Athens’ Century Old Greek Olive Store

Venture outside the tourist box to see how Athens’ ever-changing present syncs with its age-old past! The book ‘111 Places in Athens You Shouldn’t Miss’ was written to offer you exactly that. This is just one of 10 unmissable places that even locals often miss, offered exclusively for IN+SIGHTS GREECE readers by the guide’s publishers EMONS.

Insights Greece - Athens' Century Old Greek Olive Store

This year, 2021, marks a century since this warehouse-like shop (Ariana’s Olives) has sold almost nothing but olives. Open to the street, with no doors to put you off, it invites you to inspect the contents of 23 large free-standing barrels as well as smaller containers poised on shelves along the side walls. And taste them.

Perhaps you thought there were only two kinds of olives, green and black, pitted or stuffed with pimento, garlic or almond? This collection features the fruit of some 20 varieties, with emphasis on the big oval greeny ones from Amphissa, the famous olive grove below Delphi. The Kalothanasis brothers, Andreas and Mihalis, represent the third generation in this business started by their grandfather, Andreas, who came from the area, and where the olives are still processed. As Mihalis, who runs the shop, says, ‘Amphissa olives grown anywhere else don’t taste the same. The land, soil, climate make a difference. We deal with olives from all over Greece – tear-shaped Kalamata, tiny Cretan, wrinkly (salt-cured) throumbes from Thasos – and my brother knows the secrets of curing, preserving and storing them until the next season. Ideally, we’d like to run out the day the new olives arrive, and sometimes that has happened.’

Insights Greece - Athens' Century Old Greek Olive Store

The most popular and priciest are big green olives from Mount Athos, followed by blond throumbes from Chios. And some firm Amphissa ones are rated by size: jumbo, colossal and mammoth.

The name Ariana comes from two ancient Greek words, ari and a(g)no. It means ‘very pure’, like the olive tree, Athena’s gift, which earned her the patronage of the city over Poseidon’s salt spring in the mythical contest on the Acropolis.

Address: Theatrou 3, Athens 10552, +30 210 3211839

Insights Greece - Athens' Century Old Greek Olive Store

Getting there: Metro to Monastiraki (M 1 & M 3) or Omonia (M 1 & M 2), and a 10-minute walk

Hours: Mon – Sat 7.30am – 3.30pm

Tip: In the heart of Athens’ food and market district, there are many other shops selling just one thing, from ropes to shoelaces, eggs, flour and phyllo.

111 Places in Athens That You Shouldn’t Miss can be found at all major bookstores worldwide as well as online at Amazon


Top 10 Souvlaki Shops in Athens

Souvlaki is by far Greece’s most popular and famous street food. And with so many souvlaki shops in Athens to choose from, we’ve narrowed it down to our Top 10 Souvlaki spots for you to try on your next visit to the Greek Capital. 


For the coolest souvlaki joint in Athens, head to Hoocut (created by five talented Greek chefs) it features a butchers counter, bakery, and grocer store on site. Everything here is made from scratch, including the pita bread and homemade fries; and you can watch the creative chefs in action as they cook your meat exactly the way you like it. 

A: 9 Agia Eirini Square, Monastiraki

O Thanassis 

By far one of the most well-known souvlaki stores in Athens, the family-run shop opened its doors in 1964 and is located in the heart of Monastiraki, at the bottom of Mitropoleos Street. Here you will find crowds of people waiting to try Thanassis’ famous pork, beef, or chicken souvlaki.  

A: 69 Mitropoleos, Monastiraki

Lefteris O Politis

Located right behind Omonia Square, Lefteris o Politis opened back in 1951 and has been a local favourite ever since. Don’t expect to find a menu here, as there is only one souvlaki served- spicy meat made of beef (which originated in Constantinople) cooked on a traditional grill and served with tomato, onion, and parsley. 

A: Satovriandou 20, Athina


A new stylish souvlaki restaurant that’s just opened up in the Athens Riviera neighbourhood of Glyfada. Nomsy serves traditional kebab, skewers, gyros dishes and they process all the meat themselves using their own recipes. Nomsy’s have unique Black Angus gyros and some international influences or fusions too. 

