Article by Athens Insider
Restaurateurs in Athens are pushing the taste frontiers with zero-waste sensibilities into a league of its own. Combined with Athens’ celebrated bar scene, award-winning baristas and vibrant street food scene, Athens offers a dawn-to-dusk gustatory experience that makes it a must on any gourmet’s bucket list. In a survey by Tripadvisor in 2022, visitors claimed that ‘eating out was a prime motivator to visit Athens and that meals consistently exceeded expectations.’
The 2022 Michelin list confirms Athens' status as a Culinary Capital. Athens now stands boldly with a total of 27 restaurants in the 2022 Michelin guide. Entering the Michelin food scene is Delta, Athens' only Two Michelin Star restaurant, as well as Soil and The Ziller's receiving their first Star. Receiving the newly introduced Michelin Green Star for their commitment to sustainability are restaurants Delta and Soil.
In their first year, Delta joins a rare lineup of double Michelin Star holders:
Delta’s Scandinavian-influenced chefs Thanos Feskos and George Papazacharias, who worked at the 3-star Geranium and Maaemo respectively, chose Athens as the base for their creative laboratory and have been expectedly rewarded for their audacious approach to cuisine. With its breathtaking avant-garde aesthetics, at the heart of the Stavros Niarchos Foundation Cultural Center, they offer gastronomic suggestions that combine Scandinavian concepts and culinary techniques with local products, with the common theme being environmental sustainability. Their artful presentation makes dining more than a meal but an amplified experience that plays on all your senses simultaneously.
The One Michelin Star list includes 6 familiar faces and 2 new entrants, Soil and The Zillers.
Veteran Michelin Restaurants Spondi and Varoulko Seaside, as well as Botrini’s, CTC, Hytra and Pelagos have all earned a Michelin star, with two exciting new entrants joining their elite company.
Soil, is based in a beautiful neoclassical home with a stunning garden and charming terrace in Pangrati, harbors the cuisine of Chefs Tasos Mantis and Alexandros Mouridis. It follows through on the farm-to-fork principle, not just as a millennial mantra but as a deep-rooted philosophy. As part of a new generation of conscious chefs driving change both on the taste front and in terms of sustainable cooking, Mantis sources all his ingredients from his farm in his native Aleppochori village to offer a mainly plant-centric menu, and that explains their Michelin Green Star accreditation.
The Zillers’ Chef Pavlakis has been pushing the taste frontiers with his playful, creative cuisine. With a stunning view of the Acropolis, just across the majestic Metropolitan Cathedral, the rooftop restaurant atop the Zillers Boutique Hotel, meaning guests can enjoy a breathtaking view of the Acropolis and the Metropolitan Cathedral of the Annunciation. With its flexible offer, one can enjoy a light, casual lunch or a full-fledged gastronomic dinner from Chef Pavlos Kiriakis, who gives his own take on local traditions with creative tasting menus.
Chef Arnaud Bignon is of the youngest ever chefs to earn twin Michelin stars at the age of just 32 while at the helm of Spondi. A culinary marvel in an unassuming corner of Athens, in a handsome neoclassical home in Pangrati, the food here is creative, clever and technically stunning without being pretentious. There is an elegant courtyard for warm nights, and the interior is surrounded by stone walls with smart lighting. The menu is a blend of French and Mediterennean cuisine conjured up seasonally by its chefs.
Varoulko Seaside remains a bastion for intuitive gourmets where Chef Lefteris Lazarou continues to create meals that unlock a complex spectrum of tastes by inventively crafting visually stunning, technically astute dishes. Almost anyone who has made it in Greece’s culinary renaissance over the past ten years has trained under Lazarou. Just the setting at Mikrolimano that marries Greece’s rich maritime history with its vibrant fishing community, reflects in the restaurant’s sensual menu. It is one that restores, challenges and enriches.
Ettore Botrini, the Michelin-starred masterchef and colourful TV persona after whom his restaurant in Halandri is named, retains his Michelin star for his “embellished and outstanding creations, his inventive combinations and high technique”. His style and sensibilities are inspired by his personal memories of Corfu, Italy and the Ionian Islands.
CTC Urban Gastronomy
Alex Tsitsonis moves his restaurant CTC Urban Gastronomy to a stunning new location in Kerameikos that now comes with a rather stylish outdoor dining space that’s a real hit in the summer. The experienced chef and his enthusiastic team guide you on an 11 course ‘Voyage’ which takes in Greece’s culinary history and blends bold flavours with subtle innovation and originality.
In the spectacular Onassis Cultural Centre, the Michelin-starred Hytra is the spot for gastronomic Greek delights. In the summer, dine al fresco on the 7th floor, for show-stopping views of an illuminated Athens. Executive Chef Giorgos Selemegkas, who has helmed the kitchen here since the summer of 2022, has created a fine dining and bistro menu that ingeniously serves up haute cuisine infused with Greek flavours. All-time Mediterranean classics are deconstructed with artistic flair. If you’re feeling bold (and have taken a taxi!) opt for the wine pairing degustation menu.
