Greek ramblings

Pagrati is a very nice area to eat in, with lots of options. It's fairly easily accessible from the area around the Acropolis but the quality of the food is better and the prices cheaper. You are also much more likely to be eating surrounded by Greeks - you’ll find lively neighbourhood tavernas, with a very Greek atmosphere. It's a really different experience to eating in Plaka.

Few tourists come into the area, and we hardly came across any during out stay in December. Having said that, most of the restaurants had English translations in the menus and staff able to speak at least some English, so obviously we're not the first or only tourists to find our way up here. And there aren't a lot of tourists around anywhere in December!

Eating places are scattered throughout Pagrati but a good starting point is a set of restaurants clustered around Plateia Varnava. This is a nice little square directly behind the old Olympic (Panathenaic) Stadium.

There is another grouping of tavernas around Plateia Proskopon, at the bottom end of Pagrati nearer Evangilismos metro.

Kesariani is a little further out, and has a pleasant, pedestrianised square with a number of tavernas and cafes on it. We've included one taverna in Kolonaki, mainly because we didn't have anywhere else to put it and it's not far!

food

We tend to go for quite simple and cheap places, but there are also some more up market restaurants in this area, particularly around Plateia Proskopon, which is close to the Hilton Hotel.

You'll find more tourists in these, but they are also popular with Greeks, and get good reviews on their food. The only one of these we’ve tried is Koutsourbos (see below) but you’ll find reviews on the internet for Cusina Povera, Alati and the Mavro Provato.

If you are interested in coming into this area, have a look at our introductory page on Pagrati, which has more general information on the area, as well as directions to Plateia Varnava from Syndagma.

We stayed in this area in December 2013 and again in December 2016, and these are the places we particularly liked.

O Mavros Gatos (The Black Cat)

Close to Plateia Proskopon on Polemomos

On one of the several occasions we ate here we had politiki salata (a Thessaloniki import which is like a coleslaw with a slightly hot dressing), pastitsio, grilled chicken fillet and 2 wines for 28 euros. Very delicious free dessert of lemony sponge and a sort of lemony custard cake.

street view

This is our current favourite taverna. We were staying just round the corner from here for a couple of weeks in December 2016, and were regular visitors.

It’s a traditional, straightforward place, with a relaxed, lively atmosphere and delicious food at really good prices.

It’s a popular place, and gets a mixed crowd. It has a neighbourhood feel, and the staff are friendly and welcoming.

They have menus in English and Greek. It’s worth asking what the daily specials are - on one occasion this was a very tasty wild boar dish. They have a decent house white wine.

They play traditional laiki and rembetika music, not too lound. It can get a little smokey.

There is a large indoor space, and tables outside on the street in the summer.

Mouries

Plateia Varnava, Pagrati

December 2013 cost 25 euros for a meal for two: spinach pie, tsatsiki, a pork souvlaki and a huge plate of peas with potatos, plus wine.

taverna

The Mouries has been refurbished fairly recently and has a clean modern look. It is also modern in that it has a broad range of foods. It describes itself as a taverna - estiatorio - mezethopolio and really does seem to be able to deliver on the promise.

In other ways though it is a very traditional place, serving substantial good quality meals at a very reasonable price.

We ate here a lot during our stay in Pagrati in December 2013, and found it a really relaxed and enjoyable place.

We never saw any other tourists in here, and although there may be a few in season, it is much more of a neighbourhood taverna than anything else.

The staff are very efficient and also unobtrusively friendly, and soon got to know us and welcome us back. It's the sort of place that gets single men coming in for their evening meal, but also has families with small children, occasional teenagers, and middle aged couples.

In our experience in December it was usually about a third full with a steady trickle of people coming and going plus people coming in for take aways.

When we walked past it one Sunday evening it was packed with people dancing between the tables! Our guess is that there was some kind of family party going on, rather than that this was their usual Sunday clientele.

It's not a special occasion restaurant but we'd recommend it for good food in a relaxed Greek atmosphere.

To Mikro Vouli

window

Plateia Varnava, Pagrati

In December 2016 we had a big plate of mixed boiled veg - horta, beetroot, corgettes, cauliflower, carrot, black eyed beans (8euros) all fresh and cooked just right. Had it with skordalia, chips, and a big plate of fried pork. With wine this came to 34 euros. We were given slices of halva at the end.

This is a Mezopolion on the corner of Plateia Varnava, pretty much next to the Mouries. It's got tables and chairs out on the square in the summer, and in winter has a large, cosy room inside.

The atmosphere is traditional, with Rembetika music playing on the radio and old fashioned maps and paintings on the walls. They bring you a complimentary raki to sip while looking at the menu.

