Athens’ history and inspiring ancient architecture attracts hordes of visitors each year, and its buzzing restaurant scene explores these traditions and fuses them with cutting edge gastronomy. The city’s culinary landscape is peppered with unique destinations that push the boundaries of Greek and international cuisines, as these ten restaurants reveal.
Funky Gourmet has been celebrated for creating some of the most creative gastronomic dishes that can be found in Athens. Their stated aim is to ‘re-think our tradition and strive to create an avant-garde cuisine’, the molecular gastronomic kitchen hopes to engage, stimulate, evoke emotions and trigger memories. The degustation menu is filled with sensational surprises, and evidence of this is the restaurant’s two Michelin star ranking. The culinary art is matched with the restaurant’s charming interior, decorated with artworks, beautiful furniture and an elegant exploration of dark wood colours.
Spondi’s prestige is illuminated in its status as Athens’ only two Michelin star restaurant. Location, atmosphere, design and taste all align here, creating an experience that is truly unique. Spondi is located in Pagrati and is within walking distance of the Panathenian Marble Stadium and the Acropolis. The restaurant’s aesthetics beautifully fuse brick and stone, creating a historic atmosphere, while the exquisite lighting design forges a blissful ambiance. The kitchen serves flavours inspired by French gastronomy, preparing artistic plates such as milk fed lamb in herb cocotte with candied lemon paste, polenta of eggplant-coriander and smoked garlic balls.
Set within the Astir Palace Resort and nestled next to the Aegean Sea, Matsuhisa’s breathtaking beauty is formed by the intoxicating water views and the masterfully executed minimal and organic design. Celebrity chef Nobu Matsuhisa’s menu is garnished with fresh fish sushi, crafted plates such as pan fried salmon with crispy spinach and butter ponzu sauce, and refreshing salads such as inaniwa pasta salad with lobster. For those wanting to revel in the views without dining, the restaurant also features a martini bar and lounge that serves cocktails concocted by the iconic mixologist Dale De Groff, creator of the Cosmopolitan.
Orizontes is located on the highest peak of Athens, Lycabettus, offering unforgettable panoramic views of the city and has been celebrated by visitors as one of the most privileged settings in Europe. Following this mesmerising scene, the design of the restaurant has been described as modern with ‘decorations of soft colors and simple lines’, creating a sophisticated aesthetic and enchanting atmosphere. The kitchen prides itself on serving Mediterranean cuisine that draws from a number of Greek recipes and is prepared with fine fresh ingredients. Romantic dining experiences can be enjoy here with dishes such as grouper fillet from the Aegean sea with sweet peppers, caper and velvet lemongrass sauce, or slowly cooked lamb with beer, thyme and honey, served with vegetable pearls.
Nested in the heart of the city in the Zappeio Gardens, Aegli Zappiou is renowned as the perfect place to escape the bustling atmosphere of Athens. The building’s history dates back to 1904 and the open air cinema Cine Aegli is a historic venue. The restaurant faces the Acropolis and the Lycabettus Hill, offering inspiring views which can be enjoyed from an outdoor eating area decorated with greenery. The kitchen explores traditional Greek flavours, creating delectable dishes for affordable prices. Diners can enjoy meals such as Orzo risotto with shrimps and mussels, and fried cod with garlic flavored potato and beetroot salad.
Acropolis Museum Cafe and Restaurant
| Courtesy of Restaurant at the Acropolis Museum
The new Acropolis Museum has been praised as a truly successful modern museum and each year it has attracted thousands of tourists to its exhibitions. Creating new ways to enjoy the museum, the Restaurant at the Acropolis Museum has been acclaimed as a great culinary destination in its own right, with its location offering panoramic views of the Acropolis and its kitchen serving creative twists on local recipes from different regions in Greece. Guests can feast on handmade trachanas from Epirus with mushrooms, tomato and gruyere from Ioannina.
Restaurant, Hotel Restaurant, Greek, Mediterranean, Seafood, Italian
Captain's House, Grand Resort Lagonissi Athens | Courtesy of Captain's House
The Grand Resort Lagonissi in Athens is an acclaimed destination and is home to a number of culturally distinct restaurants that take advantage of the hotel’s seafront location. The Captain’s House is one such restaurant that stands out for its stunning setting and authentic Italian cuisine. Gorgeous, wooden decked bridges lead to small island like dining areas that are surrounded by enchanting water and land views. In this inspiring location guests can enjoy meals such as homemade ravioli stuffed with spinach, ricotta, speck and ‘Mastiha’ cream, or risotto with seafood treasures, tomato veloute and zucchini flowers. Also offering a terrific list of local and international wines, as well as spirits, the restaurant’s Captain’s deck has been described as ‘the perfect place for a nightcap’.
The GB Roof Garden Restaurant & Bar at the Hotel Grande Bretagne is a charming Greek Brasserie in a sophisticated setting of Art Deco decorations and modern luxury. Set on ‘the most famous ‘corner’ of Athens, the restaurant has featured in many prestigious lists as one of the best culinary spots in the city, and it offers delectable Greek fusion cuisine designed by the multi-awarded Chef Sotiris Evangelou. Visitors can enjoy the energy bustling from the open kitchen, as the talented team prepare plates such as roast salmon with spinach and boiled potatoes, and organic chicken breast with herbs and roast potatoes with onion and mushrooms.
Strofi opened in 1957 and is set in a prime location next to the iconic Acropolis rock. Self proclaimed ‘one of the most historic restaurants in Athens’, the restaurant prepares traditional Greek and Mediterranean cuisines such as tenderly cooked lamb wrapped in vine leaves and stuffed with cheese, and pork fillet stuffed with sun dried tomato gruyere and peppers. The restaurant is peppered with beautiful artworks and eye catching decorations that complement the interior’s light colour scheme. Strofi also features an outdoor dining area with a roof that retracts so that Athen’s famous sunny weather can be enjoyed to its fullest.
Kiku is a fine dining Japanese restaurant that has been gaining the attention of both local and international foodies since its opening in 1993. Described as the first authentic Japanese restaurant in in the city, the restaurant fuses culture, gastronomy and design to create an electrifying and inspiring atmosphere. The restaurant has both a winter and summer address, the latter being located on the island of Mykonos and offering breathtaking views of the Aegean Sea. Diner’s can relish in sophisticated Japanese cuisine such as gyu tataki nigiri, kaiso salad and kani karaage. Kiku’s winter address is set in the heart of the city.