Athens is a popular tourist destination due to its fantastic weather, historic sites, and rich cultural heritage. It doesn’t end there as this city is also a culinary wonderland with a large number of excellent eateries. The good news is that you don’t need to frequent expensive restaurants to enjoy tasty food. Many establishments in Athens sell popular street food such as the delicious bougatsa, Greek souvlaki, and peinirli, to name a few. Moreover, you’ll find many of these establishments near key attractions such as Acropolis, Monastiraki, and Plaka. Here are the top street food you must try in Athens, Greece, so plan your upcoming trip accordingly.
1. Greek souvlaki
It would be a huge mistake to visit Athens without trying out one of its most popular street foods, namely, souvlaki. After all, Greeks have been cooking food on skewers since the Bronze Age, and souvlaki is a perfect example of this fine tradition. Souvlaki consists of small pieces of chicken, lamb, or pork that are cut in small cubes and placed on a skewer. It’s grilled and lightly seasoned and then served with a side of fries or inside a pita bread with tzatziki and vegetables.
2. Traditional koulouri
While walking around Athens, you’ll come across many bakeries, confectioneries, and street vendors selling the traditional koulouri. It’s an affordable and tasty snack that’s shaped like a large ring and made from active yeast, olive oil, sesame seeds, sugar, whole wheat flour, and lukewarm water. Many of the locals enjoy their traditional koulouri together with a cup of coffee while they go about their business.
Lahmajoun doesn’t originate in Greece and isn’t well known in many parts of the country. However, due to the many Armenian immigrants from Asia Minor that settled in Athens, you’ll find several establishments that specialize in this alternative form of pizza. Instead of mozzarella as the key topping, lahmajoun consists of minced meat, cayenne pepper, cinnamon, cumin, onions, parsley, paprika, tomatoes, and a thin dough base. You may want to order a soda together with your lahmajoun, as it’s a particularly spicy dish.
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Photo is only for illustrative purposes
It’s generally accepted that pizza was originally conceived in Naples, Italy. Did you know that Naples was founded by the Greeks in 600 BC and they have been baking derivatives of pizza since antiquity? Well, it seems that the connection that Greeks have to pizza is deeper than we think, and this continues. Take the peinirli or pizza boat as it’s commonly called, which does resemble a small boat thanks to its oval-shaped opening that’s filled with cheese and other yummy toppings. Its ingredients consist of bacon, gruyere, melted butter, pepper, granulated sugar, olive oil, yeast, and whole wheat flour.
Kioftes, or Greek falafel, is yet another popular street food that both Athenians and tourists love. These delicious meatballs are either placed inside a pita bread with vegetables and tzatziki or served in kebab form. The tastiest kioftes always have the freshest ingredients and are carefully prepared and grilled. They consist of either ground beef or lamb, black pepper, cayenne pepper, cinnamon, cumin, dried oregano, garlic, mint, onion, paprika, parsley, and sea salt.
6. Fish in a Cone
Photo is only for illustrative purposes
There are a plethora of excellent seafood eateries in Athens, which makes it difficult to only recommend one. Since most tourists tend to visit the Acropolis, Monastiraki Flea Market, and Plaka, it’s a good idea to pop by the nearby Zisis: Fish in a Cone outlet if you’re heading to this part of the city. This trendy establishment serves anchovies, cod, fried fish, fish sticks, and squid rings inside a cone, which makes it incredibly convenient for customers to enjoy their snack on the go. Also, they serve a scrumptious Greek salad and alcoholic beverages and stay open till late in the evening.
Zisis: Fish in a Cone
Address: Athinaidos 3, Athina 105 63, Greece
Opening hours: 11:30am - 12am (daily)
If you have a penchant for waffles, then you’ll probably enjoy the bougatsa for breakfast during your trip to Athens. It’s a delicious and sweet dessert that consists of butter, cinnamon, icing sugar, milk, lemon juice, phyllo pastry, and semolina custard. You’ll likely have to choose between two flavors, namely, cheese or minced meat. Both are equally tasty, and it depends on personal preference, which of the two you’ll enjoy the most.
Loukoumades are often described as Greek doughnuts or honey puffs and are not only sold in Athens but at Greek festivals around the world. When in Athens, you’ll be able to find loukoumades at just about any good confectionery store and even some coffee shops. If you’re wondering what goes into these tasty treats, then we’re happy to oblige. Its ingredients are all-purpose flour, cinnamon, canola or olive oil, dry yeast, honey, milk, sea salt, sugar, vanilla extract, and water. You’ll be able to tell that you’re eating well-made loukoumades if they’re crunchy on the outside and soft on the inside.
The humble cheese pie or tiropita is a great choice if you’re looking for an affordable snack that you can munch down on the go. What makes it stand out from a typical cheese pie that you’ll find in Western European countries is that the tiropita has a multilayered phyllo dough pastry and feta cheese filling. Quite often tiropita may also have sesame seeds and mint that further enhance the taste of an already delicious pie.
If you’re looking for a healthier alternative to tiropita, then look no further than spanakopita. It has less feta cheese and a whole lot more spinach but tastes just as good. A few other of its ingredients include dried dill weed, eggs, olive oil, and phyllo dough pastry. Most bakeries, food kiosks, and pastry shops around Athens sell spanakopita and an assortment of other pies.
Tasty treats in a historic city
It’s no secret that Athens is the birthplace of democracy and legendary philosophers such as Plato and Socrates. Nowadays, it’s a popular tourist destination that boasts a plethora of excellent eateries and street foods. Plan a visit to the beautiful city to have your fill.
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