Everyone who comes to Athens ends up in Plaka. But how to find authentic places to eat and drink among so many touristy spots? We took a walk around Plaka to help you make sense of the maze of alleys dotted with lively cafés and restaurants.

By Maria Kostaki

Greek liquor bottles set the scene at Brettos.

Photo: Thomas Gravanis

Brettos €€

Yiasemi €

Spill onto the stairs, it's the best spot.

Photo: Thomas Gravanis

Is there anything better than wine and cheese?

Photo: Manos Chatzikonstantis

L’Audrion €€

Glykis Kafenio €

Welcome to Glykis. Come on in.

Photo: Manos Chatzikonstantis

Question: How many scoops can you fit into a cone?

Photo: Manos Chatzikonstantis

Da Vinci Gelato €

Platanos Taverna €€

It's not meat, it's lamb!

Photo: Manos Chatzikonstantis

One of the finest coffee spots in town.

Photo: Manos Chatzikonstantis

Café Melina €

Dioskouri €

Ancient Agora calling.

Photo: Thomas Gravanis

The stairway to Greek food heaven.

Photo: Thomas Gravanis

Saita €€

Barbounaki €€

Not everything in Plaka has to be about tzatziki and moussaka. Seafood is a staple of the city and this restaurant is right outside the Metropolitan Cathedral, with tables spilling out into the scenic square. Barbounaki (Greek for red mullet) is the fifth taverna in the city that chef George Papaionnou has opened. His upscale claim-to-fame is Papaioannou restaurant in Piraeus. At Barbounaki, he makes his culinary art accessible to all. Focussing on seafood mezedes (plates to share) rather than large fish on the grill or more complicated dishes, this place gives you the opportunity to try everything. What’s a must here is, of course, is the fried red mullet. The steamed mussels, grilled octopus, calamari, and haloumi cheese are all delicious. The sea bass carpaccio is fabulous and if you’re lucky and crayfish are in season, ask them to throw a few on the grill. 

"Focussing on seafood mezedes (plates to share) rather than large fish on the grill or more complicated dishes, this place gives you the opportunity to try everything."