There’s the Asian food district under Syntagma Square, Indian and Pakistani food in Psyrri and many, many other ethnic food places in pockets of the city that have sprouted up in recent years.
Here’s our guide to the ones you definitely shouldn’t miss! NB. In case of lockdown, or if you simply can’t get to these places, all are also available on home delivery apps like E-food and Wolt.
Would you prefer an Indian samosa or, a Mexican chimichanga or burrito, a middle eastern tabbouleh salad or an Asian-style salad with stir-fried veggies and prawns? If you can’t make your mind up– or want a combination of ethnic foods– go to Etnico (Kolokotroni 22, Monastiraki) where there are plenty of options to choose from. There are also a sufficient amount of vegan options on the menu. Migada serves everything from Thai Tom Kha Gai soup to Asian noodles, falafels, Mexican tacos and Indian curries (Praxitelous 8, Monastiraki). Their menu is separated into sections based on explorer’s journeys to different parts of the world and including the ingredients and dishes found there. They also serve a satisfying amount of vegan and vegetarian dishes (including a delicious vegan chocolate cake).
In recent years some of Athens’ Indian restaurants have created the ‘Indian souvlaki’, which makes for a perfect takeaway wrap if you’re not in the mood for the Greek souvlaki because you fancy something more exotic. Mirch (Ermou 109, Thisseio) serves the most popular one of this type, made with a large thin nan bread stuffed with chicken tikka, raita and mixed vegetables and cut in half. Bollywood Masala (Fokionos 4) makes the same chicken tikka souvlaki, as well as an onion bhaji souvlaki and Indian-style kebab souvlaki. Both also serve easy-to-eat-out samosas and poppadoms.
Pak Tika Tak (Menandrou 13, Psyrri) serves spicy kebabs and chicken tikka wraps as well as several vegetarian options like rice with chickpeas or vegetable curry.
For the rare pleasure of trying Pakistani sweets to much along the street or take home, go to Sitara Sweets and Bakery (Menandrou 14, Psyrri). Here you’ll find authentic, homemade traditional desserts like gulab jamun, jalebi and barfi. You can also get a plate of pani puri (crisp fried crepe-like dough balls stuffed with imli pani flavored water, chutney, chili, chaat masala, potato, onion or chickpeas, that’s very hard to find elsewhere in Athens!
At Baba Ganoush (Embedokleous 25-27, Varnava Sq. Pangrati) you’ll find top quality falafel (served with either hummus, yogurt sauce or baba ganoush) but not only. You can also try their middle eastern-style burgers, either in a vegan or vegetarian rendition, with a patty made of quinoa and sweet potato that’s topped with yogurt-harissa sauce, pickles, onion and ketchup. Over the last decade falafels have become one of the staple streetfoods in Athens and although not yet even close to overshadowing the reign of souvlaki, the increasing number of health minded Greeks are opting for crunchy chickpea balls over meat more every day. Falafel Abu Milad (Liosion 1, Omonia) is considered one of the best in town for both vegetarians and meat eaters. It makes well-seasoned falafels that are fried to crunchy perfection and served in a pitta with various seasonings of your choice. Here you’ll also find sandwiches with chicken or lamb kebab with a homemade sauce and chicken on a stick with hummus.
Meanwhile Feyrouz (Karori 23 & Agathonos, Psyrri) serves up delicious lachmajun (thin pita bread slathered with minced meat and sauce but here also in a vegan rendition with zaatar spices and walnuts), a bready pie (peinirli) stuffed with a lentil, chickpea, hummus and aubergine filling and sprinkled with fresh coriander, and even desserts like baklava.
At Sumsum (Solonos 86, Exarcheia) you’ll find Arab street food like mutabal, a pitta bread wrap filled with lamb or beef mince and bana ganoush, or falafel wraps with hummus as well as lachmajun and taouk pitta which is stuffed with chicken, yogurt and herbs. Salads and soups of the day are also available for takeout.
