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Whether you’re interested in sampling some traditional pies or international treats or you’re hunting for a cheap lunch while in the Greek capital, here are seven of the best places to go.
(Sampled by yours truly. But just a bite of each since I’m in training to win gold in next season’s swimming competitions! Feel free to indulge further yourself, though.)
This bakery is a classic on the Athens food tour circuit, and for good reason. It’s one of the oldest bakeries and super central, tucked just behind Ermou Street. Pynka makes and stocks the tastiest breads.
I was waiting outside on a food tour, and a Greek man even took the time to come over and tell me this was the place to find the best bread. Their traditionally made cheese pies and the spanakopita spinach pies are revered, too.
The shop is tiny but very popular. You’ll find several different types of bread and, of course, traditional savoury pastries. Their famous speciality bread is made from barley, wheat and oats, risen several times and then baked in a wood-fired oven.
I hear they open overnight on the Sunday before Clean Monday because it’s so popular for their Lagana. (The freshly baked bread for Lent.)
Takis is in the heart of Athens, very close to the Acropolis Museum. Stop by when you need a break for any of the traditional items, freshly baked bread or a sweet treat.
This is another interesting place in central Athens, just slightly tucked off the beaten track. It’s only a little store but with plenty of high-quality baked goods. I popped there after going to Old City Hamam for a Turkish Bath.
I had a bite-sized lemon pie that made my mouth water with a scrummy tangy hit from the first bite. The man who served me reliably informed me the Ekmek in the next tray was the best you’d ever care to taste.
But I took a piece of the apple tart he also recommended. And I second the recommendation. It would have been perfect with lashings of custard.
(If I could ever find some in Athens. Note to self: I must make the time to visit the British food shop in Chalandri again soon.)
If you want to stay and eat, they have a few little stools outside on the pavement.
Ipanema Espresso Bar and Bakery
This is another spot not far from Syntagma Square. They were nominated by a local for my list of top coffee places in Athens, so grab an espresso if you need a pick-me-up. They have a few tables and chairs inside.
I went to try their spanakopita because I heard it was one of the best in town. Can confirm it’s true. Spanakopita is one of the most traditional dishes in Greece, but the quality can vary widely.
The portion here was a huge square slice, and it was soo cripsy. Some places make the puff pastries for these pies really greasy. But this was perfect, and the pastry was even with a lovely crust.
I was quite hungry by the time I got here so I went far beyond my one-bite rule with this. There wasn’t much left!
They sell plenty of other things besides the pies. So get a variety of traditional biscuits or whatever else takes your fancy.
Thissio is another local bakery and the perfect spot to pick up some fantastic sandwiches for lunch. It’s absolutely jam-packed with high-quality products, so good luck choosing!
I got a cheese salad baguette. The bread was amazingly fresh and crunchy. And the herbs on the cheese were very flavoursome. The soft berries and chocolate cookies on the counter intrigued me, so I tried one of those too.
And if you happen to be visiting around Christmas, their New Year cakes were the nicest I’ve seen. They were in pretty shapes like bells and looked extremely tasty.
There’s no seating here but you can find somewhere pleasant in Thissio to enjoy it.
Marinos Kosmas Gluten-Free Pastry and Bakery
This place is one of the best things to happen in Athens for coeliacs and those avoiding gluten. And it’s the only bakery I didn’t get to myself.
They have long opening hours, but it’s closed on Mondays, which was when I tried to go. I’m heading back to the UK this week, and I didn’t have time to go across another day.
The reviews say it’s worthy of my list, though (4.9/5 across more than 200 reviews), even if you need to make a bit of a trip outside the centre to visit. I’ll update this once I’ve been.
Dimou Bakery/Pastry Shop
This is another great local bakery in the Thissio neighbourhood. All their products are made in-house, and the honey-drenched baklava is a winner.
This particular Athenian bakery has everything from the traditional cheese pie to classic desserts.
If you’re after sourdough bread, then KORA Bakery is the place to go. In up-market Kolonaki, Kora’s bread-making is done with love.
As a result, they have several types of slow-fermented, gut-friendly sourdough bread. At the weekend, they even offer a version with honey, cocoa and dark chocolate! You can see the full menu here on their website.
Kora is also a Viennoiserie bakery, where all their products are made from dough created reverently through “an obsessive and detailed ritual”.
If you’re vegan (and even if you’re not), this will be an unforgettable food experience for you. Everything in the pretty shop is vegan. And by all accounts, people go back again and again to sample much of the menu.
They have a lovely inside area as well as a popular outdoor seating section. It always seems to be busy. If you’re passing, they also have a water refill station. I dare you to try and leave without being tempted by a vegan treat!
This is a fun little bakery specialising in croissants (if you hadn’t guessed!). I got the cinnamon, and it was delicious. But they do their own take on savoury pies based on traditional recipes as well.
There’s a counter with stool where you can eat in and some benches on the pavement outside. But it’s mostly takeaway.