by Anastasia Valti-Spanopoulou
Like any self-respecting foodie, you’ve spent your first days in Athens trying all sorts of delicious Greek food –you’ve had koulouri and bougatsa for breakfast, souvlaki for lunch (more than once, we know), and mezze for dinner. But what about those lazy days you feel like sleeping in after a long night out, and don’t know what meal you’re entitled to anymore? Thankfully for you, Athens always holds the answer to an empty stomach’s questions: brunch, brunch, brunch.
The trend of the most easy-going meal solution has been growing fast over the past few years in Greece, so if you’re looking for unique things to do in Athens, you can always try a change from your usual Greek restaurant choices and go for one of Athens’ many interesting brunch restaurants. Here are the ones we think you absolutely must try if you’re only in town for a few days.
#1 Mama Roux | Monastiraki
Definitely one of the most popular brunch spots in Athens, this cozy little place is found on a pedestrian street right in the heart of the city. It serves international cuisine, which normally brings to mind a sloppy mixture of uninteresting dishes thrown together just to get as many customers as possible through the door. But not here: Mama Roux’s owner was born and raised in the States, and his vision was to bring into his restaurant the same intense variety of flavours that California and New York are known for. End result? One of the few places in Athens where you can find quality Arabic, Indian, Mexican, American and so many more dishes, for the price of street food. Did we mention they also serve cocktails? Yeah, they do. [In a previous version of this post we wrote that Mama Roux branched out to the southern suburb of Glyfada but the restaurant closed down this branch.]
Where: 48, Aiolou str., Monastiraki - Athens
When: Sundays, 12:30-18:00
How to get there: Monastiraki metro station (Athens)
How to get in touch: +30 213 0048382
What to eat: Chorrizo and Egg Fries, Eggs Florentine, Ruby pancakes
#2 Monsieur Barbu | Koukaki, Syngrou-Fix
Tucked in a quiet corner of the less touristic (hip, up ‘n’ coming) area of Koukaki and only a short walk from Sugrou Avenue, Monsieur Barbu is a bistro by day, bar by night, and always a tempting Sunday brunch option. It’s decorated in industrial and vintage tones, while its big windows let in all that Greek sunlight - plenty of good vibes. And wait till the food lands in front of you! These guys know what a morning appetite means, so the portions you get here are more than satisfying. The coffee is also excellent, especially their cappuccino (hot and freddo). As we mentioned, this is quite the hip area, so don’t expect the service you get in restaurants of the more posh neighborhoods. Do expect mouthwatering food for super friendly prices though. And may we suggest you enjoy it sitting at one of the tables they have set outside in the summer.
Where: 59, Falirou str., Koukaki
When: Sundays, 12:00-16:00
How to get there: Sugrou-Fix or Acropolis metro stations
How to get in touch: +30 210 9247555
What to eat: Sunny side up burger, Nutella and seasonal fruits pancakes
#3 La Esquina | Kolonaki
Not to be confused with the famous NYC Mexican joint, the Athens restaurant and bar La Esquina will possibly not show up on most Athens guides you’re using to find your next meal because of its location at the very end of a small lane in Kolonaki known for its bars. And, by the way, La Esquina arguably does serve some of the best cocktails in town – but that’s a different blogpost. You must keep in mind that the owner here is obsessed with top quality ingredients and trying out interesting combinations (where else have you tried a peanut-butter and goat-cheese chicken burger?). From the absolutely mouthwatering burgers, to the burritos and the egg dishes, basically anything you try on the menu is guaranteed to blow your mind, and the portions are humongous, just the way we like them. Prices are affordable, although not as low as elsewhere. Of course this is one of the most expensive areas, and in any case, there is no price you wouldn’t want to pay for this kind of food.
Where: 43, Haritos str., Athens
When: Every day (yay!) 10:00-18:00
How to get there: Evangelismos metro station
How to get in touch: +30 210 7232575
What to eat: the Berlusconi Burger, chilli con carne with fried egg
Did the word ‘cocktails’ get you in the mood for drinks? Check out our guide to Athens' best rooftop bars.
