Thanks for all your recommendations. We had a wonderful meal at Spondi,also its an absolutely beautiful, although I guess you could say its more mediteranean than real greek. Still the food was terrific and the service wonderful. We also loved Taverna tu Psiri, so thanks for that. Wish I had more time, or that one of my two days wasn't sunday around lunchtime (didn't have time to go all the way down to the port for Dourambeis unfortunately). Have to save something for the next visit i guess. Thanks again.
Well you can't have a meal there, but if you are in Athens and want some loukomathes (described above) you MUST go to Krinos, which has been around for at least 70 years. They are located by the meat market in Athens. Here's the address: 87 Aeolou str., Athens , tel. 210-3216852 Naturally you should get the loukomathes.
For a fabulous but unfortunately very expensive meal (because fish is so expensive) go to Dourambeis in Piraeus. I believe they are open for lunch of Sunday. You pick the fish you want and they weigh it (charge by the kil0) and grill it for you. They have wonderful salad as well as great loukoumades (fried dough with walnuts and honey) for dessert. This place has been in Athens for at least 30 years and we have seen many local well knowns there over the years-e/g/ the Archbishop eats there on Sundays.
There is a very nice, pretty restaurant in Plaka called Daphne's. It is upscale but not overly expensive and has many traditional greek dishes. Very very nice. Also they take credit cards, unlike many of the restaurants in Athens that require cash.
Also, the oldest taverna in Plaka, where you can sit outdoors or indoors, with very traditional greek food and music is Xinou. You really can't get more traditional than that.I believe it is cash only.
For a wonderful continental meal with the most fabulous view of the Acropolis eat on the roof at the Grand Bretagne. Probably the best restaurant in Athens and the view is breathtaking.
For a cheap but great place, try O Thannassis. This is a classic not to be missed souvlaki joint. Always packed, even after midnight.
A nice place I can confidently recommend is Milos. It is new to Greece, the original is in Montreal. I went there, and finally I found exceptional Greek food in Canada (I live in Toronto). They opened another one in NYC to great reviews. I am sure you will not be disappointed. My final recommendation is Kioupia. The original one is in Rhodes. I was quite impressed. Very good food, more than I could eat, fixed very reasonably priced. Truly a gem. I have not been to the one in Athens, but I don't think you will go wrong.
I am leaving for Greece next week, and on my hit list will be Aristera Dexia (Left Right), and Kitrino Podilato (Yellow Bicycle). I have read great reviews and want to go. I also want to try Spondi (they received a Michelin star a little while ago, but I don't know much else about them). Of course I will not miss Thannassis at every opportunity.
Just got back from a 3 week vacation in Greece visiting my family there.
For the last decade or so, everytime my family goes to Greece, we ALWAYS go to Taverna tu Psiri which is in the psiri neighborhood close to the acropolis/monesteraki.
I went there about 2 weeks ago at 1am, and their food was real homecooked Greek food. We had the best zuikinni keftethes I have ever had. Also had hot peppers with sausage, something I have not experinced elsewhere. Also had amazing eggplants cooked Greek style.
Ignore the menu that is there and just ask your server what's fresh from the oven.
Here's a link: http://www.hit360.com/taverna-psirri/gr/
their phone # is 210 32.14.923 and address is 12 aischylou (note: the ch does not make a ch sound but rather a heee sound)
P.S. Don't be intimidated by the gritty niehgborhood that is slowly gentrifiyng.
Sorry bout that. The problem is that I really don't mind about the price at all, and I am as happy at a fancy "nuovo" greek place as I am at a really simple homemade place, as long as the food is good. I am staying near the Plaka if that makes any difference. I would love to find that great local place serving real greek food (that all tourists dream of but rarely find when they travel) but if there is some really fancy place serving really great upscale local cuisine, I'd love that too. I should add that I am there on a weekend, so would be looking also for somewhere for sunday lunch. I know in Rome thats a pretty tricky propostion as most places close on sunday, but don't know about athens. If anyplaces come to mind I'd really appreciate.