To eat: Petralona, Koukaki and Exarchia

Ama Lachei: Set in what was once a school, this restaurant has been beautifully restored, inside and out.  In the summer months, there’s a beautiful garden – what must have been the school playground, complete with the original hopscotch chalked on the ground.  Inside, it’s all about the details: the falcon enamelware, the wall lights, the beautiful wooden floor planks.  And the food doesn’t disappoint either – think contemporary Greek dishes, with a fantastic selection of vegetarian salads and some good mezze options.  This place feels local, authentic and hidden – it’s definitely worth the climb up the hill of Kallidromiou.

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Blue Bamboo: One of Athens’ first Thai restaurants, this place has a cool, al-fresco, windows half-open and glasses half-full kind’a vibe.  The interior is minimal, painted in shades of blue, while the benches and chairs in a ’60s style lend a casual touch.  Music is loud and fun for an upbeat evening out.  Though the menu is fairly meat-heavy, dishes – including the yellow, red or green curries – each can be made veggie.

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Gargaretta: An all-day spot which offers a winning brunch through to evening bites, this intimate and local spot is not to miss.  Open since February 2019, this new space is twinned with the opposite hotel and is run by two sisters whose father had created the hotel.  The menu is varied, with solid vegan options including salads in a jar (appropriately millennial!) and a fantastic smashed avocado salad – the signature Gargaretta salad.  The service is warm, welcoming and eager-to-please: be prepared to sample a lot of wines!

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Holy Goat: In this up-and-coming pocket of central Athens, 10 Greeks run a restaurant with a unique point of difference.  Theio Tragi (Holy Goat), a short walk from the ruins of the Acropolis, is Athens’ first “anarchists’ restaurant”.  So what does that mean?  In the midst of the financial crisis and between jobs, 10 members of the “Theio Tragi cooperative” banded together to pool money together to raise capital for a cheap foodie spot in central Athens.  This restaurant has seen its popularity surge: the crowd ranges from middle class Athenians in their seventies to hipsters and tourists.  Far from the ubiquitous Greek salad, the Holy Goat is serving up Mediterranean flavours with a flare and elegance not so synonymous with the traditional taverna.  Offering innovative and gourmet food, including vegan options, at very affordable prices, the experimental menu changes seasonally, as done the wine list.  It’s very good value for money.

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Taverna tou Oikonomou: Ano Petralona, a gentle neighbourhood of low-rise houses and low-cost tavernas, is where locals go to eat well, especially at this family-run taverna which has been around since 1930 and has a distinctive home-made feel.  Neither the menu nor the decor have changed much: the baked aubergines, the spinach pie, the seasonal greens, the faded yellow walls and worn wicker chairs have a reassuring familiarity.  Sitting beneath the olive trees growing out of the pavement on a scorching summer night is as Athenian as it gets.

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One thought on “To eat: Petralona, Koukaki and Exarchia

  1. Pingback: To eat – Yumtini

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