A couple of tables seem to be permanently occupied by a few older men, seeing out the evening over a drink and the occasional meze.

taverna

Despite this, it is a slightly more up-market place than the Mouries, and seems to attract more tourists - you can find reviews on Trip Advisor and it's in some guide books. It has a no-smoking section, which seems to be respected, although as it is only on the other side of the room from the smoking section it's not exactly a smoke free atmosphere.

It does good business, with both large groups of people and couples. It's popular at lunchtimes, and you can find people eating in here early evening - it's not exclusively a late night place.

There's a good variety of food, and everything we've had has always been very tasty. There are some decent vegetarian options - for example a big plate of mixed vegetables - beetroot, corgettes, greens, cauliflower and black eyed beans is pretty much a meal in itself. They also do grills, and cooked main dishes such as roast pork.

It's slightly more expensive than the Mouries, and the portions a little less hearty, but it's still good value.

Ladokolla

sign

Immitou 46, on the corner of Imittou Street and Chiou, two short blocks east of Formionos Street, on the border between Pagrati and Kasariani.

December 2016: beef in sauce (with a middle eastern flavouring to the sauce - cinnamon and something else), cucumber/tomato/pepper/onion/olive salad and tsatsiki plus wine was 18 euros.

taverna

This is a great place. It's on a busy corner of Immitou, next to a rather cursory patch of grass, and you come here for the atmosphere and food, rather than its scenic nature.

It's very local, good value, great food, casual and unpretentious. Not surprisingly it's always full and lively. The main action happens in the big extension - cunningly built up around a couple of trees. In winter this is closed in and cosy, but can be opened up once it gets hot.

The name apparently comes from the fact that, in Greece, food was once served on waxed paper sheets called “ladokolla”. At the Ladokolla there are keeping this tradition alive, and the food is served on waxed paper (unless it's something sloppy like tsatsiki!)

They do particularly good grilled meat here - people order a big portion and put it into the middle of the table for everyone to help themselves.

All of their food was very good. It seems to be busy all the time, and you could eat here early (by Greek standards) and not be alone.

They have menus in English, and staff can do it all in English.

We've been back here several times and each visit increases our liking for this place.

Kreatofageion

mixed veg

Aminta 6, Pangrati

December 2016: pork fillet, tsatsiki, chips, boiled veg salad, 2 x grilled pitta breads plus wine was 18 euros.

There are a cluster of restaurants and bars in this area, and a pleasant little square at Plateia Proskopon.

This restaurant is on one side of this square and, as it name implies, specialises in meat. (Kreatofageion means simply ‘Eat Meat’).

There’s a small downstairs which is bustling with a lively take away trade and a quieter and larger upstairs room.

biftekia

In the summer there are tables outside and across the street in the tree covered square.

The people are friendly and the décor is modern and nicely done.

Despite the concentration on meat they also do a range of the usual starters – tzatziki, fava, aubergine dip – and of salads – greek salad, of course, but also spinach and rocket and lettuce. The portions are large and starters are around 4 euros while salads range from 3.80 to 7 euros.

The meat is locally sourced and is all very nicely cooked and presented.

We over ordered on the chips, as you get loads with the meat. And we didn't really need the pitta bread. We were given a carafe of wine on the house.

Katsourbos

kourtsobos

Aminta 2, Pangrati

December 2016: Thin slices smoked pork fillets, plate boiled veg, plate mixed cheese and herb pies, keftedakia and house wine. 50 euros.

This is a Cretan restaurant with a good reputation for its food. In December 2016 we were staying in an apartment just above it, and it was highly recommended by our host. It had also been recommended by a Greek friend.

taverna

It is more up market and 'proper restaurant' than our usual choice of taverna - and about twice the price.

The food was delicious though - everything very well cooked and really tasty, with some unusual Cretan dishes. They did a nice house barrel wine. The staff were friendly and there was nice Greek music playing, not too loud.

We liked the food a lot, and did settle into the atmosphere, but didn't feel as relaxed here as in, say the Mavros Gatos round the corner, which has a more pubby feel. And at twice the price of our usual places it's not going to be a regular haunt. If you are looking for somewhere a bit special, though, this is a good bet.

Mezed...adiko

5 Plateia Messologiou

December 2016: Saganaki, Horta, fries, chicken fillet, wine was 25 euros

interior

This is a cosy neighbourhood place on a square in Pagrati. The street outside is pedestrianised, and there is a kids playground and small park opposite. They played nice rembetika music and the woman running it was very smiley and friendly. Menu only in Greek, and we did it all in Greek, but they could undoubtedly do it in English as well.

The portions of food are big and made for sharing. It’s all very nicely cooked, fresh and tasty. There is a relaxed, pleasant atmosphere with quite a variety of people coming in - groups, couples, older men just having an ouzo and meze. They have a very tasty retsina as the house wine.

