Discover the unique blend of flavours and aromas found in traditional Greek products in the neighbourhoods of downtown Athens.
This guided tour is truly one-of-a-kind, giving locals and tourists the chance to experience the authentic flavours of Greek ingredients, products and recipes. Licensed tour guide Despoina Savvidou has designed two different tours based on her own personal experiences – the Athens Walking Tour and the food-focused Athens Food Tour.
For the Athens Food Tour, the 10-person group meets at 9.30 am at the intersection of Korai and Stadiou streets, in front of Zara. The guide begins by providing an overview of Greek eating habits, and then the real fun begins. This tour gives everyone the chance to get to know Athens and its downtown neighbourhoods through its authentic local fare. Greeks also enjoy the tour, as it gives them a chance to rediscover forgotten flavours and cosy corners of the city centre.
The first of many stops is for a freshly baked sesame bun, either from a street vendor or from Koulouri Corner (on the corner of Korai and Stadiou streets). While they pause for a taste-test, the group learns that “most Greeks don’t eat breakfast. Just a quick coffee and a cigarette before they have to go to work is enough. This is why this sesame bun is a popular snack that can be found just about anywhere in the city”.
The tour continues at the Mediterranean Diet Grocery at 1, Sofokleous Street. The store offers some of the best traditional Greek products, such as extra virgin olive oil from Crete, Lesbos and Kalamata, exceptional wine from Nemea, Drama, Florina, Santorini, and Samos, and cheeses from Naxos, Limnos, Metsovo, Crete and Amfilochia.
While the group assembles in a quiet corner of the store, guide Despoina Savvidou discusses the Mediterranean Diet and its health benefits. Those on the tour get to sample some of the country’s finest products, such as feta cheese, olive oil, oregano, aromatic vinegar, tomato paste from Santorini’s cherry tomatoes, wine, raki, honey, spoon sweets, and cold meats such as louza, salami from Lefkada and prosciutto from Evritania. Truly an indulgence for your taste buds!
The walk continues to the Krinos pastry shop at 87, Aiolou Street, where the group enjoys the most delicious donuts in Athens, served with plenty of honey and cinnamon.
Then it’s time for the Varvakeios Market, which is the central meat and fish market of the city, where fresh lamb, goat, chicken, turkey, pork, as well as mullet, bream, cod, scorpion fish, redfish, bass, octopus, squid, shrimp, sardines, anchovies oysters, crabs and many more are sold at excellent prices.
Just across from the fish market is the dry nuts market, where you can purchase halva with almonds, pasteli with sesame and honey, plus a full variety of raisins and olives.
Then, it’s on to the produce market, where the selection is truly impressive: lettuce, spring onions, cabbage, cauliflower, broccoli, carrots, tomatoes, zucchini, peppers, oranges, apples, bananas, mandarin oranges, pomegranates, pears and much more – all perfectly ripe and ready to eat!
Only a few steps away lies Klimataria, a traditional tavern at 2, Theatre Square. Its beautiful shaded courtyard overflows with flowers and bright colours, and as the group feasts on pastrami as well as onion, cheese, and spinach pies with handmade phyllo dough, the friendly owner, Maria, takes a moment to explain how she cooks her food according to traditional recipes. She prepares lamb and potatoes as well as a number of stews and pies, all with local ingredients and the finest traditional recipes. Every Friday, Saturday, and Sunday the tavern hosts live Greek musicians who bring the place to life.
Next, it’s time to get to know Greek cold cuts at Miran, 45, Evripidou Street. The store was opened in 1922 by an Armenian immigrant who sold top-quality pastrami and soutzouki. Today, the store continues to offer an incredible variety of cold meats and gourmet flavours.
Just down the street, at 39, Evripidou Street, the group will also stop at Fotsi. Founded in 1930, this store is a wonderland of spices, aromatic herbs, essential oils, dry vegetables, and a rich variety of teas that truly delight the senses.
The next stop is Psyri, one of the most scenic Athenian neighbourhoods, which is filled with ouzo bars, taverns, and the best bougatsa place in the city. Located on Heroon Square, Mpougatsadiko Thessaloniki features an elegant atmosphere and mouth-watering sweet or savoury bougatsa. And as a part of the Athens Food Tour, you get to see how they make it! It’s the sweetest ending to a delectable tour…
What makes the Athens Food Tour so popular?
This tour lets participants get to know the real Athens, where immigrants and Greeks work side-by-side to make world-class products. Participants not only discover the daily eating habits of Greeks and try unfamiliar flavours, they also join in with the locals as they communicate with them through food. This is what makes them travellers, and not just tourists!