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Street Food in Athens: A Varied and Tasty Experience



The main street food specialties in Athens are cheese pies in many varieties and souvlaki (small pieces of grilled veal or pork served on a skewer) and also koulouri (rings of bread sprinkled with sesame seeds). Italian tastes being extremely popular in Greece have made pizza by the slice another favorite for street food together with sandwiches of all kinds. Recently the traditional sweet loukoumades (deep fried dough with honey and cinnamon) have been rediscovered and have become a popular choice for a snack on the road, while the Middle Eastern influence is also present with falafel served as street food.  Falafellas , situated in the upcoming entertainment neighborhood of Agia Irini, very close to Monastiraki, became an immediate success,  Impasto-Pizza by the Slice in Kolonaki is a popular all-day option for the tastiest, and not to mention best value, pizza, Loukumami is a cozy place on central Panepistimiou street serving not only loukoumades but also churros and beignets, Lukumades in the center of Athens, close to Monastiraki, makes these delicious sweet bites in a modern space, served steaming hot, with honey and cinnamon,  souvlaki at  Kostas on  quiet Pentelis street, just off Mitropoleos, is considered one of the best and probably the most famous  souvlaki in Athens, at Sumsum you can enjoy genuine Middle Eastern tastes, Not Just Falafel serves a great selection of Middle Eastern and Greek wraps and dishes, Streetwok is popular for its quick, quality and affordable meals, The Pasta Shop specializes in delicious fresh pasta with all time favorite sauces, Tortuga is the place to enjoy sophisticated but affordable street food


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O Kostas


Souvlaki is probably the most well known Greek food and is by far the most popular street food for Athenians and visitors. Kostas on quiet Pentelis street, just off Mitropoleos, is considered one of the best and probably the most famous souvlaki, as the various newspaper articles on the walls testify. In this small, unpretentious shop, souvlaki has been made since 1950, and the aroma is tantalizing. Souvlaki is made with small pieces of tender veal or pork, cooked with art and served on a small skewer- kalamaki in Greek- or wrapped in pita bread together with tomatoes, yoghurt, parsley, onions. At Kostas you get the essentials, in three varieties: souvlaki on a skewer served with small pieces of pita bread, souvlaki wrapped in pita bread and hamburger in pita bread with all the accompanying vegetables. Passersby, neighbors, tourists, make a point of tasting Kostas souvlaki, and customers have been faithful over the years, appreciating the quality and taste.


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Ambelokipi


The concept of Streetwok is simple: tasty, reasonably priced, quickly prepared and fresh meals. You can choose your favorite in three steps: select the base, add whatever extra ingredients you prefer, choose the sauce you like. Your order will be ready in a few minutes and is served in a take away box. The choices include noodles or rice with fresh vegetables and egg, veggie dish with broccoli, mushrooms, carrot, mixed peppers, fresh bean sprouts, spring onion and white cabbage. Delicious favorites to add are shrimp, pineapple, baby corn, cashews and sauces such as sweet chili, coconut curry, hot sichuan, just to mention a few. You can find Streetwok on Panormou street and also in the northern suburb of Nea Erythrea.


The Pasta Shop
Photo courtesy of The Pasta Shop


The Pasta Shop on Kalamiotou street, right in the commercial center of Athens, is a small no frills place which serves delicious fresh pasta. Timeless classic tastes such as arrabbiata, al pesto, bolognaise, carbonara, Napoli and also variations with eggplants, tomato, basil and olive oil or tomato, cream, basil, or chicken with mustard. You can choose between spaghetti, penne, rigattoni, or ravioli accompanied with your favorite sauce. All the dishes are prepared on the spot to be enjoyed immediately or to take with you. The simple but essential menu includes also healthy salads, such as pasta salad with fusilli, caesars salad, village and Italian salad and the prices are very reasonable.


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Not Just Falafel
Photo courtesy of Not Just Falafel


At Not Just Falafel, very close to Syntagma square, you can enjoy falafel made with chick peas grown in the foothills of Mt. Olympus plus a great selection of Middle Eastern and Greek wraps and dishes. Plenty of vegetarian/vegan selections, made with fresh, local ingredients. Enjoy your meal on the bustling pedestrian street in historic downtown Athens or get something to go. Great selection of Greek and European beers too. Favorites from the menu are the falafel and kibbeh sandwiches, the Lebanese Fatush salad, the tabbuleh, and the hummus served with freshly made pitta bread. The souvlaki, served with a variety of sauces, is also very good.


