With hip cafés and restaurants popping up all over Piraeus, Athens’ port suburb is rapidly becoming a culinary hotspot.
Many people tend to think of Piraeus as simply the gateway to a summer holiday on the Greek islands, yet this southern Athenian suburb is quickly becoming one of the coolest spots in town for dining and nightlife. From upscale fine dining to more budget-friendly options, spanning traditional Greek cuisine and eclectic international flavours, the best restaurants in Piraeus are as diverse as they are divine.
Beluga is an opulent multi-level bar and restaurant in Piraeus’s Trouba district, a historically grittier area of the city that has recently become one of the hippest neighbourhoods in Athens. Local designer Nikos Skopelitis is behind the establishment’s distinctive aesthetic, which he describes as “retro science fiction” and includes a theatrical bar surrounded by metallic geometric sculptures and a glass floor revealing Piraeus’s 2,500-year-old ancient walls. With delectable international cuisine centring on seafood, along with creative cocktails and an extensive wine list, Beluga is among the area’s premier spots for fine dining.
Ancient Greeks used the scent of diosmos (spearmint) to stimulate their appetite before meals, but you will find that trick is unnecessary at this eatery. Prepare to taste some of the most scrumptious mezedes (small plates) in town at this taverna, made with ingredients sourced from all over the country. Order the prosciutto from Evritania and grilled liver from Naxos for a memorable culinary tour of Greece.
Next to the port of Piraeus, on the border with the Drapetsona suburb, you will find To Eidikon, a traditional taverna dating back to 1920. A step inside this tavern is a step back in time, as its vintage refrigerator, antique scales and mosaics will make you feel like you are on the set of an old black-and-white movie. Mr Apostolos, the owner, says that they used to run the place as a grocery shop in the morning and a taverna by night. Today, he and his family serve up classic Greek dishes, like fava and meatballs, accompanied by homemade retsina.
Adding a breath of fresh air to Piraeus’ food scene since 2017 is CHE Cocina y Barra Sudamericana, which offers a colourful and authentic Latin American experience inside a Neoclassical building on Karaiskou Street. Walking in, you are immediately greeted by an enormous fresco painting of Frida Kahlo, which sets the stage for your dinner at the restaurant’s hacienda-like tropical courtyard. According to bar manager George Filippides, the shrimp burritos, along with the spicy Pedro Furioso cocktail made with chilli-infused tequila and ginger, make for an unforgettable culinary experience.
There are many reasons why Varoulko Seaside appears consistently on guides about the best restaurants in Piraeus. The menu of this Michelin-star restaurant was conceived by acclaimed chef Lefteris Lazarou and is known for being fresh, original and timeless. Located right on the seafront in Mikrolimano, it is the perfect place to enjoy seafood delicacies like shrimp tartare with citrus, or avocado cream and chilli mayonnaise and herring salad, all the while enjoying the sea breeze.
Upon entering Hams & Clams, you could be forgiven for thinking you’d stepped into a deli in Andalusia or a hip oyster bar in Maine. Yet this clean, bright space, dominated by blonde wood, copper and nautical decor, somehow fits perfectly in the Zeus Marina, where it is located. Created by four friends, it fills a gap in the Piraeus market by serving mouthwatering oysters and tapas-style dishes in a modern environment. Grab a seat at the bar and try the truffle prosciutto, jamón ibérico or a selection of rustic sausages, best enjoyed with one of the many fine wines on offer.
Underneath the traditionally working-class district of Kaminia lies To Kapileio, a cavernous taverna dating back to the 1950s. Decorated simply with old wine barrels, the environment is at once spartan and cosy. Christos Zachos, the taverna’s current owner, explains that when it first opened, “The kitchen only had one frying pan and served only small fish and pork.” Today, six cooks prepare and serve all sorts of delicious homemade food, from black bean salads and dumplings with rice and herbs to their star dish: fried cod with garlic.
A charming taverna that moved from its original location in Palia Kokkinia to a larger space in Korydallos in order to be able to cater to more of its loyal customer base, O Mimis kai i Anna is one of the most delightful eateries in Piraeus. Decorated to evoke a traditional Greek classroom, with school notebooks as menus, it serves a variety of hearty, rich Greek recipes, focusing on quality meats and inventive salads, such as the Agros with smoked pork and vegetables on a parmesan nest.