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Athens
Ask CB: Ouzo Does It?

Dear Culinary Backstreets,
I am very confused regarding drinking over in Athens. Do Greeks even drink ouzo anymore? If so, when do they drink it? Also, my friends have told me something called “tsipouro” is more popular these days – what’s that drink all about?
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Athens
Green Scene: Athenian Gardens of Eating (and Drinking)

In terms of greenness, Athens doesn’t even come close to other European capitals with their verdant parks and blossoming gardens. The truth is, modern urban development has not been particularly gentle with this city. Numerous concrete buildings, along with poor road design, hem in inhabitants and visitors with featureless views. Thankfully, there are some oases in the cement desert that offer the hungry local or tourist a lush respite in which to enjoy a meal or a drink. Continue »

Athens
Ask CB: Child-friendly Dining in Athens?

Dear Culinary Backstreets,
My family is traveling to Athens in October. Some of our friends have told us that Athens is not very child-friendly and that the only places that cater to children are international fast food chains. Is this true? Are there any other options for those of us who do not want to eat American-style fast food? Continue »

Athens
To Triantafilo tis Nostimias: Locals Only

To Triantafilo tis Nostimias restaurant would be impossible to find if someone didn’t tell you it was there. Although just a five-minute walk from busy Syntagma Square, it is hidden in an arcade on the rather unappealing Lekka Street. Despite the central location, the downtown Athens standout remains largely unknown and is not even included in most Athenian food guides. You truly have to be a local to come here. Continue »

Athens
Ask CB: Cretan Cuisine in Athens?

Dear Culinary Backstreets,
I keep hearing about the wonders of Cretan cuisine, but is it really any different from regular Greek cooking? And is there anywhere nice to try it in Athens?

The fashion for Cretan cooking took Athens by storm right before the start of the financial crisis. Nobody knows exactly what brought it on. Continue »

Athens
Diamonds in the Touristy Rough: Makalo

Editor’s note: This is the third piece in our series uncovering the hidden gems in some of Athens’ most touristy neighborhoods. After checking out Psyri and Plaka, we now turn to Syntagma.

The quiet neighborhood where Makalo is located, right between Syntagma and Plaka, is home to some good restaurants (such as old-fashioned Paradosiako) and even to a strip of ethnic joints located on bustling Apollonos Street. Continue »

Athens
Diamonds in the Touristy Rough: Plaka Dining Secrets

Editor’s note: This is the second piece in our series featuring the hidden gems in some of Athens’ most touristy neighborhoods. We previously explored Psyri; it is now time to take on the holy grail of Athenian tourism: Plaka.

There’s a reason why this area of old Athens, just below the Acropolis, is the city’s most touristy neighborhood: it has a history of more than 6,000 years. Continue »

Athens
Diamonds in the Touristy Rough: Oinopoleion

Editor’s note: This is the first piece in a series in which we explore the hidden gems in some of Athens’ most touristy neighborhoods. The streets of Psyri, Plaka, Gazi and other popular areas are full of restaurant signs trying to lure diners in, but which of them are truly worth your time and money? Culinary Backstreets is on the case.

The neighborhood of Psyri is by all means a peculiar Athenian phenomenon. Continue »

Athens
Melilotos: The Greek Classics, Reinterpreted

Named after a fragrant plant widely known as sweet clover, Melilotos got its start three years ago as a delivery service for the hungry Athens downtown crowd: people who didn’t want to eat junk food for lunch and instead wanted food that reminded them of their mothers’ home cooking. Continue »

Athens
Saladin: The Meze Conqueror

The mezedopoleio – a type of venue where mezes are passed around for all to eat – is traditionally associated with students more interested in getting drunk on cheap alcohol than savoring a nice meal. But tough times require hard drinking, which means that mezedopoleia have recently made a massive comeback in Athenian life. In the historic Kerameikos area, Saladin is a venue that does double duty, fulfilling the traditional function of the mezedopoleio while taking the food component up several notches. Continue »

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