A: Artemidos 3, Glyfada 

Insights Greece - Top 10 Souvlaki Shops in Athens

O Kostas 

By far the most popular souvlaki store amongst Athenians, Kostas’ has been serving its traditional souvlaki for over 70 years. Don’t expect anything fancy, here it’s all about quality and authenticity. The meat is cooked to perfection and served on pita bread with plain Greek yogurt (not tzatziki), tomatoes, and onion. Hands down one of the best souvlaki we’ve ever tasted.  

A: 5 Pentelis, Syntagma


This traditional souvlaki and gyros shop located in the centre of Athens, at Exarcheia, is a great spot for a traditional souvlaki wrap on the run. Here you can choose from chicken, pork, kebab, or sausage.

A: Valtsetsiou 62, Athens


Another local fave, Kostas (not O Kostas) always has queues of people waiting to grab a simple yet tasty pork kalamaki that is served with homemade fries, onion, tomato, and a rich and spicy homemade tomato sauce (their own secret recipe). 

A: 2 Agia Eirinis, Monastiraki 


Tsi Tsi 

With three shops in Athens, one located on the main shopping strip of Glyfada, another in Agia Paraskevi and the third in Kifisia, Tsi Tsi serves traditional souvlaki made using high-quality meat. The modern eatery has indoor and outdoor seating, or you can order your souvlaki and take it away as you enjoy your day of shopping. 

A: Leof. Dimarchou Aggelou Metaxa 50, Glyfada; Agia Paraskevi in Agio Ioannou 42; Kifisia Street Ilision 25

Kalamakia O Elvis 

With one store in Kerameikos and another in Pangrati, Elvis’ offers great pork and chicken souvlaki. Open till late, it’s the ideal place to stop off in the early hours of the morning (after a big night out).  

A: 29 Plateon, Kerameikos; 1 Archimidous, Pangrati

Insights Greece - Top 10 Souvlaki Shops in Athens

Kalamaki Bar 

Located in Koukaki and only three blocks away from the famous Acropolis, this modern grill house serves good quality meat skewers using free-range chicken, lamb, or pork that can be served traditionally or for something different, combine it with Haloumi (cheese) or mushrooms.   

A: Drakou 15, Koukaki

Shila: Athens’ Striking Boutique Hotel

If you are searching for an extra special place to stay in the heart of Athens, this striking mid-century 1920s residence that has been converted into a boutique hotel is ideal as it transports you to another world with its charming decor and eclectic style.  

Insights Greece - Shila: Athens' Striking Boutique Hotel

Shila is an ethereal late 1920s property located in the heart of the Greek capital and brings new meaning and inspiration to the concept of a boutique hotel. This is a place where you feel indulged and carefree, and at the same time, are able to experience an otherworldly realm of elegance and sensuality. 

Situated in the ultra-chic Kolonaki neighbourhood, you are only moments away from Syntagma, Monastiraki and some of the Greek capital’s best museums, cafes, boutique stores, restaurants and bars. 

Style & Character 

Sophisticated, mid-century vibe mixing, ethereal, romantic, vintage and antique furnishings in the classiest way. Each corner of this hotel has been expertly curated with stunning pieces of artwork and furniture. The property is filled with life and soul and truly feels lived in. Internal features take from the original architectural elements of the building. 

Room Types

Cleverly combining elements of the bygone and the contemporary – this neoclassical house comprises of six distinctively designed suites, each unique in character, with a unifying element of simplicity and inviting charm. There are six rooms sleeping between 2 – 4 people, each differing and curated to create the ultimate romantic escape within the city. Art plays a big part within the hotel and each suite features its own collection as well as the lounge and library areas, which often host private exhibitions.

Insights Greece - Shila: Athens' Striking Boutique Hotel


The hotel features a lush courtyard, tranquil rooftop, lounging areas, and reading nooks, ideally suited for social gatherings, art exhibitions and private events. The sumptuous lounge and library area feature rustic walls, vintage fixtures, original 1920s mosaic floors, and an eclectic piano. 

Ideal for… Couples and friends looking for a perfectly tranquil escape within a busy city.