We had a very nice evening here and will definitely come back.

Grill Byronas

Plateia Venizelou, on the corner of Messloggiou and Evangelikis Scholis.

December 2013 a meal for two: fava, horiatiki, chicken fillet and wine for 14.50 euros

byron

This taverna is on a lively and pleasant square uphill from Ymittou - strictly speaking, you are now in Byronas, rather than Pagrati, but the two areas merge a bit.

The square has several cafes and tavernas, and outside seating around the edges of the square, which has trees, public benches and football-kicking space.

There's also a statue of Byron, and a plaque saying 'Byron quarter. Established on the centenary of Lord Byron's death to commemorate his devotion to the Greek refugees'.

sign

We were attracted into the Grill Byronas because it was the busiest and liveliest looking place on the square.

It's not a really late night place, filling up around 8.30pm on the night we were there.

When we'd walked past one sunday afternoon it was packed, and there was live music.

taverna

One of the reasons for this is undoubtedly their really cheap prices. We couldn't quite work out how our bill was so low, but came to the conclusion we'd accidently got one of their special deals - 2 persons for 10 euros.

The portions were all very large, and the chicken fillet enormous - easily enough to share between two people. The fava was good, with capers and onions, and the horiatiki fresh and plentiful. The chicken wasn't perhaps the best we've ever eaten, but was perfectly acceptable.

They do little 'kalamakia' skewers of meat for 1.40 euro, if you just wanted a small bit of meat.

plateia

We saw several groups request take-away containers for food they hadn't managed to finish - as we said, the portions are substantial! The main dishes are mostly grilled meat, but they also do lots of salad and vegetables - plain but fresh and tasty.

The menus are all in Greek, and the waiters don't appear to speak much English - it might be a little tricky, but not impossible, to manage with no Greek.The staff were really friendly - old fashioned service from male waiters - and there is a lively, local atmosphere.

In 2013 it was open on Christmas Day, Boxing Day and New Year, but only during the day, closing down early evening.

The Osonoupo

Plateia Kesariani - on the map as Plateia Anagenniseos. This is on the road that goes up to the Kesariani monastry, Leoforios Antistaseos.

December 2013 a meal for two: aubergine dip, cabbage and carrot salad, fried corgette balls and a yogurt kebab plus wine was 35 euros. We were given a free dessert of halva, chocolate biscuit cake and orange spooon sweets.

kasariani

This taverna is on the pleasant, pedestrianised square in Kesariani. There are several cafes, a couple of mezadopolios, a fish restaurant, as well as grills and traditional type tavernas.

The square is known as a good place to eat, there are trees and public benches, and it is no doubt very lively in the summer.

At 8pm on a grey evening in late December 2013 it was quiet, with a few people eating in the mezadopolios, but everywhere else empty.

We circled the square a few times sussing out our options, and eventually settled on the Osonoupo.

taverna

This turned out to be a good choice. The place started to fill up around 9pm, and although it never got really busy there were enough people about to give it some atmosphere.

We sat on a closed in terrace - there are also seats outside on the square for the summer.

The food was good, and reasonably priced, even though the place felt slightly more posh than some (smart table clothes, proper wine glasses). The cabbage and carrot salad came with a tasty dressing, and the corgette balls were good - not too salty, which they sometimes can be.

The waiter was very friendly and helpful, and the whole atmosphere relaxed and pleasant.

Filippou

Xenokratous 19, Kolonaki

December 2016 a meal for two: Peas, fried peppers, pork with lemon, chicken casserole with rice, wine 40 euros.

taverna

This is a traditional estiatorio in Kolonaki. From Pagrati you need to cross into Kolonaki and go up the hill beside the Cycladic Museum. Keep walking uphill towards the funicular railway and you will cross Xenokratous.

Filippou is a popular neighbourhood place which has hardly changed since we first went there twenty years or so ago. It gets its share of tourists and ex-pats living in Athens but has a very unpretentious, old-fashioned estiatorio feel.

peas

You can choose what you want from the dishes on display at the counter. There are also menus, but you get a better idea of what's actually available on the day by going to have a look.

There is quite a wide selection, with all the usual salads as well as soup, casserole dishes such as briam and grills.

The food was very tasty, and it obviously gets a lot of regular trade from locals.

It’s slightly more upmarket than some estiatorios - posh wine glasses, waiters in uniform - and a little bit more expensive, but not significantly.

We visited in December, and sat in the large, semi-basement room. It’s a pleasant space, and they don’t play any music, so quieter than some places. There is a terrace for summer use.

It’s in the same street as the Friday Kolonaki vegetable market and is open at lunch times. We’d recommend it.