City Guide Athens by Chris Kontos

As a bonus from an interview we did with Chris Kontos in our AW16 magazine, he revealed his selection of the best places to eat, drink, shop and wander in the Greek capital. 

Philos Athens 

Multi-use space for a nice breakfast and a great selection of magazines, local herbs, enamelware, clothes and stationery, housed in a beautiful building built in 1937.

Kosta Souvlaki

The best pita, with meat that has real smoky flavor, and a special tomato sauce. Extra points for Mr. Kostas himself: he has been making souvlaki over the coal fire for more than half a century and has spent that whole time talking about his favorite soccer team, AEK Athens.

Kosta Souvlaki Platia Agias Irinis 2, Athens +30 21 0323 2971

Tailor Made Cafe

Next door to Kostas, a crowded café offering good coffee made from special beans roasted on the premises, and a great cold brew. Also, check out and then enjoy one of the best selections of Japanese whiskey in the world.

Tailor Made Cafe Platia Agias Irinis 2, Athens

Sabar

A tiny and low-key café that serves the best coffee in town thanks to a barista who ensures that every cup is perfect. Handmade chocolates and pastries also available.

Sabar Perikleous 40, Athens

Nikitas

Situated in one of the oldest (and now gentrified) parts of the city, this traditional taverna offers a good variety of freshly cooked Greek dishes, grills and fresh vegetables at the best prices in town.

Nikitas Ag. Anargiron 19, Athens

Diporto

Next to Athens’ central meat and fish market, Diporto is one
of the oldest places to eat in Athens: it has been serving the same menu since 1887. Simple, almost minimalist Greek cuisine featuring fresh fish and vegetables. Go down the steps, past the old and beautiful washbasin, and get teleported to another time and place. 

Diporto Sokratous 9, Athens

Heteroclito

Simply the best destination for Greek wine in Athens, this tiny bistro-wine bar is owned by Dimitris and Mantlen who are responsible for a resurgence of interest in Greek wine and its producers. Their Greek-only cellar is huge, while their reasonable prices mean you can dive right into exploring this unfairly ignored wine world. A meeting place for friends and creative Athenians, it is one of my favorite places to spend a cool night.

Blue Bird

The tiniest bar you can imagine, with a vintage feeling and a great atmosphere that’s always oozing good vibes. I take care of the music here every Friday and it has been a perennial favorite for years. It’s the kind of place you go without calling anyone before, because you know you’ll run into someone you know. 

Baba au Rum

One of the first bars to open in Athens’ historical center, Baba au Rum was making great cocktails long before everyone became a mixologist. It’s a proper drinking establishment, run by owner Thanos to showcase one of the best collections of rum anywhere in the world and to educate people in the art of mixing. Athens is almost overrun with bars right now, but this place is still a must for all discerning drinkers. 

Monastiraki Flea Market

The place to visit if you want to buy anything from an old chair to a rare Greek disco record, the city’s flea market is overflowing with smells, colors and people. It can sometimes be too much, but it generally holds a nice surprise for the patient. Make sure you visit the Avissinia Café (round the corner at Kinetou 7) to eat while enjoying the view of the Acropolis from the terrace.

Monastiraki Flea Market Ifestou, Athens +30 694 608 6114

Agora

Probably more interesting than the Acropolis itself, this site was the heart of Ancient Athens. The walk up the hill to the Temple of Hephaestus is probably the most enchanting in Athens.

Temple of Poseidon, Sounia

An hour or so’s drive down the coast from Athens, on the most southerly point of the Attica Peninsula, is the Temple of Poseidon. Sitting on the top of a cliff overlooking the Saronic Gulf, it’s a place with an almost eerie energy, and is both magical and serene. Everything about this place is breathtaking. It might be swamped with tourists in the summer, but try visiting at another time and you will be rewarded with a life-changing experience. The drive down the coast is worth the trip alone. 

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