Ancient history, cultural heritage and the modern Olympics are just a few elements that make Athens the great city it is. Yet another, often underrated feature, is its Mediterranean cuisine. Reflecting its rich heritage, Athens has a vibrant culinary scene that spans traditional Greek flavors to innovative gastronomy, the cradle of Western culture, as it is often affectionately known, offering a variety of dining experiences blending ancient traditions with modern influences.

Whether you seek a romantic rooftop dinner with panoramic views, a taste of Michelin-starred excellence, or a casual bistro experience with local charm, Athens has something for everyone. Read on to learn about four very different restaurants that capture the essence of upscale dining in Athens.

Koukouvaya, located in the historic Pangarati neighborhood of Athens, prides itself on culinary excellence and is known for its ‘sensible cuisine’. Well-traveled chef-owner Perikalis Koskinas emphasizes simplicity and local, seasonal produce in his cooking. The apheresis-focused menu emphasizes traditional techniques to bring out and highlight natural flavors and showcase Greece’s best ingredients from both land and sea. The restaurant’s dedication to using every part of the ingredients from “nose to tail” and “root to stem” demonstrates its commitment to sustainability and culinary integrity.

Kookoowaya offers a lively, relaxed atmosphere with friendly, attentive service and an open-plan kitchen where diners can watch the culinary magic happen. Dishes, such as dorade royal carpaccio, roasted wild fennel pie, and hearty bianco-style catch of the day, reflect the restaurant’s respect for tradition and celebrate the essence of Greek cuisine. Now in its tenth year, the restaurant continues to uphold its commitment to culinary wisdom and simplicity.

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Located atop Lycabettus Hill in the Kolonaki neighborhood of Athens, Orizontes Lycabettus offers diners breathtaking views of the city, the Acropolis, and the Aegean Sea. The restaurant, located at the highest point in Athens, is accessible by funicular, providing a convenient option in hot weather. The Mediterranean-inspired menu features high-quality produce from across Greece, classic dishes such as grilled shrimp served with a mixed seasonal salad, sautéed mushrooms with goat cheese cream sauce, and lobster linguine cooked in homemade bisque with fresh toma. and basil.

Chef Michael Zakaris, a Piraeus native, brings his extensive experience from high-end hotels and restaurants to the restaurant. The outdoor terrace, with its crisp white linens and relaxed atmosphere, makes it an ideal place for a romantic dinner or special occasion, set against the stunning backdrop of Athens.

The Michelin-starred Soil restaurant, located near the Panathenaic Stadium in the Pangarati neighborhood of Athens, is among the top twenty in the “Global Tastemakers Awards” by Food & Wine magazine. Housed in a beautifully restored neoclassical house, the menu is rooted in sustainable gastronomy, with ingredients from their Alepochori garden, an hour from Athens.

Chef and co-owner Tassos Mantis offers a 14-course tasting menu with delicacies including oysters with Ocetra caviar, Greek berry trio with white asparagus ice cream and sous vide cod fillet with beurre blanc sauce. The ambiance is serene and refined with al fresco dining in the beautifully lit courtyard at the rear of the property. Mati is more than just a restaurant – it’s a memorable gastronomic journey.

Located on Aiolou Street, ATENO Cook & Deli embodies the essence of ‘bistronomy’, blending the relaxed atmosphere of a bistro with the gastronomy of Greek cuisine. With Nikos Karathanos, Greece’s youngest Michelin-starred chef at the helm, you’ll enjoy innovative dishes such as beluga lentils with tomato paste pesto and chickpeas with bacalhau fish served in a crust of lemon leaves, rosemary and lemon cream. Be sure not to miss his unique twist on the Greek salad.

There is also a delicatessen on site that showcases premium produce sourced from all over Greece available for purchase. Whether you’re sipping coffee, shopping for gourmet products, or dining, Ateno Cook & Deli is a great place to visit in the heart of Athens’ historic and bustling commercial district.

Paul Johnson

Paul Johnson is the editor of the Luxury Travel Blog and has worked in the travel industry for over 30 years. He is the winner of the Innovation in Travel ‘Best Travel Influencer’ award from WIRED Magazine. Among other awards, the blog has also been voted “one of the world’s best travel blogs” and “best for luxury” by The Telegraph.

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