Tortuga Food Bar
Photo courtesy of Tortuga Food Bar


Tortuga Food Bar opened in October 2014 in the neighborhood of Pangrati and is the first slow food bar in town, with specialties such as the international tortilla and sophisticated but affordable street food. The tortillas are home made, made in house daily, and are served with fresh seasonal fruit and vegetables, and various meats, in original combinations by chef Marko Rossi. Arguably they are the most unique, most tasty, most healthy and most value for money wraps in town. The menu includes delicious variations such as veal tagine: veal cooked with Moroccan spices, ginger and dried fruit, accompanied with Basmati rice, tasty kebab: juicy lamb and veal with smoked paprika, tomato and sauce with yoghurt and chili, accompanied with cucumber, onion and parsley. Must try are the mushroom patties, made with three different kinds of mushroom cooked in wine, fresh aromatic herbs and parmesan with blue cheese sauce. Another specialty are the freshly prepared soups, ideal for vegetarians, the freshly fried potatoes accompanied with dips and the home made desserts.




Simple things are the best in life. Like the unforgettable tastes of childhood. That is what Lukumades is all about. In this attractive space on Eolou street in downtown Athens you can taste the delicious round, crisp lukumades with honey and cinnamon and also in other variations. The recipe is traditional and perfectly executed. However you can also enjoy other combinations, such as ice cream on the side, different toppings, filled with chocolate praline, lemon and mastiha cream, vanilla-honey ice cream and caramelized almonds, kazan dipi ice cream or dipped in hot chocolate praline. Lukumades have deep roots in Greek culinary tradition and are made with dough, which is then fried in large pans. The honey and cinnamon give them a unique flavor. Whichever variation you decide to taste, you can be sure it will be mouthwatering.




Loukoumades are a traditional Greek sweet, made with deep fried dough which is then dipped in honey and sprinkled with cinnamon. They must always be eaten hot to be enjoyed to the maximum. Recently this traditional taste has been rediscovered and revived, with a different and more varied approach, ideal for street food. Loukumami is a cozy place on central Panepistimiou street serving not only loukoumades but also churros and beignets, the Spanish and French variations respectively, combined with delicious sauces, fresh fruit, for a mouthwatering result. Milk shakes, smoothies, home made ice cream and yoghurt are also served and customers can follow all the procedure of preparing these delicacies, while waiting to be served. Recent additions to the menu include Loukumami Savory Salty & Spicy, with delicious sandwiches such as turkey with cream cheese, tomato, lettuce; tuna, with cream of tuna, soya, dill and cucumber; prosciutto with cream of parmesan, lettuce and tomato; veggie, with Cretan goats cheese, rocket, cream of red pepper and basil. Definitely taste the new "jazzy" sandwich for which you can choose your own combination of tastes.


Sumsum
Photo courtesy of Sofia Bennett


Sumsum is the new favorite amongst street food restaurants in Athens. The name is inspired by the basic ingredient of Arab cuisine, namely sesame, and the space is located on central Solonos street. Traditional Arab specialties are served here daily except Sundays. Chef Ahmand Alraee, of Syrian descent, opened Sumsum aiming to bring the flavors of authentic Arab cuisine closer to the wide public of Athens, offering delicious, high quality dishes at affordable prices. The special salads are curated by expert Abdul, who shares the project. The specialty is falafel, served in pitta bread with hummus and vegetables and also mutabal (puree of smoked egg plant with mince of veal and lamb, in pitta bread). The menu includes taouk (marinated chicken with yoghurt and aromatic herbs in pitta bread), kibbeh and lahmajoun are also popular dishes. Sumsum serves delicious soups also for vegetarians, fattoush salad and other dishes from the Middle East.


Falafellas
Photo courtesy of Falafellas


Falafellas is definitely the place for falafel lovers and all those who like reasonably priced healthy light food to nibble on the street. Situated in the upcoming entertainment neighborhood of Agia Irini, very close to Monastiraki, Falafellas became an immediate success after opening in May. Falafel, made with chick peas, is very popular in all Middle Eastern countries, combined with cumin and wrapped in pita bread is wonderfully tasty. Falafellas make their falafel in two sizes- pocket and giant- and serve it with tahini sauce, lettuce, tomato, cucmber, aubergine, yoghurt sauce and red sauce. The ingredients are always fresh and prepared daily. The menu also includes salads, non vegetarian falafel, tabouleh and hummus.


Impasto pizza by the slice
Photo courtesy of Impasto pizza by the slice


Following the recent surge in the street-food scene, Impasto-Pizza by the Slice in Kolonaki is the new, popular all-day option for the tastiest, and not to mention best value, pizza! In its ultra-modern design space, you can watch your thin-crust pizza being made and choose from around 20 combinations, all made from authentic ingredients including Italian buffalo mozzarella, famous Tuscan cold cuts, Spanish chorizo, fresh vegetables complimented by home-made infused oils. The Italian experience does not end there, with Impasto serving daily a variety of freshly made panini, tramezzini and salads, as well as the notorious Gizmo sandwich, the Italian-American Beef Burger covered with melted mozzarella cheese and served on a delicious home-made bun. An added bonus is the selected Italian wine list.


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Meet Nelly Paraskevopoulou

Born and bred in Athens, Nelly went on the move after finishing high school and spending some years working in textiles.  For her, Italy was the next chapter. But, after 12 years, it was back...  More About Nelly

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