Take a Culinary Tour of Athens Greece
Athens is a must-see city for every Greek vacation. It’s a thriving, modern city where the past intersects with the present. The Parthenon, the ancient temple dedicated to the goddess Athena, is perched on the Acropolis and is a noticeable fixture on the Athenian skyline. Visiting old historical sites and museums, though worthwhile, isn’t a great way to get a feel for the culture of the people. However, eating the food is. In Athens, there are plenty of opportunities to experience authentic Greek cuisine. Here are some ideas for how you can do that.
Join a Group Tour
There are several companies who offer culinary tours of Athens. These are designed to give you an overview of the best foods the city has to offer. Most of these are walking tours and they’ll take you to authentic markets, street vendors, and to at least one local restaurant, depending on how long the tour is. In addition to learning about the foods, guides also give you an overview of any landmarks you may pass on your journey. You can either book the tour before you arrive in Greece or ask your hotel for more information once arrive. They may be able to help you book your tour, as well.
Visit the Central Market
The Central Market in Athens is where the people like to shop, especially the restaurant owners. This is your chance to see the very ingredients that local cooks use to make their foods. It is also a very different experience than what you may be used to. For example, fish will always have the heads on them because it can help you determine how fresh it is. In the United States, the heads are usually taken off before the fish comes to the market.
One thing you may also notice while at this market is that Greeks will use various parts of the animals, such as the stomach. Tripe soup, which is made from lamb’s stomach, is even considered a delicacy. You don’t have to eat foods like this to enjoy the market, though. There are plenty of tasty treats, like pita and souvlaki, to munch on while you walk.
Visit the Best Restaurants
Each year, Michelin Guides releases their picks for the top restaurants and issues them a star rating. These are restaurants that the organization feels serves exemplary cuisine. There are several top restaurants in Athens that Michelin has rated very well and it may be fun to visit some of them during your stay. You may notice that many of these choices are considered “fine cuisine” and may be a little fancier than other restaurants.
If you don’t want to take your chances with these restaurants, ask at your hotel for recommendations. They will be able to tell you which restaurants they personally visit or that their guests have told them were excellent. Make sure you let them know that you’re looking for something that attracts locals; otherwise they could lead you to tourist traps. This is the best way to experience the real cuisine of Athens.
This post was written by Greek Boston