Food & Drinks

Complimentary breakfast provided daily

Espresso machine with fresh beans 

Artisan products in mini bar

Extras are available upon request

Insights Greece - Shila: Athens' Striking Boutique Hotel


  • Concierge 
  • Wifi iPad & Netflix
  • Custom-made towels & sheets
  • Daily breakfast driver
  • Car rental
  • Laundry / dry cleaning
  • Car parking
  • Private hire of the entire property
  • Event hire of rooftop and library lounge


Keeping Fit During Lockdown in Athens  

The gyms are closed, but the bakeries are open, and those little blue delivery bikes are buzzing around the city dropping off their parcels of (fattening) comfort food. But if, like me, you are not quite ready to roll over and hibernate in front of Netflix, here are five things you can do to stay fit and healthy in Athens during the lockdown.

 By Christopher Nicholas 

1. Go jogging in Athenenian History

Insights Greece - Keeping Fit During Lockdown in Athens  

Put on your running shoes and go for a jog in the National Gardens, the best ‘park’ of Athens, directly behind the Parliament in Syntagma Square. The sun is still shining and palm trees line your track, and once you work up a sweat you will forget that winter is upon you. Pedion Tou Aeres is another big park in central Athens, and smaller, but quite unique is Akadamias Platanos, where you can take a jog through the ancient ruins of Plato’s Academy (where else in the world ?!). Finally, a satisfying route is to be found on Dionyssiou Aeropagitou pedestrian road that connects with Apostolou Pavlou St, starting from Acropolis metro and ending all the way down to Thisseio. For more inspiring runs around the city, check out Great Runs and search for suggestions in Athens.

2. Flex Venice Beach style at Technopolis Gym Park

If working out in the sunshine is your thing, then you will love this outdoor gym. Tucked away in the corner Technopolis (the old gasworks factory of Athens, recognisable by its tall brick tower that’s lit by red lights at night) arts and leisure park in Gazi, this is my favourite place to exercise. There is strict social distancing, and entrance is limited to 3 people, so this is a safe and comfortable place to train. The “calisthenic” gym machines and bars, use your body mass as resistance, so if you are used to lifting heavier weights in the gym, this might not hit the spot at first. But slow down the motion and aim for higher reps, and you will soon start to feel the burn in all the right places!

3. Get on your Podylato!

Insights Greece - Keeping Fit During Lockdown in Athens  

Ok, so I would not recommend this during normal times, but as Athens is grinding to a virtual halt, there’s never been a better time to discover the city by bicycle. To be fair, and Covid aside, the city of Athens is steadily making significant progress in greening the city centre. Panepistimiou Street, one of the major arteries running from Syntagma to Omonia Square, now has a dedicated cycle lane, for example. Mysteriously, many bicycle shops remain open, but you can also find a bargain on, while is a good place to shop for second-hand bikes. Another option is to rent a bike from Funkybikes. In these tourist downtimes, you can pick up a very affordable weekly deal.

Do be careful, however, because unlike some other European cities, biking is not so commonplace and car drivers do not always have the instinct to look out for their two-wheeled compatriots. And make sure your lights go on as the sun goes down. To help you plan your cycle route around town log on to Bike Map.

4. Walk around Old Athens at dusk

Simple but there you have it – just take a nice, long walk. Start at Thission station, and wander up the cobbled streets towards the foot of the Acropolis, carry on past the ancient theatre of Herodes Atticus, before curling back into the Plaka and the maze of charming streets, taking in the beautifully lit Roman Agora and Hadrian’s library, before entering the eerily quiet passageways of the flea market, ending up at Monastiraki station.

A brisk walk is proven to build stamina, burn excess calories, and make your heart healthier. The ideal is to walk about 5km an hour to get the physical health benefits, and you can use the free Active 10 App to check your speed. But even a gentler stroll, under the moon, in the shadow of this iconic ancient hill will be deeply soothing for the soul, and good for your mental health.

5. Workout at home and travel the world

Insights Greece - Keeping Fit During Lockdown in Athens  

You don’t need to waste hundreds of euros on a running machine that will gather dust as soon as lockdown is over – a yoga mat and a couple of resistance bands are all you need. If you need some inspiration, many gyms run online courses for their clients. But then again, why visit the same old gym? The beauty of working out on Zoom is you can tour the world as you pursue your fitness goals.

