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Pavlos Kiriakis’ guide to Athens

Pavlos Kiriakis, a chef based in Athens.

iStock/courtesy Pavlos Kiriakis

Pavlos Kiriakis’ guide to Athens

From street food to traditional tavernas and fine dining, discover the best places to eat in Athens from local chef Pavlos Kiriakis of Michelin-starred The Zillers.
14 April, 2023

Heading to Athens and wondering where to eat? The Greek capital has a wealth of brilliant restaurants, from superior souvlaki and traditional tavernas for Greek favourites to fine dining. 

Who better to guide you on your journey around Athens’ best restaurants than local chef Pavlos Kiriakis, who heads up the Michelin-starred kitchen at The Zillers, a boutique hotel restaurant in the central Plaka neighbourhood? 

Here’s his guide to where to eat in Athens. 

Athens from above.

Fotis Fotopoulos on Unsplash


“It’s a traditional tavern that opened in 1930. Since the first day they have continued serving the same food. The same traditional Greek recipes such as spinach pie with handmade phyllo dough, rooster with tomato and wine served with fresh pasta, lamb cooked in the oven with potatoes and a big variety of vegetables cooked in the casserole with fresh tomato and herbs such as okras, zucchini and eggplant.”


“This opened in 1962 as a traditional tavern. It’s one of the most historic taverns in Athens. It’s very famous for the cabbage rolls (‘lahanontolmades’), meatballs, French fries and the fried hake with ‘skordalia’ garlic sauce.” 


The Athens cityscape.

Victor Malyushev on Unsplash

“It’s a very small tavern in the centre of Athens with just 10 tables. They don’t use a reservation system so you have to go directly there without a reservation. The tavern is in the basement of one very old building that is around 150 years old. You have very few choices of legumes like beans, lentils and chickpeas. They are very famous for fava beans and grilled sardines. One of the most historic taverns.”


“It’s one of the oldest souvlakis in town since 1946. You have only two choices: pork or ground beef. They wrap it with pita bread and add tomato, onion and spicy tomato sauce. It’s open from 09:00 to 18:00. It’s easy to find it due to the very big line of people who are waiting to eat.”

Chicken Picnic

Chicken and fries at Chicken Picnic, one of Athens' best street food restaurants.

“A very small place with only one table (mostly it’s takeaway) near to the centre of Athens. You must try the spicy French fries and the buffalo wings with the blue cheese sauce. You can find also very delicious chicken bites with handmade mayonnaise.” [Ed’s note: Pavlos is the chef here].


“A very beautiful restaurant in the Four Seasons Hotel near the seaside in Athens. Awarded with one Michelin star since 2021. The chef is Italian and used to work with Anne-Sophie Pic. Italian food with French techniques and Greek ingredients. It’s my favourite gastronomic restaurant in Athens. You have ​​à la carte options plus three different degustation menus. The menu changes with the season.”