What to eat in Athens: 12 must-try local delights

Embark on a Greek gastronomic journey. Explore vibrant flavors, traditional dishes, and local markets in this ultimate guide on what to eat in Athens.

Welcome to this essential guide to Greek gastronomy. Athens is not only renowned for its rich history and stunning architecture but also for its extraordinary culinary landscape that is waiting to be explored. Answer the question: "What food is Athens known for?" by experiencing it first hand with this guide on the best foods to try.

Whether a seasoned foodie or a curious traveler, Athens has a flavor for everyone. From enjoying the comfort of moussaka, a hearty eggplant dish, to savoring the crunchy delight of bougatsa, a versatile pastry, Athens' gastronomy is a delicious journey through Greece's diverse regions and cultures. Feast on souvlaki skewers at a bustling street stand, or sip on traditional Greek coffee in an age-old kafeneio. Explore local markets teeming with fresh produce, and join food tours to truly be immersed in the local cuisine.

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1. Relish the divine flavors of moussaka

Moussaka is a traditional Greek dish layered with eggplant, minced meat, and béchamel sauce. Every bite is an explosion of delightful tastes, and its rich, creamy texture melts in the mouth.

How to eat the best moussaka in Athens?

What better way to experience the must eat food that is Moussaka than by learning to make it with a Greek Cooking Class and Dinner on a Rooftop?

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2. Experience the tang of tzatziki

Tzatziki is a classic Greek appetizer from strained yogurt, cucumbers, garlic, and fresh herbs. It's cool and refreshing, perfect for a hot day in Athens.

How to enjoy the best tzatziki in Athens?

Get the most authentic experience possible with a Street Food Tasting Tour, and try tzatziki along with a host of other delicious street foods.

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3. Savor the robust flavors of souvlaki

Souvlaki is a popular Greek fast food to eat consisting of small pieces of meat grilled on a skewer. It's often served in a pita wrap with vegetables, sauces, and sometimes fries.

How to eat the best souvlaki in Athens?

Walk off those delicious calories with a Greek Food Discovery Small Group Walking Tour, and see some of the wonderful sights in the process.

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4. Delight in the sweet sensation of baklava

Baklava is a sweet pastry made of layers of filo filled with chopped nuts and sweetened with syrup or honey. This popular food is the perfect way to end a meal. You can also have it as a treat at any time of day.

How to taste the best baklava in Athens?

Some foods are best enjoyed after dark. Take a tour of Athens by Night: Sightseeing, Spirits, and Food, and try baklava, along with some other delectable Greek delights.

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5. Embrace the comfort of spanakopita

Spanakopita is a savory Greek pie filled with spinach, feta cheese, onions, and seasonings. The flaky filo pastry encases the warm, flavorful filling, creating a satisfying contrast of textures.

How to enjoy the best spanakopita in Athens?

Experience an authentic Greek market with an Greek Food Tasting and Market Walking Tour, and get some shopping done, along with tasting some delicious spanakopita.

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6. Enjoy a classic Greek salad

With fresh tomatoes, cucumbers, onion, feta cheese, and olives drizzled with olive oil, Greek salad is a refreshing side dish or a light meal. The tangy feta and olives perfectly balance the freshness of the vegetables.

How to enjoy the best Greek salad in Athens?

Indulge the inner foodie with a Gastronomic Vegan Group Waking Tour around Athens.

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7. Sip on traditional Greek coffee

Greek coffee is a strong brew served with the grounds in the cup. Often enjoyed slowly alongside a sweet treat, it's a unique part of the Greek culinary experience.

How to drink the best Greek coffee in Athens?

Traditional Greek coffee is best enjoyed with other traditional Greek delights, all of which can be found on the Classic Food Tasting Tour.

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8. Enjoy delicate loukoumades

Loukoumades are small, golden puffs of fried dough, typically drizzled with sweet syrup and sprinkled with cinnamon. These light, airy treats are Greek's answer to donuts and are simply irresistible.