Several quality Thai restaurants have opened in Athens over the last few years, but Tuk Tuk (Veikou 40, Koukaki) is the first street food version of Thai, which is surprising considering that in Thailand it’s the street food that rules! From spicy Papaya Salad with dried prawns and peanuts and Khanom Jeeb Mu steamed Pork Dumplings to Tom Kha Gai coconut milk curry soup and Pad Thai noodles, you’ll find all the street classics here in relatively authentic versions.
An exciting new arrival on the street food scene is Vietnamese Madame Phu Man Chu (Praxitelous 36, Monastiraki) whereyou can order mustard leaf rolls stuffed with prawns, smoked pork and rice noodles, chicken skewers marinated in lemongrass, tomato soup with mussels and fried tofu with sweet chilli sauce. Dao (Agion Anargiron 43, Psyrri)also serves delicious street food and specializes in Banh Mi French baguette sandwiches with a mouthwatering variety of fillings – from BBQ pork or beef to shredded chicken and fried egg. They also serve Pho and wonton soups, spring rolls (both fried and fresh), stir fried rice and noodles.
The only one of its kind so far, Poke (Petraki 7, Syntagma) serves Hawaiian sushi bowls, with a set menu as well as a great array (that changes according to what’s available during each season) of ingredients for a DIY bowl. With rice as the base, you’re free to add any kind of raw or cooked fish, veggies, fruit, herbs and seasonings like sauces, shredded seaweed and spices to create your own Poke concoction.
There isn’t really a Japanese street food place in Athens right now but there are many Japanese restaurants, especially in the Syntagma area, where you can pop in and order food to take out.
TIBETAN – Currently Closed Due to Covid But We’re Letting You Know About it Anyway!
Chomolungma (Karytsi 10, Syntagma) is the one and only Tibetan eatery in Athens right now, and although its menu is still quite small, the food there already has a small following. Try the crunchy cheese balls with tomato chutney, momos (dumplings) with their accompanying sauces like curry, pepper chutney, mango chutney and chili mayonnaise, lotus root chips with matcha tea sauce and tangste salad with pickled coleslaw.
Pink Flamingo (Skoufou2-4) is a dinky, two-storey place with a giant neon pink flamingo at its exterior that serves dimssum, dumplings and particularly delicious bao buns. In cooler months you might find a soup of the day too. At Mr. Pug’s Canteen (Katsoulieri 6, Halandri) the menu is simple yet gratifyingly yummy, with a wide selection of bao buns with different fillings, such as crispy cod, duck, beef burger, pork and dragon air (spiced minced beef, chili, kimchi and fried garlic). Oddly, the dessert is Mexican churros. At Street Wok (Panormou 115) you choose the base of your choice (different types of noodles or rice) and then add your choice of vegetables, meats and condiments like bean sprouts, pineapple, herbs, peanuts. The third and final step is selecting your sauce of choice (hot Szechuan, coconut curry, sweet chilli etc). Simple, fast and tasty.
Grexico (Fokionos 4, Syntagma) serves up freshly made burritos, quesadillas, tacos with dressings and salads. More of a restaurant than street food joint, but with excellent take-out options, is Taqueria Maya (Petraki 10), a self-service place serving a variety of burritos, quesadillas, tacos and salads as well as takeout margaritas.
For freshly made, fluffy and crisp piroshki pies stuffed with minced meat or potato, visit Gadaychuk Mariya (Acharnon 140). Also popular, and with much more variety of homemade piroshki is Kalina Malinka (Solonos & Mavromihali, Exarcheia and on Stadiou 27, Syntagma). Here you’ll find fried or baked piroshki with fillings such as spring onion and egg, beef mince, feta cheese, chicken and mushroom or sausage and gouda cheese, as well as authentic, handmade Russian salad and crunchy tsebourek. And then there are the desserts, like baked fluffy rolls and sugared cinnamon rolls.