Try Yoga on the banks of Lake Orta in Northern Italy (, or Pilates in Sydney (@movewithnicole), or jet off to New York and join a ballet class with Sarah Jessica Parker (search for New York City Ballet workout on Youtube). I like Alex Crockford (@alexcrockford), fitness model turned coach on social; he will help you work up a sweat and maintain muscle mass. Evolve do some great high energy sessions. For something closer to home, Maria and Alikis of Twinsfit (, have taken their pilates, yoga, and TRX training out of the studio and into your living room with Zoom. Or tune in to Charlie’s (founder of GaziCrossFit) “Quarantine workout core crusher” on Instagram (@charliemakkos). Street Workout Athens, have come off the streets,  and are offering a wide range of classes, from Combat and Bootcamp to Spinning and Pilates on Zoom.

Whatever you decide to do, try and do a little every day; just 20 minutes of moderate exercise a day will have significant health benefits. We would love to hear what you are doing to stay fit and healthy during lockdown. Stay safe, stay healthy, and try to say no to these lovely Greek cheese pies!

*All images by Christopher Nicholas © (Copyright) 

Strolling Through Ermou Street

A paradise for shoppers, pedestrianised Ermou Street stretches over one and a half kilometres in the centre of Athens. This is the busiest and most expensive commercial street in Greece, making it a must-see destination.

Visitors can begin their leisurely stroll from Syntagma Square. Across from Parliament you walk down a set of stairs that lead you to a charming fountain- from here you are able to begin your walk all the way through to Monastiraki.

Insights Greece - Strolling Through Ermou Street

Along the way you will come across a variety of stores that stock international brands and local designers.

Athens’ shopping strip is also popular thanks to its laid-back vibe, with musicians and other artists busking outdoors- providing a cool and lively buzz- both day and night.

However, most do come to shop and from high-end clothing to handmade shoes, leather goods, embroidery, and designer jewellery – there is something here for everyone. But if you aren’t really into fashion don’t despair you can also find some great food stores that sell local delicacies such as herbs, teas, olive oil, nuts, and cheeses. Otherwise grab yourself some Greek street food, or sit at one of the many cafes or bars and enjoy a coffee or dessert.

As you walk along, you will also come across one of the oldest churches in the Greek capital. The Byzantine Church of Panaghia Kapnikarea is in a small square, on the east section of Ermou Street. The historic 11th-century church stands out, with its beautiful icons created by Fotis Kondoglou.

Insights Greece - Strolling Through Ermou Street

If it’s all about the shopping- you are definitely in the right spot. From beauty stores such as Sephora and Mac through to the largest retailers in fast fashion- Zara, H&M, Pull & Bear and Bershka, you will find them all at Ermou. For those who love shoes, make sure you stop off at Migato, Mourtzo and Tsakiris Mallas, which are local brands. We also suggest you make time to check out the streets parallel to Ermou, for lots more stylish boutiques and designer wear.

As you make your way down, you will arrive at the heart of Monastiraki, which is famous for its flea market. Here you will discover a variety of stores including souvenir shops, vintage and second-hand shops. It’s the perfect place to pick up all your bric-a-brac and enjoy the fun game of bargaining. Monastiraki, (meaning little monastery) is a distinctive area, with narrow streets criss-crossing streets, and small buildings. It is located in the old quarters of the city.

​The area is home to several clothing stores, specialty stores, and you will also find plenty of places to eat. If you are after leather sandals, traditional clothes, Greek football jerseys, used or new furniture, old books, vinyls, antiques and inexpensive gifts to take home- this is where you will find them. Keep in mind that most stores are open Monday-Saturday 9am to 9pm and are closed on Sunday.

There are certain Sundays throughout the year whereby the stores are open- usually over Christmas, Easter, New Years or during sale season.

*Images by IN+SIGHTS GREECE © (Copyright) 

A-Z Miniguide of the Best Ethnic Street Food Places in Athens

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.


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.


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.


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.


Our Essential A-Z Athens Guide for Wine Lovers

You’ll probably find decent, perhaps even great wine at most decent bars around Athens today. But if you want a place that specialises in wine and offers amazing varieties -that you can enjoy by the glass too – look no further than our guide! You’re welcome! 

A For Athens

Vibe: Smart-casual, friendly, relaxed rooftop bar with stunning views of the Acropolis and city.

Wine List: Greek and foreign wines in a newly extended cellar that can house up to 2,500 labels.

