Some of the best seafood in Athens is to be found around Piraeus, the city’s main port. From Michelin-star restaurants to cheap and cheerful fish tavernas by the water, here’s where to find the freshest seafood.

By Carolina Doriti

Think you know Piraeus? Yes, it’s the world’s second largest passenger port. But to Athenians, it’s not just a place to jump on a ferry and escape to the islands. To us, Piraeus is a diverse seaside community of shipping merchants, working fishermen and old world charms. You’ll find us on any given Sunday enjoying straight-from-the-net seafood at authentic, laid-back favourites like Margaro, or celebrated fine dining restaurants like Varoulko.

Piraeus retains a nostalgic character that’s rare in big cities nowadays. You can feel it in the grittier neighbourhoods like Keratsini, Drapetsona and Perama; but also in the photogenic areas of Mikrolimano and Kastella, Piraiki and Marina Zeas. Perhaps it’s because historically, Piraeus was inhabited mostly by islanders; people of the sea, who are usually simple, open and kind. 

Piraeus is home to Athens’ central fish auction (in Drapetsona), as well as an organised fish market in the central shopping district. Little surprise then that some of the best secret spots to enjoy local seafood are tucked away here, along with some of the most famous seafood restaurants in Greece. Here are our top picks—all well worth spending a few extra hours in Athens, before you head to the islands.

Mikrolimano at Pireaus during golden hour.

Panorama

This family-run fish taverna has movie credits to its name. It started life in the 1930s as a kafenio, serving coffee and bites to the locals of Kastella, perhaps the prettiest district in Piraeus. In 1957, Paraschos Manioυdakis—who came over to Piraeus from Crete to work in the docks—opened a proper taverna by Profitis Ilias, a panoramic spot up on Kastella hill. A star was born. Thanks to its beautiful location, and a balcony that seems to be suspended over Mikrolimano bay, Panorama appeared in several old films, including The Burglars (1971) with Jean Paul Belmondo and Omar Sharif. Now in the hands of Paraschos’ grandson (of the same name), the restaurant has undergone a renovation but the menu hasn’t changed a bit. Top quality, seasonal fish and seafood are cooked to simple perfection. Portions are large, salads are fresh, and everything is made in-house. Try their delicious kakavia—the traditional fisherman’s soup—or their steamed prawns with a light olive oil, mustard and caper sauce. Who knows? You might even bump into Angela Merkel; she ate here during a visit to Athens.

Yperokeanio

Go hungry and try a little of everything at Yperokeanio.

Photo: Orestis Seferoglou

Fried red mullets from Margaro's simple menu.

Photo: Orestis Seferoglou

Margaro

Ilias

Neighbourhood hero Ilias.

Photo: Thomas Gravanis

Get ready to pile your plate high with the best seafood in Piraeus.

Photo: Eleni Veziri

Great value seafood worth hanging around for.

Photo: Thomas Gravanis

Yiannis

Imerovigli

These clams are just as tasty as they are photogenic.

Photo: Courtesy of Imerovigli

Dourabeis serves up simple sophistication.

Photo: Orestis Seferoglou

Dourabeis

Taxidevontas

Fresh fish by the basket.

Photo: Courtesy of Taxidevontas

Savour stylish and seasonal seafood at this Michelin-starred Piraeus landmark.

Photo: Varoulko Seaside

Varoulko Seaside

Papaioannou

Seafood this good deserves a front row.

Photo: Thomas Gravanis