#4 New York Sandwiches | Syntagma
By now, the owners of this brunch spot in Ampelokipi would probably have gone crazy trying to handle all the customers lining up at their door on weekends, had they not opened their second branch in Syntagma. Locals love the massive portions of American-style brunch dishes you get at NY Sandwiches, be it to cure a nasty hangover or to fuel up for a long day of sightseeing. We on the other hand, love the free filter coffee refills, to help us wash down all the food with our favorite energy potion. Make sure you add a healthy touch to your super-brunch and order some orange juice – it’s 100% fresh and 1000% delicious. Most dishes here are too big to finish on your own (don’t say we didn’t warn you) which is why both branches are always packed. It would be a good idea to book a few days ahead.
Where: 23, Nikis str., Syntagma | 3, Sinopis str., Ampelokipi
When: Saturdays and Sundays, 12:00-18:00
How to get there: Synatgma metro station | Ampelokipi metro stations
How to get in touch: +30 210 3216000 | +30 210 7778475
What to eat: Pancakes benedict, BLT sandwich
More ideas for a coffee break in central Athens here.
#5 Nice ‘n’ Easy | Kolonaki and Kifissia
Sure, brunch needs to be delicious, but it doesn’t necessarily need to be a guilty pleasure and Nice ‘n’ Easy reminds us so every Sunday with its organic, farm-to-table brunch ingredients. Don’t worry, it’s not as expensive as it sounds! You can try their refreshing brunch menu in either one of their Athens’ branches, in Kolonaki or in Kifissia. Another interesting aspect of this bistro chain, other than its cuisine, is that it is themed after important cultural figures, with posters of emblematic musicians and actors hanging on the walls, and most dishes on the menu being named after them. Sadly brunch is only served on Sundays, but breakfast is offered daily.
Where: 60, Omirou str., Athens | 7, Papadiamanti str., Kifissia
When: Sundays 10:00-14:00
How to get there: Evangelismos metro station | Kifissia train station
How to get in touch: +30 210 8082014 | +30 210 8082014
What to eat: Tsoureki French toast, Salmon Benedict
If you are looking for more healthy breakfast, brunch and lunch options you need to see our healthy-eating guide for Athens.
As you already know by now, Greeks take their food seriously, which means the food you’ll be served in all of these places is spectacular, but you won’t be the only one wanting to fill their belly with it on a slow day. So be prepared, these little culinary gems are known to be among the list of best brunch places and will most likely be very busy on weekends. If you can’t make a reservation, we advise you to try to avoid going there between 12:00-14:00.
So what's next?
How about a walk around central Athens to help your digestion? Here's our guide to make the most of this walk.
PS: As always, opinions expressed here are our own and not promotional in any way!
Update June 2017: We have spotted a few new favourite restaurants where you can enjoy your brunch in Athens. For a sinful 'croque madame' try Bel Ray (Μπελ Ρέυ) close to Syngrou-Fix metro station, for an outrageous 'crab burger' try Odori Vermuteria Di Atene in Monastiraki and for those exploring the suburb of Kifissia we suggest a brunch 'pit-stop' at Different Beast for dutch pancakes!
Find the best brunch near you with this map of Athens
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More unique things to do on your stay:
Farm tour and traditional organic Greek food dining experience combined with live entertainment: A journey of food, wine and farm life awaits you.
Visiting Places: Athens Riviera, organic farm in the Athenian suburbs.
Duration: 4 hours (approx.)
Join local accomplished photographers on this outdoor hands-on photography workshop; sharpen your skills in photography and immerse yourself in the local culture.
Visiting Places: Tailor-made, within Athens (including historical sights and major sightseeing spots).
Duration: 6 hours (approx.)
A vivid excursion from the historical centre through off-the-beaten path routes to the the Athenian Riviera, the city's coast with sandy beaches and fabulous marinas.
Visiting Places: Acropolis area, Ancient Agora, Keramikos, Petralona, New Opera House and National Library area, Faliro bay, Averof Battle Ship/Naval Museum.
Duration: 4.5 hours (approx.)