Vegans unite! It may have taken a bit of time, but Greeks have finally caught up with the vegan lifestyle and in recent years, we have witnessed a rise in vegan eateries and stores around the Greek capital. Here is a guide to help you navigate Athens without compromising your diet.
It is true that Greeks are big on meat. That being said, it is perfectly possible to find vegetarian and vegan-friendly food in Greece in any traditional restaurant, and even more so during the fasting season of Lent, from Clean Monday to Easter, but also before Christmas and before the Assumption of the Virgin in August, when nistisima food is served. These are dishes made without meat, eggs or dairy products. Of course, you can also simply find vegan restaurants in Athens, serving yummy, delicious food all year round.
Where to eat
This little restaurant on Nikis Street near Syntagma is a paradise for vegetarians and vegans. One of the veterans on the ‘no-meat’ scene in Greece, Avocado has proven that eating vegetarian and vegan dishes, that are satisfying and delicious, is possible. On the menu, you will find veggie burgers, meatballs, pizza, soups and pasta dishes, delicious juices and smoothies, as well as decadent desserts. A feast for the eyes and the stomach, a stop at Avocado is definitely a must.
Avocado, Nikis 30, Athens, Greece, +30 21 0323 7878
Located on Akadimias Street, in the heart of the city, Mama Tierra is a welcoming and quiet little eatery where you will find tasty specialties from around the world, made with fresh produce and ingredients, such as mouthwatering appetizers, fresh salads and wholesome dishes like the mushroom burger or the vegan moussaka. The guac is to die for and the falafel is simply divine. Can you guess? We are hooked.
Mama Tierra, Akadimias 84, Athens, Greece, +30 21 1411 4420
For a quick stop on the way to exploring Plaka or Psirri, Vegan Nation, a stone’s throw away from Monastiraki Square is ideal for a vegan pick-me-up. Whether you want a delicious chia seed pudding, a fruit salad or soy chicken biriyani, you can have it all at Vegan Nation. If you can’t find a table or if you’re in a hurry to explore the city, simply get your food to go.
Vegan Nation, Ermou 86, Athens, Greece, +30 21 0322 6226
It’s official, Gazi also has a vegan eatery, known as Lime Bistro. A welcoming place where slow cooking and the macrobiotic alkaline diet are celebrated, Lime Bistro is showing once more than anyone can eat a healthy and fulfilling diet without any animal products. Don’t believe us? Try the vegan gyros, made with oyster mushrooms, with its delicious, homemade gluten-free bread or the chilli sin carne – you will be blown away. Desserts are equally appetizing and the service is quick, efficient and friendly. Can you tell we are head over heels for Lime Bistro?
Lime Bistro, Dekeleon 23, Athens, Greece, +30 21 0347 4423
Where to drink
Granted, juice bars aren’t for everyone, but at Xymopoieio, conveniently located less than a minute from Monastiraki metro station, you will find delicious soups on the go and countless tasty combinations. Who doesn’t love a good soup when the weather allows for one?
Xymopoieio, Pandrossou 64, Athens, Greece, +30 21 0325 4186
Located in Plaka, near the Acropolis Museum and surrounded by souvenir shops, Nova Gea, is a juice paradise. Here, you can build your own juices or choose from a wide variety of blends that includes fruits, veggies and superfoods. Your juice is served in a glass jar that you can take with you and bring back (or keep) once you’re done. It’s good for you and the planet!
Nova Gea, Vakchou 1, Athens, Greece, +30 21 1401 7427
Where to shop
If you are staying in Athens for a while, chances are you might not be able to eat out all the time. You are in luck since Athens finally has a fully-vegan grocer called Bamboo Vegan. Located in Exarcheia, this grocery store has a little bit of everything, including a small bar where you can get tasty vegan snacks, such as pies, cakes, sandwiches and other treats. Founded by a vegan couple, it is also the best place to find vegetarian and vegan food, such as vegan cheese, tofu, seitan and tempeh, as well as a variety of superfoods, nuts and other staples. This place even organizes seminars and informative conferences on vegetarianism and veganism, often in collaboration with vegan chefs and nutritionists. They also have an e-shop.
Bamboo Vegan, Solonos 102, Athens, Greece, +30 21 0330 0018
Four Season Bio Shop
Located next to Avocado, Four Seasons Bio Shop is a health store where you can find organic food, cosmetics and dry goods. The shop also includes a small range of vegan items, such as vegan margarine and cheese, meat substitutes, organic wines, quinoa and fresh organic produce and fruits.
Four Seasons Bio Shop, Nikis 30, Athens, Greece, +30 21 0322 9078