|Eat & Drink
Ákra Soúnio (Cape Sounion)
Approximate prices for a three-course meal for one person, without drinks or service:
Informality Athens is a very informal city, and not even the smartest restaurants operate a 'collar and tie' policy. That said, many of the places described as foreign or smart attract people who have dressed up for a special meal, so you may feel a little out of place if you haven't done the same. In cheaper tavernas you will be welcome no matter what you are wearing.
Beyond the Pláka You can eat well in the Pláka, and it does have one of the liveliest atmospheres in Athens, but if you really like your food you should explore the city's other areas. Some of the best restaurants - Greek and other cuisines - are in districts such as Theseion, Psirri, Metz and Kolonáki. Athens is one of the safest cities in the world, so explore; the only danger is to your waistline.
Greek Habits Greeks eat late. Many places, especially in the Pláka, open early to cater for the tourist trade, but if you want to savour the real Athenian night atmosphere you won't consider arriving anywhere before about 9pm. Indeed, some of the more fashionable restaurants don't open until 8 or 9pm.
New Greek Cooking If you think eating in Athens means only moussakas, think again. Try more up-market restaurants for a wonderful surprise. Accessible: can still taste one meal at Ermou and Asomaton, which started with curried fried chicken, walnuts, mango, chicory and a cream, lemon, mustard and curry sauce, and was followed by a main course of pork filled with prunes and apricot, served with wild rice and a quince, apple and honey sauce. No moussakas on this menu!
A Tip Greek menu prices are regulated by the Tourist Police and in many places you will find two prices listed: with and without tax. You pay the higher price. Smarter restaurants tend just to show the inclusive price. The tax is not a tip, and it is customary to leave the change, or some of it, when you pay the bill.
Opening Times Although we have given the opening details of all places at the time of writing, Greek restaurants and tavernas are capricious. Some close in winter, and some close in summer, or for a few weeks in midsummer. Some may decide to open, or close, for lunch. Others move premises. If planning a visit to one of these recommendations, please phone first to check it's open.
Seafood Seafood is sold by weight, not a standard price per portion. If you simply ask for swordfish, you might be served a huge steak at a huge price. Tell the waiter how big a piece you want, or ask to see it before cooking, or go into the kitchen and choose for yourself. Have it weighed and priced, so that you do not receive a shock with the bill.
Hot or Warm? Many places start cooking mid-morning, and some dishes, such as moussaka and stuffed tomatoes, may be cooked then and simply kept warm till lunch. This is not a cause for complaint, it is just the Greek way of doing things. If you want hot food guaranteed, choose something that needs to be freshly prepared, such as souvlaki or grilled fish.