Thessaloniki has a growing reputation for the quality of its food, with modern takes on traditional Greek dishes and local specialities. As with everywhere in Greece, eating out is a pleasure, and we felt that we only brushed the surface of what Thessaloniki has to offer.
As we were staying in the old town we tended to eat at places a bit closer to home (the buses were on strike while we were there, and a late night walk home wasn't always appealing).
Most places we really liked, and we didn't have any bad experiences.
Here are our comments on everywhere we ate during our stay in October 2016.
4 Leoforos Ochi Street
Horiatiki, chicken steak and chicken souvlaki, with 2 wines, was 35 euros. We were given a (large) free dessert of chocolate sponge and ice cream.
This Taverna in Ano Poli is part of a run of cafes and tavernas which have fantastic views over the city. They are perched above the city walls and below the castle.
Sitting outside at this taverna you really do feel like you are on a balcony above the city. You can sit and pick out Thessaloniki land marks, enjoy the sunset, admire the sparkling sea and extensive city sprawl. It's worth coming here just for that, but this is also a decent place to eat.
The food is a slightly modern take on traditional Greek staples, with the usual salads and grills.
It was all well cooked and tasty, and the prices reasonable, especially given the prime position.
Staff are friendly and professional. It's been going since 1935, and is a well known, popular place, frequented by Greeks and surprisingly lacking in tourists (in late September). It also has a big and pleasant looking inside.
We were staying just 2 minutes away and came several times during our stay.
Ladokalla me Thea
Pork chop, pantzaria, tomato- cucumber, feta, 1.5 wines was 25 euros. We were given substantial free additions to our meal on every visit - free dips on one occasion, and free pies on another. We also always got a huge free dessert of cake and ice cream.
This is a traditional, family run tavern just outside the city walls in Ano Poli, in a street that runs down the hill and faces the Castle wall.
There are 3 or 4 tavernas in this street, this is on the corner at the end.
It has tables outside on a terrace, as well as a balcony from which you get a partial view of the city - a small slice of the view you get from the Kreonidis. It's also got a reasonable sized inside.
We really liked this taverna. It is a proper family run place, with home-cooking. Everyone is very friendly and welcoming, the food delicious, and the prices good. We kept over-ordering as the portions were so big, and we got so many free dishes!
There is an unpretentious, old-fashioned air to it, and you get the feeling that the owners' main concern is not about money, but ensuring that you have a good evening and enjoy your meal.
It was fairly quiet when we were there, except at weekends, and we didn't see any other tourists in there at all.
78 Alexandra's Papadoupolou
Fried mushrooms, plate of beetroot and broccoli, Bekre meze, French fries, x 2 retsinas was 25 euros.
This lively taverna is at the bottom end of Ano Poli, picturesquely situated in a cobbled street. It is an attractive building, with a traditional taverna feel, good prices and tasty food. There are two or three tavernas, a café and a shop nearby, all with a slightly alternative, youngish feel to them.
It was one of the places we liked best in Thessaloniki. Like quite a few Thessaloniki tavernas it was run by younger people, but in quite a traditional manner. The food was really good quality, fresh and well-cooked, with big portions and good value.
We had a mix of dishes, which, apart from the fried mushrooms, were familiar Greek staples, done very well.
There was a lively atmosphere, and on a weekday evening was busy, but not packed. We sat inside, which was pleasant on a coolish evening. There is outside seating by the side of the taverna. This is a nice enough place to eat, but despite the quaintness of the street, there was a pretty endless stream of traffic.
Ouzerie to Yenti
I.Papareska, Eptapyrgion, Kastra,
Horta, fava, spetsofi, red peppers and 2 wines was 31 euros
This taverna is close to the top castle in Ano Poli, tucked away on a steep side street just before you get to the main entrance. It's a pretty setting, on a quiet street. There are tables on a terrace outside, which were supplemented with additions on the opposite pavement in the evening. There is also a large inside space.
We discovered this quite late in our stay, and only went once, so have no idea how characteristic of the place our experience is.
We went on a Friday night, just after 8pm, as they were setting up for the evening, and for 30 minutes or so were the only people there. By 9pm it was beginning to fill up, and by 10pm was absolutely bursting at the seams. This was mainly down to a coach load of around 50 Greek women, who all squashed onto the inside tables.
There was live music inside, amplified and coming through speakers on the terrace so it could also be enjoyed outside.
Although the musicians arrived at about 9pm, they didn't actually start playing until gone 11, and we didn't last long enough to hear much of it. It looked set to be a lively evening - the first song elicited lots of clapping, hand waving and joining in, so everyone was obviously up for it.
