5 Of The Oldest Restaurants In Athens

  • by XpatAthens
  • Thursday, 29 February 2024
5 Of The Oldest Restaurants In Athens
From fine dining to traditional wine and eateries to humble plates and comfort bites to cherish with Greek coffee, Athens is a city steeped in culinary tradition and gastronomic delights. Among the myriad dining establishments that dot its streets, some of the oldest and most beloved are the taverns that have stood the test of time, each with its own rich history and unique offerings.

These iconic establishments offer not just meals, but experiences that capture the essence of Greek cuisine and hospitality, providing visitors with a journey through time and taste.

1. The Old Tavern of Psarras

Courtesy of "The Old Tavern of Psarras". 

Nestled in the heart of Athens's historic Plaka district, The Old Tavern of Psarras stands as a testament to culinary tradition and timeless charm. Established in 1898, this beloved eatery has weathered the storms of history, with its doors remaining open for 123 years. Despite facing closure during tumultuous periods, including two World Wars, The Old Tavern of Psarras has emerged as an enduring icon of Athenian dining. Housed within a beautifully preserved neoclassical building, it occupies a prime location just a stone's throw from the iconic street stairs of Mnisikleous. 

The restaurant's storied past is woven into its very fabric, with internationally renowned figures such as English author Rex Warner and literary luminary George Katsimbalis immortalizing its hospitality and culinary delights. Warner's effusive praise in his book "Views of Attica and its Surroundings" catapulted the tavern to global acclaim in the 1950s, while Katsimbalis's affectionate recollections, as seen in one of his letters to George Seferis, cemented its status as a cherished cultural landmark. Today, The Old Tavern of Psarras continues to enchant diners with its authentic Greek cuisine, offering a delectable array of traditional dishes that pay homage to the rich culinary heritage of Greece.

Location: Erotokritou 16, Athina
Telephone: 21 0321 8734

2. Leloudas Tavern


Established in 1928 by Dimitris Leloudas, originally from Kythnos, Leloudas Tavern has been a culinary cornerstone in Athens's Votanikos neighborhood for over nine decades. What began as a pantry shop for local residents and nearby workers evolved into a beloved tavern renowned for its exquisite offerings. The tavern's famed golden fried cod, served during lunch breaks, continues to garner praise, drawing patrons from all walks of life.

At Leloudas Tavern, simplicity meets excellence in every dish. Managed personally by Dimitris, the menu boasts authentic Greek cuisine, with highlights including the classic Greek salad, savory meatballs, and cheese from Kythnos island. Of course, the house specialty, fried cod with skordalia, remains a must-try, alongside other delights such as fried potatoes topped with minced meat and dry myzithra cheese. Guided by Dimitris himself, guests are treated to a culinary journey characterized by warmth, authenticity, and unwavering dedication to tradition.

Location: Salaminas 8-10, Athina
Telephone: 21 0346 4167

3. Vassilenas Restaurant


From its humble beginnings in the impoverished neighborhoods of 1920s Piraeus, Thanasis Vassilenas' taverna has transformed into a modern culinary gem nestled in the heart of Athens on Vrasida Street. With a century-spanning culinary legacy, Vassilenas continues to honor family recipes and inspire with its creative Greek cuisine. Utilizing premium fresh ingredients and modern cooking techniques, each dish is crafted with an unwavering commitment to perfection, reflecting the essence of our culinary philosophy.

At Vassilenas, dining is an immersive experience that transcends the ordinary. The cozy and luminous space sets the stage for a culinary journey that blends tradition and innovation seamlessly. With impeccable service and a dedication to taking Greek cuisine to new heights, Vassilenas invites guests to savor the memories and flavors of the past while embracing the excitement of the future in our new central Athens location.

Location: Vrasida 13, Athina
Telephone: 21 0721 0501

4. Oinomageireio Epirus

Credit: Πάνος Χ. 
Located within Athens's bustling meat and fish market, Oinomageirion Epirus Est, established in 1898, is a culinary gem cherished by locals and visitors alike. Guests are drawn to its unpretentious charm and the warm hospitality of the owner and staff, who create an atmosphere that feels like home.

The food at Oinomageirion Epirus is nothing short of extraordinary, with dishes that evoke nostalgia and comfort. From the delicious chicken soup to hearty portions of flavorful proteins, each bite is a testament to the owner's culinary prowess and dedication to authenticity. Amidst the hustle and bustle of the market, diners find solace in the strangely calming ambiance of the restaurant, making it a must-visit destination for anyone in Athens. Whether you're seeking a soul-nourishing meal or simply an authentic dining experience, Oinomageirion Epirus promises to delight and satisfy even the most discerning palate.

Location: Filopimenos 4, Athina
Telephone: 21 0324 0773

5. To Kafeneio

To Kafeneion
Courtesy of "To Kafeneion".

Located in a 400+ year-old building, "To Kafeneio" exudes history and character from its very foundations. Once a main residence for both famous and unknown Greek figures, the establishment comprises both ground and underground floors. In its earlier days, it was divided into two parts, with the rear portion serving as a gathering place for neighborhood children and housing for chickens. Since the end of the civil war in 1947, the building has undergone various uses, yet it retains the essence of old Athens, preserving its timeless allure.

Since its acquisition in 1995, "To Kafeneio" has undergone continuous improvements to enhance both its appearance and functionality. The menu serves as a pivotal aspect of the service experience, stimulating customers' senses and setting the tone for their visit. The creation of the menu is influenced by the overall ambiance of the place, ensuring a harmonious connection between the menu and the establishment's aesthetic. Through meticulous attention to detail, "To Kafeneio" strives to create an unforgettable dining experience, where every aspect, from the menu to the ambiance, contributes to cherished memories for its guests.

Location: Epicharmou 1, Athina
Telephone: 21 0324 6916