Food: Anything from the restaurant’s dinner menu, from burgers and malt chicken to finger foods and meze dishes. The sommelier is happy to suggest foods that pair well with your wine of choice.

Location: Miaouli 2, Monastiraki


Vibe: Cosy, casual-chic, friendly, all-day bar-restaurant with small tables as well as a large monastic bench and an outdoor square.

Wine List: Around 140 labels from Greece and abroad, 42 of which can be sampled by the glass. Baratin’s knowledgeable and friendly sommeliers are happy to help you imbibe on exactly what you desire.

Food? Try the carefully sourced Greek cheeses, salads, sea bream risotto and cold cuts for an ideal accompaniment.

Location: Dekeleias Avenue 120, Nea Filadelfia


Vibe: Trendy, chic, hipsterish

Wine List: Around 200 labels from Greece and abroad as well as cocktails made using Greek wines (not easy to find elsewhere!).

Food? Indulgent accompaniments to share with your wine buddies include cevice, roast beef with truffle sauce and homemade mayo, stuffed figs with caramelised onion and creamy goat cheese and bruschetta with Greek cheeses.

Location: Anastasiou Zinni 36, Koukaki

By The Glass

Vibe: In an elegant arcade facing the Russian Orthodox Church, chic, buzzy.

Wine List: You can choose among 250 Greek and global wine labels, 50 of which can be served by the glass using the Coravin system.

Food? An array of modern Mediterranean platters and appetizers, many of them designed especially to be paired with their wines.

Location: Filellinon and Georgiou Souri 3, Syntagma.

Cava Vegera

Vibe: Friendly, laid back and smart-casual.

Wine List: Over 1000 Greek and foreign labels.

Food? A menu based on deli products that are seasonal and make for great accompaniments to your wine of choice. The menu changes every three months.

Location: Poseidonos 11 & Vas. Pavlou 61, Voula.

Cinque Wine Bar & Deli

Vibe: An ebullient ambiance usually pervades in this compact, cosy and familial locale.

Wine List: Very special because here you’ll find only Greek indigenous varieties passionately sought out by the wine-fanatic owners. The Monastiraki store organizes excellent wine tastings.

Food? Homemade chutneys, great platters of deli foods from Greece and abroad.

Location:Agatharchou 15, Psyrri & 10 Vorreou St Monastiraki

Fabrica De Vino

Vibe: Modern, upbeat, elegant but unpretentious. A-buzz during weekend nights.

Wine List: 600 labels by 150 producers from around Greece, 20 of which that can be sampled by the glass.

Food? Mainly fish and seafood (try the fish fillet sandwich), as well as some well-prepared meat dishes.

Location: Emmanouil Benaki, Exarcheia

Fiali Wine Bar

Vibe: Elegant, minimal and fresh décor with a laid back, chic crowd.

Wine List: Selective and lesser-known but good-quality labels from small wine producers around the world, 40 of which can be sampled by the glass.

Food? A gratifying selection of tasty, cold and hot Tapas, salads, pizza and other comfort food.

Location: Dekelias 108, Nea Filadelfia


Vibe: Cultural, homey, low-key chic.

Wine List: Over 200 labels from Greece and abroad.

Food? Homemade quiches and pies, platters of cheese and cold cuts.

Location:Fokionos 2 & Petraki 30, Monastiraki

Kiki de Grece

Vibe: Elegant, upbeat, smart-casual.

Wine List: Around 60 Greek and foreign wine labels.

Food? From appetizers to mains, you’ll find a great selection of Greek-Mediterranean dishes.

Location: Ipittou 4, Syntagma

Materia Prima

Vibe:  Contemporary, urban-chic and cosy.

Wine List: Over 500 wines from around Greece and abroad, including labels you won’t find in most other places. Expensive wines can be sampled by the glass using the Coravin method. Wines can also be bought to go.

Food? Breakfast and brunch during the day, finger foods and Mediterranean meals in the evenings.

Location: Falirou 68, Koukaki, across the EMST National Museum of Contemporary Art.

Monk grapes and spirits

Vibe: Arty post-industrial open terrace with a laid-back ambiance.

Wine List: 200 labels from 136 wineries in Greece and 16 countries, many expensive labels can be sampled by the glass via the Coravin method.

Food? Modern Greek cuisine.

