January 31, 2012

Greece - Part 4: Athens

Returning to Greece again after reminiscing about those tasty kebaps, this post features Athens, an interesting city full of historic sights, nestled amongst the different neighbourhoods of the capital.  Two great areas away from the main tourist spots are Psirri and Gazi.  Psirri is an old neighbourhood where small, winding streets are filled with bars and restaurants, many playing live music.  It's where the locals, both young and old, come out to enjoy the nightlife.  We had drinks at one of the relaxed bars before dinner at Oineas with it's welcoming and interesting decor. The food here was simple but enjoyable and service was friendly which we found just about everywhere in Greece.

Further west from Psirri is Gazi, the area named for the old gas works that it surrounds.  Gazi is very trendy and modern which attracts younger groups.  We enjoyed the many new restaurants and bars all in one concentrated square which made it easy for checking out.  Dinner at Mamacas was nice as the restaurant was so pretty and comfortable and the food simple but fresh.  What I liked most were the bars, especially the Hoxton Bar which served good cocktails in a cool but relaxed environment - oh and they serve popcorn as a free bar snack!  Prior to cocktails at the Hoxton, we had splashed out on a cocktail at the Galaxy Bar in the Hilton after reading about the great views over the city.  But for the price and atmosphere, I preferred my cocktail and popcorn at the Hoxton and highly recommend the lively area if you want to have lots of options without going too far.

Mamacas -  Oineas - The Hoxton Bar

During the day, I also recommend the streets around Thissio Park, en route to many of the tourist sights of Athens.  Here you can find many bars and cafes serving more of those excellent ice frappes.  My pick would be Moma, followed closely by Gallery Cafe, both on Adrianou.  
Make the most of the best iced coffees in Europe

Meat lovers will love Greece

But back to the food and you can expect to find a lot of meat in Greece. At both Oineas and Mamacas, Dave and I were faced with unlimited meat choices but not much else.  It was nice and tasty but nothing amazing.  For something more special but not over the top, we we recommend Strofi, a restaurant with a great view of the Acropolis.  

Strofi is a little more upmarket but service is still friendly and the place has a nice relaxed feel to it, especially on the terrace looking up to the Acropolis.  We had our best Athens dinner here with starters of moussaka (we couldn't get enough of the real deal here) and some zucchini fritters.  For mains I had a simple, fresh grilled fish whilst Dave had lamb baked in a bag with potatoes.  Greeks really know what they're doing with lamb, fish and vegetables so all of it was a winner.  And yes, we couldn't go past our favourite Greek red, the Katogi.

Dinner on the terrace at Strofi overlooking the Acropolis
If these places and the kebaps  haven't sparked your interest to visit Athens or Greece, then stay tuned for the final part of the Greece series which features the last, but best meal of our Greece holiday.  

What:  Restaurants, bars and cafes of Athens
Where:  Oineas (Esopou 9, Psirri Square), Mamacas (Περσεφόνης 41, Gazi), Hoxton Bar (42 Voutadon Street, Gazi), Galaxy Bar (The Hilton, 46 Vassilissis Sofias Avenue), Moma and Gallery Cafe (Adrianou 49 and 33) and Strofi (Rovertou Galli 25)
How much:  Various but food is generally good value


  1. That food at Strofi looks really yummy - oh how I love lamb! And the moussaka and fritters look good too. How come you didn't have dessert? Greek desserts are to die for!!

  2. Fantastic pictures, you captured the mood well!

  3. Oh I enjoy so much reading about travel + food. Yes, together. I hope to visit Greece one day. Thank you for sharing the experience. I love looking at the pictures of food imagining the flavors. :-)