For Feta or Worse – Greek food
Feta cheese, hummus and moussaka are the dishes that spring to mind when we think of Greek food, but there is a new wave of gastronomy especially in the capital which has seen a number of modern cafes and restaurants which bring a new twist to Athenian cuisine.
One of the nicest ways to see what is on offer is by one of the local food tours which take visitors on an eye-opening and mouth-watering adventure.
‘Greeks eat a lot of pies’ said Maria as we make a stop at a fragrant bakery in Psiri, the Soho of Athens. This Bohemian part of town which is home to traditional coffee shops and simple stores like this one sell Bougaza, Loukoumades and other syrupy sweet pies which the Greeks love as well as savoury pastries stuffed with spinach and cheese
Pie shops like this were once seen as an insult to women, as wives are judged by their pie-making abilities and a husband visiting a pie shop was tantamount to adultery
Restaurants breaking the mould of Greek cuisine include the ultra-modern Tzitzikas Kai Mermigas just off Syntagma Square with its white walls and displays of retro olive oil cans and bottles. On the menu is an unusual chicken in pastry as well as baby goat and mussels in ouzo sauce. Fellow diners range from parliament workers to big groups of friends. Athenians claim the ubiquitous ouzo is just for tourists, so instead try tsipouro (it’s very similar) or one of the local beers
Also reinventing Greek classics is the buzzy Melilotos in the Athenian downtown shopping district on Kalamiotou Street. The menu changes daily and is all locally sourced. Popular with lunch-time comfort food seekers, you will find hearty sausages with white beans, homemade Greek pasta and some lovely vegetarian options