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Creative Gastronomy in Athens

Ancient ruins where time stands still in the capital of Greece rub shoulders with a signature cuisine that has successfully adapted to the global evolution in gastronomy with creativity and in good taste. Athens currently treasures “coolinary” venues as attractive as its archaeological heritage.

Far from becoming weighed down by traditional cuisine and local products, Athens has managed to craft its own gastronomic discourse beyond both private homes and the street food championed by souvlakia – those at O Kostas are sublime! – and the offerings to be had at the Athens Street Food Festival. Nowadays you can feast handsomely in restaurants with fully-fledged table service off the tourist track, as well as drink a toast to Greece making “suitable progress” at Baba Au Rum, one of the best and prettiest cocktail bars in the world.

Taking pride in a paradoxically rich land, Greek chefs prove to be deeply knowledgeable about Mediterranean cuisine in all its immensity. This forms the base on which they craft the creative gastronomy which endows the city with the culinary diversity it deserves. Be it in the guise of showcooking, with the kitchen in full view of the dining tables, displaying fancy avant-garde techniques with final flourish on the table, or as a subtle, elegant exercise, yet equally compelling on the palate.

The standout signature restaurants of Athens are, however, few and far between. One’s choice of venue depends on each person’s penchant when it comes to haute cuisine – finger food, tasting menus and endless yet memorable servings. In terms of value for money and the requisite balance between dining-room and kitchen, the best of the pack is Aleria. The warm welcome, the nod to Virginia Wolf and an unimpetuous menu bathed in the native blue and white make this restaurant a flavourful concentration of classicism and modernity, as invested in their well executed dishes. With the return of the good weather, lunching or dining in their inner patio is a delightful experience.

A stone’s throw from the Michelin one-starred Aleria is Funky Gourmet, a two-star which explores molecular cuisine to the deepest depths, sparking surprises at table on account of their explosive bites. An alternative halfway between the previous two eateries is Hytra, a panoramic restaurant with a reasonably priced menu, exquisite confectionery and an on-site cocktail bar for guests eager to prolong their meal with an after-dinner drink or those who just come for a tipple.

Lastly, the long-standing Spondi is a classic of eminently trustworthy contemporary cuisine, as attested by the string of distinctions and awards they have earned in the course of time.

Where to Sleep

Located in the emblematic Syntagma square, which most rooms and suites with a terrace look onto, the NJV Athens Plaza, a hotel which is part of the LVX Collection, allows you to escape from the urban hubbub and admire the Acropolis from a distance. This is the ideal accommodation if you want to be in the heart of everything, as it is very near the big shopping precincts and the city’s major attractions. Their bar with a view is one of the most evocative and sought-after common areas.

Book your Vueling to Athens and discover the most creative facet of their cuisine.

Text by Belén Parra of Gastronomistas.com