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Jun 5, 2008 01:45 PM

Cheap Eats in Athens, Santorini and Istanbul

I will be going to Athens, Santorini and Istanbul this coming August and can't wait! The problem is that due to the dismal decline of the dollar against the euro, I need to stick to a budget. Unfortunately, my fiance cannot stand to "eat on the go" and also is gluten intolerant (so sandwiches, while he can eat the "innards" do not always fill him up). Do you know of any sit down places that are very good and VERY inexpensive (at least by Europe standards!) Thanks!

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  1. My husband and I just returned from Greece, (and spent time in both Santorini and Athens) so I have a few suggestions for you.
    First, just about anywhere you go in Greece you can find gyros and souvlaki (grilled meat, which is the most popular fast-food there) for under 10 euros. Many gyro stands are "on the go" but many places have outdoor tables where you can eat. We had some unbelievably good pork gyros in Greece for 2.5 euros each!
    In terms of sit-down meals, in Santorini you might try Skaros Fish Taverna in Imerovigli. It specializes in mezedes, which are appetizers, and most cost about 5 - 10 euros each. For one meal, for instance, we shared a half-liter wine, water, bread, fava, steamed mussels and tomato fritters (perfect amount of food for us) for about 28 euros. Very good meal.
    We also greatly enjoyed our meal at Katina's Fish Taverna in Amoudi, the fishing village below Oia on Santorini. We shared tzatziki, bread, 1/2 liter wine, a whole sea bream, potatoes, and a baklava for 47 euros.
    In Athens, we ate at Logia Tis Ploris, a great fish restaurant near Kerimeikos (sp?) square for dinner and the full meal, consisting of two red mullet filets, Greek salad, bread, bottled water , chocolate dessert and a 1/2 liter white wine cost us 22 euros. We learned about it on this board, and the food was fabulous and fresh.
    Another recommendation from this board we tried was Oinomateipeio in the Gazi neighborhood (32 Dekelon St.). It's a little difficult to find, but one of the best and most affordable meals of our trip. You have to walk down a short flight of stairs into a basement taverna that's below a Turkish cafe. We shared wine, green salad, an eggplant, feta and tomato pie (unbelievably good) and roast pork and potatoes. Total bill = 20 euros. This place doesn't have an official menu, and each day the dishes are different. The waiter sits down at your table and tells you what's cooking for the night and you choose. The place opens at 9 p.m. and closes late.
    To keep food costs low, I highly recommend not eating big meals in the touristy Plaka area. You can find much better meals, at much better prices, in other neighborhoods i the city. Gazi and Psiri are especially well known for their food these days. Another taverna we heard was affordable and good was Diporto Agoras in Monstiraki. Supposedly there's no sign on the door and it's in an old cellar (corner of Theatrou and Sokratous).
    Hope this helps. Have a wonderful time!

    2 Replies
    1. re: kelyspo

      Last night we had dinner at Vlassis, on 8 Paster Street near the US Embassy in Athens Centre area. It was our most pleasurable dinning experience in Athens. Paster street is a dead end and the restaurant is near the end in an old mansion on the main floor. There is no menu and the waiter will bring a tray of appetizers to the table for your choices and simply serve it to you right then. The entree choices are simple and non fussy chicken, veal and one fish served simply with rice, roasted potatoes or fries. Best food we have had and at very reasonable prices - around 25E per person, with house wine.
      The staff is great, food is terrific, service friendly and in English if needed, and the price will make you very happy. (many Plaka restaurants will end up being double this price)
      I don't think they have AC but a back and front window creates some cfross current of air.It might be pretty hot in there in August. (I assume they are open in August but not sure)
      It may be a distance from your hotel, especially if you are in the Plaka area but worth the trip. I agree with kelyspo about Plaka restaurants but some are fun, if overpriced, especially on the side hills of the Acropolis.
      If you research and choose carefully, eating in Athens is a lot of late night fun. (Restaurants don't open or fill up till 10 pm or later. As we were leaving last night at 11:00 the tables were filling up. (on a work night).
      Have fun in Athens.

      1. re: kelyspo

        Thank you very much for those suggestions.