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The chic and upscale Kolonaki quarter of Athens, whose name means The Little Column, is known for its high-end boutiques and foreign embassies. It is also a hub of gastronomic excellence and attracts a foodie audience. This is our list of must-go restaurants, spanning everything from highbrow formality to the truly unpretentious.
Simul focuses on an ‘in situ’ concept, prioritising cooking with seasonal ingredients only. The fruits of Chef Nikos Thomas’ highly experimental kitchen labours yield innovative dishes that are both tasty without being overwrought. While it has a few excellent vegetarian options, we’ve been told the tartare with a pinch of wasabi is outstanding.
Simul, 63 Ipsiladou, Athens, Greece +(30) 210 722 4737
Housed within the Museum of Cycladic Art, the Cycladic Café is a minimalist retreat far from the hustle and bustle of the city. Open for breakfast, lunch, and weekend brunch, the café has a simple yet exquisite seasonal menu with authentic aromas of the Cyclades. Try the soup of the day or the organic quinoa and smoked salmon salad for starters, then have a go at the grilled cod fillet and the bulgur salad. For meat lovers, we suggest the veal souvlaki with fried potatoes from Naxos.
Cycladic Café, Neofitou Douka 4, Athens, Greece + (30) 210 722 8321
Located in the square of the same name, Dexameni is an outstanding three-in-one ouzeria/restaurant/café that enjoys a great location in the heights of Kolonaki. Its simple mezze menu features options like grilled haloumi, octopus in vinegar or lentil salad at very decent prices, making it a great alternative to other restaurants in the area. In addition to dining, it’s also a great place for a simple coffee outdoors or an afternoon cocktail in the shade of the trees.
Plateia Dexamenis (Dexameni square), Athens +30 210 362 3942
This tiny pizzeria and trattoria will make you say mamma mia more than once. The winning combination for Capanna’s success is fresh pasta and ingredients sourced directly from Italy. Must-tries include the namesake specialty, pizza Capanna, and the tartufo bianco pizza. Just make sure to book in advance to secure a table.
Capanna, Ploutarchou 38 & Charitos 42, Athens, Greece +(30) 210 724 1777
This convivial spot combines the best of Japanese, Spanish and Peruvian cuisines with a creative tapas twist. Don’t be fooled by the small portions, these diminutive plates pack a highly flavourful punch. But it doesn’t stop there. Cinco also serves excellent and innovative cocktails like the Japanese Manhattan or the Chilcano de Pisco.
Cinco, Skoufa 52, Athens, Greece (+30) 210 364 3603
When you feel like spoiling yourself head straight to F+W, short for the simple name of Food and Wine. This gastronomic champion is the brainchild of French chef Olivier Campanha, who excels at creating cosmopolitan dishes by pairing unexpected flavor combinations with a refined French spin. With a menu that changes four times per year, F+W only features seasonal produce and high-quality ingredients. The wine list is a true masterpiece. So go ahead, enjoy the evening, don’t look twice at the bill. You won’t regret it.
F+W, Xenokratous 49, Athens, Greece (+30) 210 721 1146