes, and meats.
Locals are drawn here for the generous portions of homemade specialties.
The highlights include pastitsio, moussaka, lasagna with minced meat and eggplant, and a wide variety of daily specials.
The well-prepared grilled meats, particularly the lamb chops and meatballs, are served with a fresh tomato sauce that’s a local favorite.
Must-tries include yalanji dumplings (stuffed grape leaves) and smoked pork from Rethymno.
Established by Christos Kaskavelis in 1968, Ramona is located at the corner of Agion Panton and Esperidon streets in Kallithea.
In 1974, it relocated to 11-13 Minos Street but remained in the basement, embracing Kaskavelis’ philosophy that great tavernas should be somewhat concealed.
Ramona’s ambiance evokes old Athens, complete with barrels and carafes.
The menu offers an array of home-cooked dishes, grilled meats, and refreshing salads.
During weekends, it transforms into a lively gathering spot.
Highlights include velvety fava bean dip, succulent beef stew, vegetable meatballs, and an array of grilled meats.
The bill is always reasonable and often includes a sweet treat (halva or ravani).
On live music nights, Ramona becomes an energy hub, fostering a sense of community.
On other days, a jukebox provides the soundtrack.
Ramona remains one of the best taverns in Athens, capturing the essence of traditional Greek cuisine and liveliness.
You must try the rabbit stew, the chicken ribs, and the sheftalia, a traditional sausage originating in Cyprus.
A Summary of the Best Taverns in Athens
I hope this guide helps you enjoy the best taverns in Athens and the city’s delicious food.
For more fun ideas, check out my reviews of the best tours in Athens, where you can find wine tastings and cooking classes.
Make Your Trip Easier
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