The atmosphere was very Greek, lively and interesting, and although this was probably an unusual evening, it looked like a popular place. The food was good, the people running it nice. We enjoyed our evening here and would recommend it.
Green salad, fried potatoes, mushroom risotto and pork kotsi and 2 wines were €33.
This taverna is in Ano Poli, and worth a visit. It is situated on the corner of one of the cobbled streets of the old town, near a pleasant square, which has a collective cafe on it. There is a small bakers in the street above.
The outside terrace is a pleasant place to sit. It's covered in a luxuriant vine, which provides shade for the tables. The street is quiet, with very little passing traffic.
The food is very tasty, with unusual dishes as well as the usual Greek classics.
The pork dish was really substantial, slow cooked until meltingly soft, with vegetables. The risotto - an unusual dish in Greece, though perhaps more common in northern Greece - was also very tasty. Good barrelled wine.
It's run by two young men, and appears to be a thriving place - popular with locals as well as drawing in some tourists.
Arab pie, fava, kolikithiakeftedes, cucumber/tomato salad, x 2 wines were 37 euros
This is a popular and well know taverna in Ladadkia.
Food was fresh and tasty with massive portions – we took the left overs home (they were clearly used to this as a request) and had enough for lunch the next day.
It has a ‘modern traditional’ feel, with old-fashioned tables and chairs and traditional atmosphere, but a modern take on the food.
It does get quite a lot of tourists, but it is in the heart of Ladadkia, where most of the tourist restaurants are, and it is good value.
It also seems to be popular with locals.
Tiganies & Skares
Aigyptou (in the square)
Chicken souvlaki, one stick souvlaki, politiki salad and fried courgette plus 2 wines was €24.
This is in the busy, popular square at the bottom of Aigyptou in Ladadika.
The food was good, well cooked and plentiful. All the Greek staples done very nicely, with big portions and cheap prices. Excellent fried potatoes.
It's a bit like an upmarket fast-food place, only better than anything you'd find in England.
The service was fast and efficient, and you could eat cheaply and quickly, or, like everywhere in Greece settle in for as long as you want, there is never any pressure to move on.
The place was really busy, a lot of groups and families, but quite a range of people. A few tourists but not many.
Sitting here you get the advantage of the lively atmosphere from the other tavernas in the square, and people coming and going. A good option for this area if you are not looking for anything very fancy.
They have another restaurant in different part of the city.
Klafthmonos 59, Ano Polis
Sausage, meatballs in tomato sauce, lettuce and rocket salad x wine euro 24
This is on the corner of the street, close to the main square in Ano Polis. It is a family run place, with a traditional, old fashioned feel to it and quirky décor – for example the old radios on one wall.
We liked the food and the overall atmosphere of the place, but it was always very quiet. We were the only people in there when we ate there, and we didn’t see people in there even on weekend nights.
This may just be an end of season thing, or it could be that it’s had a down-turn in its popularity.
El Venizelous 10, Pavlos Melas, Ano Poli. This taverna is in a modern building, just outside the castle gates, on the same street as the Ladokallo.
Fried aubergine and cheese in batter, Horta/panzaria, chicken fillet x 2 wines 22 euros.
This taverna didn't immediately appeal to us, as it looked a bit touristy, with a set menu in English displayed outside.
It was often quite empty but on the Saturday night we went it was packed. Contrary to initial impressions, it was full of local people, mainly family groups. There was live(not very good) music. The food was fine(although the fried aubergines were really rich and a mistake). It was really cheap, and was ok, especially on a lively night, but we wouldn’t recommend it over the Ladokallo or other choices in this area.
Apostolos Pavlou 35
Sausage, politiki salata, fava, five dips and wine was 30 euros
This is an old fashioned looking place at the point where the new and old town meet close to the city wall.
It has a number of tables outside in a very quiet road and a reasonable sized room upstairs for the winter. It doesn’t open until around 8.30 and was quiet on the weekday night we were there. It may get busy later.
This was one of our least favourite places, but it’s difficult to put our finger on exactly why. The quality of the food was fine,
it wasn’t overpriced, and the people were friendly enough. For some reason it just didn’t click.
Partly we didn’t order very sensibly: getting both fava and a dish of five dips meant there wasn’t much variety. Partly we were bothered by insects, but this was true of several other places as well. Partly it may just have caught us in the wrong sort of mood.
We wouldn’t recommend against if it’s convenient for you, or you fancy the look of it, but we felt the Inglis, which is only about five minutes away, was a better bet.