Location: Aghias Eirinis Square, Monastiraki


Vibe: Originally a wine shop that has now added seating, this is very much a wine-centric point in town for those who take wine seriously.

Wine List: Over 1000 labels from all over the world. Every week there is a new selection of wines that can be sampled by the glass.

Food? Cheese platters and Mediterranean dishes.

Location: Voulis 45-47, Syntagma.


Vibe: Wine bottles line the high-ceilinged stone walls of what was once an old storehouse, and at the end of the room from top to bottom stands a large cava.

Wine List: Over 350 labels mainly from southern France, Spain, Italy and Greece.

Food? A decent range of Greek-Mediterranean cuisine, from appetisers to mains.

Location: Polidekous 39, Piraeus.

Scala Vinoteca

Vibe: Sophisticated, intense, stylish.

Wine List: Over 200 labels from Greece and abroad.

Food? Refined and contemporary Mediterranean dishes with influences from Latin America, Spain and Italy.

Location: 50 Sina str. & Anagnostopoulou, Kolonaki


Vibe: A stylish and classical-modern large open space ideal for work dos and larger gatherings.

Wine List: Over 250 labels from quality Greek winemakers and abroad, including a selection of hard to find Italian wines. Here you can try any wine you like by the glass via the Coravin method.

Food? Try the platter with aged cheeses and cold cuts, as well as other Mediterranean dishes.

Location: Marangou 18, Glyfada


Vibe: A large, modern open space for smart-casual wining and dining with great service.

Wine List: The only place in Athens where you can choose among 600 labels to try by the glass – either a full glass or even just a half glass.

Food? Platters with quality cheeses and/or cold cuts, original Greek-inspired appetisers like Pastitsio croquettes and mains.

Location: Mitropoleos 66-68, Syntagma


Vibe: Sophisticated but unpretentious, laid back and indulgent.

Wine List: With a wine cellar stocked with over 500 Greek and foreign wine labels, Warehouse has become known for its quality selections and serves around 150 of them.

Food? Greek ingredients farmed by select small producers around the country, food platters and salads.

Location: Valtetsiou 21, Exarcheia

Wine Not

Vibe: Swing jazz music, after-work chill, industrial décor.

Wine List: Around 90 wine labels, 20 of which can be sampled by the glass.

Food? Try the cheese and cold cuts platter with homemade chutneys and jams.

Location: Kalogrezis 12, Halandri

Wine o’ Clock

Vibe: A tiny place with a few benches on the pavement where you can people-watch as you sip wine.

Wine List: Around 70 well selected wine labels, many of them from Greece and 20 of them that can be sampled by the glass.

Food? Small platters with flavoursome bites that are just what you need to accompany good wine.

Location: Lebessi 10, Makryianni

Wine Point

Vibe: Usually busy and lively, with occasional live gigs and a laid back, smart-casual crowd.

Wine List: Over 200 labels to choose from, and with a different Greek winery and its wines presented as a special every month.

Food? Finger foods and bites like bruschetta, olives, cold cuts and cheeses from around Greece.

Location: Athanasiou Diakou & Porinou 2, Makriyianni

Wine Station @ Chocolat Royal

Vibe: Jazzy (with occasional live gigs too) and easygoing with a chic twist. Beautuifully scenic outdoors with a view of the Parthenon to get drunk on.

Wine List: Regional wines from Greece that are really hard to find elsewhere, as well as top selections from foreign wineries. Around 160 labels of which 40 can be sampled by the glass.

Food? Choose anything you like from the Chocolat Royal Restaurant menu of contemporary Mediterranean cuisine.

Location: Apostolou Pavlou 27, Thisseio

Wine Up

Vibe: With a lovely outdoor garden, this is the ideal place to relax with friends in a casual set-up and simply enjoy great wine in the summer months, but gets a little more trendy and modern indoors during cooler months.

Wine List: Featuring over 200 Greek labels, many of which are organic and produced by small quality wineries around Greece.

Food? A variety of platters starring quality Greek seasonal ingredients from creamy cheeses and punchy olives to juicy tomatoes.

Location: Eleftheriou Venizelou 86, Petroupoli

Pantelis Melissinos, A 360-Degree Artist

Known as ‘The Poet Sandalmaker’, as was his father Stavros, whose sandal shops in Monastiraki drew the world’s celebrities to buy his designs, Pantelis has taken his art to another level.

