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Psirri is a lively area of cafes, tavernas, clubs and bars, mainly in renovated neo-classical houses. It's bounded by Athinas on one side and Ermou on another, and is a short five minute walk from Monistiraki. If you are staying in the hotel Attalos it is the area immediately behind the hotel.

Once upon a time it was full of small workshops, and you can still spot the odd leather workshop in operation. As these went out of business, the area became more and more run-down, until about ten years ago, when it started to be regenerated. It became a popular place with young Greeks, and then gradually more and more well known to tourists.

The central streets in the area are pedestrianised, and many of the buildings beautifully converted. It can be quiet during the day, but comes to life in the evenings when the place can really be buzzing. On a Sunday lunch time Greeks visit for extended long lunches - starting around 2pm and going on to 6pm. There's lots of live music and places get packed.

There are a wide variety of places to eat here, from souvlaki joints to posh restaurants. They vary in quality and price, and some can be over-priced and a bit disapointing.

Here are the ones that we have enjoyed.

Taverna tou Psirri

Eschylou 12, Psirri

In March 2016 a meal for one of: horta (greens), giourvetsi (beef and pasta)and wine was 15 euros.

taverna

This is a friendly, low-key, traditional place with reasonable prices and good food - the sort of place where you can sit for a long time over a glass of wine after you've finished eating.

The food is all on display at the counter, in estiatorio fashion, so you can have a look and see what you fancy before you order.

There's plenty of space inside, with more seating upstairs. There are seats outside, and a garden area in the summer.

When we've been - out of season - it's been busy but not packed, and there has always been a good balance of tourists and locals.

Krasopoulio tou Kokkora

Esopou 4 & Karaiskaki

In December 2016: Corgettes fritters, fava, loukanika, lakano/carrots/marouli salad, wine: 32 euros

decor

This is a bit of a find in Psirri.

Itís an unpretentious place, with quirky, old fashioned decor - we like the old photos and clocks on the walls.

They have decent sized portions of excellent food at very good prices. We didn't try it, but they had a 3-course, 10 euro menu, which judging by the rest of the food, would be good value.

The staff were very pleasant, chatty and happy to help us out with our Greek.

food

We were given halva and small glasses of a pleasant hot, spicy wine as feeebies at the end.

There is a relaxed atmosphere and on a December evening we were the only tourists in there.

We can well imagine coming back.

Oinopoleion

Aishylou street 12, Psirri

In December 2016: Beetroot, melitzana salata, chickpea casserole, sausage, retsina, 35 euros

taverna

This is next door to the taverna tou Psyri and is another good bet in the area. It's got a very traditional style and feel, with barrels of wine on the walls, traditional tables and wine jugs.

There are old photos on the wall and the place has a relaxed, casual atmosphere.

The food has a Cretan touch, and was all very tasty. The chickpea casserole was really nice, with meltingly soft chickpeas in sauce.

food

They also had retsina barrelled wine which we liked a lot and is unusual nowadays. The staff were pleasant.

There was live music, which started around 9pm. The musicians spent a long time tuning up and getting their sound system right, so we were anticipating it for some time before it actually came to pass!

It added to the atmosphere, and it is always good to hear live Greek music, but we weren't really grabbed by this lot. We think it was Cretan, which we are not so familiar with.

melitzana

Overall we had a nice evening here. It was a little more expensive than some of the other places, and unusually for the time of year the majority of other people in the taverna were tourists.

We liked it, but on balance prefer Taverna tou Psirri and Krasopoulio tou Kokkora.