Discover the Best Vegetarian Restaurants in Athens, Greece

Athens is increasingly becoming a hotspot for plant-based cuisine
Athens is increasingly becoming a hotspot for plant-based cuisine | © kevin hellon / Alamy Stock Photo
Heidi Fuller-Love

With Athens experiencing a huge surge in plant-based cuisine, there’s never been a better time to be vegetarian in the Greek capital.

Vegetarian cuisine in Greece includes pies, such as ‘spanakopita’ – a traditional Greek spinach pie

A wonderland for non-meat eaters, Athens’s stores and markets abound in fresh local produce. Eating out in the city that invented democracy wasn’t always a cinch for vegetarian foodies, however. Although there are plenty of dishes ideal for vegetarians – ranging from creamy yoghurt-based tzatziki and crunchy, feta-strewn Greek salad to rice- and onion-stuffed vegetables gemista – it’s not always easy to find a restaurant where meat isn’t on the menu. Whether you’re vegetarian, vegan or just searching for plant-based food options, these are the nine best places in Athens for meat-free dining.

Many Greek appetisers – including the rich array of dips – are vegetarian

1. IT

Restaurant, Vegetarian

In the chic boutique-lined streets of well-heeled Kolonaki, this funky split-level eating and meeting space created from upcycled materials – think chipboard sofas strewn with stripey cushions and repurposed retro wooden seating – is a haven for non-meat eaters. Menu highlights include the steamed wild greens drizzled with tomato vinaigrette and sprinkled with chopped pistachios and chunks of crumbly white mithyzra sheep’s cheese, or, for pescatarians, the luscious fresh salmon served on a bed of nutty spelt flour pasta. At weekends, this laid-back space morphs into a live music venue, with local jazz and folk bands serenading diners.

2. Lime Bistro

Restaurant, Vegan

Raw food fans are guaranteed to get their fix in this cool vegan bistro housed in an ornate 1930s building in the hip, culture-loving Gazi district. The emphasis here is on a healthy macrobiotic-alkaline diet, and they grow, or germinate, many of their own ingredients; they also guarantee that dishes are free of animal derivatives, conservatives, colourings or refined sugar. Hip decor here includes second-hand and recycled furnishings, gingham-check table throws and artfully mismatched tableware, while stand-out dishes include their burrito bowl – an energy-packed smorgasbord of corn, black beans, lentils and cashew cheese.

3. Cookoomela Grill

Restaurant, Vegan, Vegetarian, Greek

Happening student hangout Exarcheia is inevitably a great place to find some of the city’s best vegetarian dining options, but Cookoomela Grill is definitely pick-of-the-crop material. Walk past on buzzy Themistokleous Street, and you’d probably miss it (it looks like your average souvlaki stand); but if you step inside, you’ll find owner Antonis Margaritis and the talented team who are reinventing Athens’s most famous street snack. The café’s named for the cookoomela, which is Greek slang for the morchella mushroom that is the main ingredient in a range of magical meat-free souvlakis, including their signature Red Amanita – a stocky mushroom burger served with avocado wedges, tomato salsa and vegan mayonnaise.

4. Roots Food and Culture

Restaurant, Vegan

Diagnosed with diabetes back in 2002, Jamaican owner Thodoris started experimenting with a vegetables-only diet and then decided to offer his culinary findings at Roots Food and Culture, a bright and breezy food venue in Athens’ edgy Exarcheia district. The result is a vegan range of recipes that are permeated with vibrant Jamaican flavours. Standout dishes include the creamy sweet potato burgers with a rich peanut lime sauce, and the chunky, turmeric-spiced Jamaican patties made with lentils, walnuts and cashew cheese.

5. Kiouzin

Restaurant, Vegan, Vegetarian

A hot spot guaranteed to cure plant-based FOMO, this stylish Kolonaki restaurant serves traditional Greek no-meat recipes with a creative twist. Decked out with old-school wallpaper, gilt chandeliers, black-and-white photos and floral print cushions, this Instagram-worthy, vintage-style restaurant offers a yummy range of meat- and gluten-free dishes and to-die-for handmade, wheat-free breads. Dishes not to miss include the flavour-packed smoked eggplant caviar served with grilled tomatoes, peppers and mushrooms in a homemade pekmez (grape molasses) sauce, dotted with sweet slivers of caramelised beetroot.

6. Yi, Glyfada

Restaurant, Dessert Shop, Vegan, Vegetarian, Dessert

Fancy sitting with your feet (almost) in the surf as you chow down on meat-free delights? In the heart of Glyfada, one of Athens’s most upmarket seaside resorts, Yi (the name means ‘earth’) is vegetarian fine-dining at its best. Owners Giorgos, Maxi and Nikos pride themselves on using locally sourced ingredients to make a string of delicious dishes (try the mushroom, onion and cashew cheese carbonara), along with juices made with their home-grown wheatgrass, organic wines and beers from artisan Greek breweries.

7. Nice n Easy Seaside

Restaurant, Vegetarian, Vegan

The guys who launched the idea of ‘food with a conscience’ here in Athens more than a decade ago are still ahead of the trend with this super seaside eatery along the swish Athenian Riviera, and close to the legendary healing hot spring lake at Vouliagmeni. Overlooking Astir beach, one of the city’s most exclusive swathes of sand, this laid-back organic restaurant’s fair trade menu includes chunky root vegetable wedges marinated with pumpkin seeds, coriander and pollen (delicious dunked in the hummus side dish) and sweet potato gnocchi in a red wine sauce with fresh-from-the-forest wild mushrooms.

8. Avocado, Athina

Cafe, Restaurant, Juice Bar, Smoothie Bar, Vegan, Vegetarian, Asian

Avocado is a vegetarian café-restaurant where food is for life. Avocado’s menu combines Asian, Greek and Indian influences in a space that is colourful and warm, offering smoothies, rice dishes, and even pasta and pizza. Even if you’re not a vegetarian, Avocado is a great address for a delicious lunch or dinner if you are in the neighbourhood.

9. Peas

Restaurant, Vegan, Vegetarian

Think it’s time to give Peas a chance? So do savvy owners Lila and Maria at this fun and friendly vegan/vegetarian food haunt just a short stroll – along unevenly paved streets planted with orange trees – from the Acropolis Museum. At the heart of one of Athens’s hottest districts, this cosy café serves wraps, burgers, salads and desserts made from scratch. Highlights include the sensationally succulent avocado, cashew cheese and mushroom burger, served with a fermented chickpea sauce.

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