How to taste the best loukoumades in Athens?

There's no better guide to the culinary delights of Athens than someone who lives there. Head out on a Street Food Tasting Tour with a Local and sample the best loukoumades in Athens.

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9. Savor the richness of fava

Fava is a traditional Greek dish made from yellow split peas, often served with fresh onions, olive oil, and lemon. It's incredibly hearty and packed full of flavors.

How to enjoy the best fava in Athens?

As mentioned earlier, one of the best ways to experience Athens's famous food offerings is by learning to make it. Get the full Greek sensation with a Greek Cooking Class at local home and Market Shopping experience.

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10. Relish stuffed vine leaves: dolmades

Dolmades are stuffed vine leaves, often filled with rice and herbs, and sometimes minced meat. They are bite-sized but packed with flavor and embody the essence of Greek cuisine.

How to eat the best dolmades in Athens?

Visit local tavernas and restaurants to try dolmades — they're often served as an appetizer or side dish. Head out on an Athens Highlights & Hidden Gems: Private Custom Tour to make the most of the trip.

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11. Dive into the deep-sea delicacy of octopus

Octopus, whether grilled, stewed, or served in a salad, is a Greek island specialty that's also popular in Athens. The taste is unique, and the texture is surprisingly tender if cooked correctly.

How to enjoy the best octopus in Athens?

Don't just eat it. Cook it. Take a Private Seafood Cooking Class with a Local Homecook and take new skills away with the new taste sensations.

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12. Satisfy hunger with gyros

Gyros are a popular food in Athens, consisting of meat (usually pork or chicken) roasted on a vertical spit and served in a pita with tzatziki, tomatoes, and onions.

How to eat the best gyros in Athens?

Experience the taste sensation of gyros as part of an Athens: Gourmet Food Tour, taking in a range of other delicious foods and markets, all with the help of a knowledgable guide.

FAQs

What are the must-try traditional dishes in Athens?

Athens is home to a wide variety of traditional dishes that are worth trying. Some of these include moussaka, a layered dish of eggplant, minced meat, and béchamel sauce; souvlaki, grilled meat skewers often served with pita bread; tzatziki, a refreshing yogurt-based dip; and dolmades, stuffed vine leaves. For dessert, baklava, a sweet pastry made with layers of filo and filled with chopped nuts, or loukoumades, Greek donuts drizzled with sweet syrup, is not to be missed.

What are the best food tours in Athens?

Athens has a variety of food tours to suit different tastes. Some of the most popular ones include Athens food tours, which provide a comprehensive introduction to Greek cuisine; the Greek Food Tasting and Market Walking Tour, which takes you through the busy neighborhood of Psyrri; and the Athens by Night Food Tour and Wine Tasting, which combines local cuisine with Greek wines. Always check recent reviews, as tours can change over time.

What are the top local food markets in Athens to visit?

The Varvakeios Agora is the main market in Athens, brimming with vendors selling fresh produce, meat, and fish. The Evripidou Street Market is well-known for its spice shops. The Monastiraki Flea Market is a great place to find local products and street food. The Farmers' Market on Kallidromiou Street, held every Saturday, is where locals go for the freshest fruits, vegetables, and other organic goods.

What is the best time of year to visit Athens for food lovers?

Athens is a year-round destination, but spring (April to June) and fall (September and October) are particularly pleasant times to visit. The weather is generally mild during these months, and there is a variety of fresh local produce available. Additionally, these are also great times to attend food festivals, such as the Athens Food Festival in May and the Dionysia Wine Festival in October.

How much should I budget for food in Athens?

The cost of food in Athens can vary significantly depending on where you eat. Inexpensive restaurants or street food can cost around €10-€15 per meal, while a three-course meal at a mid-range restaurant might cost around €30-€40 per person. High-end dining experiences can cost upwards of €70 per person. Therefore, a safe daily budget for food would be around €40-€60 per meal if you plan to try a variety of dining experiences.