From the moment I entered Pantelis Melissinos’ Art Gallery / Sandal Shop in Makryianni, where it opened two years ago, it was like diving into another world. First, I was hit by the bold colours and shapes from his artworks – sculptured chairs, paintings large and small, leather bags, and elaborate sandals hanging from the ceiling and stacked against walls.

As I stepped down into the shop/gallery Pantelis turned and smiled at me from the piano, where he was playing a piece in the living room-style space where masked clients sat patiently waiting to have their dream sandal design created to fit their foot to perfection. And then Poi Poi, a 10-year-old white griffon dog with the cheerful bounce of a puppy hopped and barked up to me delivering a giant donut toy we could play with.

Pantelis, looking fit and wiry from his passionate health regime and youthfully dressed in jeans and a waistcoat, escorted me to the corner where we sat at his desk to chat about his life and art.

Now Pantelis has taken the reins of a store with 100 years of history, once religiously visited by the likes of the Beatles and Liz Taylor, Onassis, Nureyev, Jackie O’ and Kallas, and still today receiving streams of visitors from around the world, who have heard of the famous sandals created by the Melissinos family.

“I bought this place, which is big and spacious and I use it as a gallery for my art because I studied painting for so many years and deep down I feel like an artist, not only like a sandal maker. That’s why my sandals are more on the artistic side. They’re functional but at the same time artistic, and they’re not mass-produced. I like to create different things and my customers love that – they come for that. Many times, they see them on Instagram or Facebook and change their travel plans to be able to stop off here. I couldn’t believe that at first! Often for them, the sky’s the limit; my clients, especially women, often suggest their own ideas and we work on them together.

Insights Greece - Pantelis Melissinos, A 360-Degree Artist

“I started creating when I was very young, as an escape from school, because I didn’t like it! I decided that this is what I wanted to do and I moved to New York and studied illustration at Parsons School of Design and then I got my Masters’ Degree in Painting. After I finished that I directed the Greek Cultural Centre in NY.

“I always loved walking around Manhattan and picking up objects like chairs from the street– things that were sort of dead and I wanted to give them a new life. I would strip them of their old upholstery and would create something new.

“I had a friend and we called ourselves ‘The Trashers’ because we used to collect trash together and turn it into art. I brought some of those pieces back with me when I returned to Athens. Here too I continued to collect stuff and create art with it. I also worked for the theatre here in Greece for tragedies mostly, doing the set design, costumes, and jewellery. These productions were very magical; they were in Evia on a mountain near Gymnou village. I also wrote plays and music.

“Discipline is a prerequisite in art. Some people think that being an artist is just carefree and being totally crazy. No, it’s not like that! It takes a lot of discipline to master an art, it’s more like science. For example, the old masters – Michelangelo, Da Vinci, Beethoven – studied like crazy – I think contemporary people don’t work so hard at evolving, they think it’ll happen by divine intervention or something!

“When it comes to art you have to always feel like you are 20. Not a day older. Like the Goddess Athena, who was not a Virgin goddess as people think in a sexual way – her mind was virginal. She was the goddess of wisdom and creativity because her mind was ever-fresh.

Insights Greece - Pantelis Melissinos, A 360-Degree Artist

“When I create sandals, I try to be ever-young and always find new ways, new designs to please myself and my customers. I focus on all my art in one day; I start the day playing the piano to relax, then I write something I have an idea about- a poem or something else – I’ve also been working on the idea for a novel for many years – then I take care of business, work on sandal designs, paint, all in one day.

“Currently I’m working on making a video portrait about my art with a cinematographer friend, that I am directing and have written music for. I want my art to talk about me through a video. Life is too short and being a businessman is not my greatest dream in life…Today everyone is so caught up in this high-speed living and we don’t enjoy life as our parents did.

“A lot of artists gathered at my father’s old shop – Tsarouchis, Argyrakis, and growing up in this environment made me think seriously about art – because all these people communicated with each other and exchanged ideas under the shadow of the Acropolis. I loved the Fauve artists like Picasso, Gaugin, and Matisse especially – both for their use of colour and for their freedom. I am always trying to discover my own freedom.”