From the port of Piraeus to the city center and beyond, Athens is home to a wealth of first rate seafood restaurants taking full advantage of the city’s coastal locale. We’ve rounded up some of the very best across the sprawling metropolis.
First opened in 1987 by legendary Greek chef Lefteris Lazarou, Varoulko Seaside enjoyed a relocation to a site more befitting of its Michelin starred seafood, the beautiful Mikrolimano Marina in Piraeus, a couple of years ago. Chef Lazarou combines his years of experience and knowledge of the local seafood market, to craft a menu, at once both creative and forward thinking yet respectful of Greek tradition. Go at lunch for classic, simple dishes like taramosalata or boiled octopus marinated in vinegar, or get a taste for chef Lazarou’s creative flair at dinner, with dishes like sea bream with cauliflower mousse, vegetable ratatouille and cuttlefish ink sauce.
With a name like Psarades (which translates to ‘fisherman’ in English), fans of seafood are certainly guaranteed a first rate meal at one of Paleo Faliro’s most popular restaurants. A mix of Greek and Mediterranean cuisine crafted from local market sourced produce makes up Psarades’ chef Vasilis Tsatsakis’ menu. Think octopus stewed with caramelized onions or cuttlefish with classic Cretan homemade pasta, skioufichta, while indulgent desserts include the likes of cheesecake made with local Greek cheese. And to wash all those mouthwatering dishes down with? How does a classic Greek spirit like raki, tsikoudia or ouzo sound?
The motto at Taxidevontas, a lovely, laidback restaurant in the heart of Piraeus’ Keratsini neighborhood, is ‘if our fish were any fresher, they would be swimming in the sea,’ and with its menu of fresh fish caught daily, that isn’t just a lofty claim. Seafood specialties like lakerda (pickled bonito), shrimp from Greece’s Amvrakikos region and house smoked mackerel combine with dishes like Greek cheeses and stamnagathi (wild Cretan chicory), while diners in the northeast of the Greater Athens area are in luck too, Taxidevontas just recently opened a second location in the Nea Eritrea suburb.
Iodio’s spaghetti with shrimp and wild mushrooms | Courtesy Iodio
Winner of a 2015 Greek Cuisine Award, acclaimed Paleo Faliro based, Iodio, is a modern seafood restaurant specialisung in fresh, seasonal and creative plates crafted from the bounty of the Aegean and Ionian seas. Start with tempting appetizers from talented chef Markos Paterakis’ menu, like smoked eel with grilled eggplant, miso sauce, sesame seeds and chives, followed by creative mains of langoustine tail risotto with yellow pumpkin puree and Metsovone cheese or fried red mullet fillet with lemon-caper sauce and celery root purees. All of these are naturally best washed down with a selection from Iodio’s impressive wine list showcasing the very best Greek vineyards.
A cozy little spot located in Athens’ northern suburbs, Nikopolis first opened its doors in 2010 and has been delighting local diners with its mix of classic and contemporary Greek cuisine, with a bent towards delicious seafood dishes, ever since. Choose from appetite whetting first courses including tarasmosalata or shrimp with chickpeas before mouthwatering mains of monkfish kritharoto (an orzo based pasta dish), salted cod, or the restaurant’s special of sardine Nikopolis with tomato and garlic, all complemented by plenty of Greek wines and spirits and a number of European lagers.
While many of Athens’ best seafood restaurants are found on its outskirts or coastal suburbs, Skoumbri is proof that you needn’t stray too far from the city center for first class seafood. A stylish, modern interior invites guests to try tempting appetizers like codfish patties with garlic sauce or salmon tartar with avocado, while main course options include grilled octopus infused with olive oil and oregano or mussels saganaki, though with so many delicious desserts on offer, walnut cake and chocolate soufflé included, diners with a sweet tooth will want to save room for afters.
Down in Athens’ southern suburbs, Glyfada, to be precise, a must try seafood restaurant opened by local culinary heavyweights, Stathis Zagoritis and George Kirmizoglou, awaits. Sardelaki is a stylish addition to the seaside suburb’s dining community, boasting a delicious menu bound to tempt foodies away from the city center of Athens . Think dishes like salmon tartar or marinated anchovies to start, followed by mains of steamed mussels, shrimp saganaki or salt cod with garlic dip. Beverage wise, choose from plenty of traditional Greek spirits like raki and ouzo.
The recently opened Ω3 is already making its mark amongst Piraeus’ top restaurants with its mix of healthy and unique fresh seafood dishes. Featuring a design by talented Athens architecture firm Whitebox Architects, Ω3 is styled as a modern seaside taverna with subtle nods towards industrial chic in an airy, contemporary space that perfectly complements the restaurant’s creative menu. Feast on dishes like Symi style shrimp with smoked salt, sun dried octopus, salmon burgers, or seafood risotto, and finish with a delicious dessert like portokalópita, a traditional Greek orange pie.
Opened in the southern Athens suburb of Kallithea in 2010, Ai Nikolas dishes up imaginative Mediterranean cuisine with a focus on Greek and Italian inspired plates in a sleek, minimalist space, designed by acclaimed local architect Ismini Karali. A mix of hot and cold appetizers begin chef Fotis Koutantos’ menu, choose from creative small plates like shrimp saganaki with fresh tomato, peppers, pepperoncini and ouzo or octopus carpaccio with wasabi, while main course highlights include dishes like grilled salmon with citrus sauce, carrot cream and red quinoa and crayfish tail risotto with beetroot and orange.
Named after the ancient Cycladic Island of the same name, Keros Seafood Restaurant serves up delicious Greek cuisine from a stylish space in the heart of Agios Dimitrios. The majority of the restaurant’s produce comes directly from the Cyclades Islands themselves, while its menu is brimming with dishes inspired by its namesake’s famous Keros Hoard , ancient artefacts discovered on the island that are said to have inspired artists like Pablo Picasso and Henry Moore, with must-try dishes that include ‘Aura Keros’ (noodles with shrimp, squid and octopus in a white sauce) and ‘Piper’ (squid stuffed with cheese and herbs served with couscous).