Chef Luca Piscazzi’s Pelagos at the Four Seasons is a fitting name for this hotel restaurant considering its lovely sea views, its 1930’s ocean liner styling and its seafood focus. The cuisine here is as dramatic as the plating and the stellar views. Luca sources his herbs at the Four Seasons Athens’ gardens and adds his own bold signature, blending refined French techniques with prime Mediterranean ingredients.
And The Bib Gourmand goes to…:
The Bib Gourmand is Michelin’s top distinction, awarded to those restaurants with the highest value cuisine. Last year’s Bib Gourmand recipients Cerdo Negro 1985, Nolan and Oikeîo – all retain their special recognition for exquisite quality.
Cerdo Negro: Two brothers have combined their Greek heritage with a passion for Spanish cuisine at this small taverna in an up-and-coming area. The music is turned up loud, the cheery brothers are wonderful hosts, and the great value, generously portioned dishes, most cooked over a wood fire, burst with flavour.
Oikeio: A sweet little restaurant in a chic neighbourhood, with tables on two different levels, as well as outside. The décor is traditional and the place has a warm, cosy feel. Menus offer great value family-style dishes made with fresh ingredients and feature the likes of sardines, moussaka and octopus in vinegar.
Nolan: The young chef of this contemporary bistro was born to a Greek father and a Japanese mother, and his cooking fuses influences from both countries with classical French elements. The interesting, colourful dishes are not only great value but also great for sharing – it is a dilemma choosing what to have!
Entering the Athens 2022 Michelin Guide are 4 new restaurants.
Restaurants that hold on to their Michelin status include Athénée, GB Roof Garden, Aneton, Okio, Aleria, Cookoovaya, Alficon, SENSE, Vezené, Annie Fine Cooking, and Le Pavillon.
Meet the new entrants in the 2022 list: Hervé, Linou Soumpasis k sia, Veri Table, and Merceri.
Hervé, mercifully doesn’t fall into a narrow culinary category, and that is what makes a meal there worth all the anticipation! Flavour-packed with whiffs from Pronzato’s itinerant forays into India, the Middle East and Malaysia, Hervé wraps a fine dining experience into Athens’ layered character. Jungle-style vertical gardens share space with colour-drenched street art; sublimely-plated dishes served without the fussiness of a fine dining establishment; and an inviting 18-seat bar that morphs into an informal chef’s table – what’s not to love?
Linou Soumpasis & Sia, just off Athinas street, delivers on its promise of fresh produce tweaked to subtle perfection. The wine pairing is spot-on with the young, and extremely knowledgeable Joanna, goading customers to venture into unchartered territory. If you’re confused by the sight of beeswax candles, it is a homage to the restaurant’s previous incarnation as a candle factory. Candles can be bought, along with covetable homeware, when your ‘feel-good shopping impulse’ kicks in after quaffing on their thoughtfully curated wines. Despite its unpronounceable name (our Greek friends are equally stumped!), this is one restaurant we are willing to hedge our bets on. Their corn ribs and chickpeas with mushrooms is finger-lickingly good vegan heaven!
Two female chefs join forces, giving up the island life on Santorini for Athens’ competitive food scene. Maria Dioudi and Melina Chomata opened Merceri, a classic, authentic bistro that pays homage to traditional Greek recipes with a contemporary flair. Thoughtfully crafted casual lunches are followed by more ambitious dinner menus.
With Veri Table, it wasn’t a question of if, but when. The French-style bistro helmed by Chef Alain Parodi and his wife Christine tweak Provençal cuisine to Mediterranean palates, conjuring dishes that showcase their French haute gastronomy roots. The accent here is on elevated comfort food that is inviting, not intimidating. Expect the menu to change seasonally and look out for VeriTables’s bespoke meals.
2 star Michelin restaurants:
Delta: Syggrou Avenue 364, 17674 Kalithea, Athens. Tel: 211.234.7395
1 star Michelin restaurants:
Spondi: Pyrronos 5, 11636 Pangrati, Athens. Tel: 210.756.4021
Soil: 5, Ferekidou Str. Athens, 116 35. Tel: 210.751.3505
The Zillers: Mitropoleos 54, Athina. Tel: 210.322.2277
Botrini’s: Vasileos Georgiou Defterou 24, Halandri Athens. Tel: +30.210.685.7323
CTC Resto: 15 Plataion Str. , Athens, 210 722 8812
Hytra: Leof. Andrea Siggrou 107-109, Athina. Tel: 210.331.6767
Pelagos: 40 Apollonos Str, Four Seasons Astir. Tel: 210.890.1192
Varoulko Seaside: Akti Koumoundourou 52. Tel: 210.522.8400
Bib Gourmand restaurants:
Cerdo Negro 1985: 5 Vitonos Str., Athens. Tel: 210.347.0628
Oikeio: Ploutarchou 15, Athens. Tel: 210.725 .9216
Nolan: Voulis 31, Athens. Tel: 210.324.3545
2022 Athens Michelin restaurants:
Hervé: Trion Ierarchon 170, Athina 118 52. Tel: 210.347.1332
Linou Soumpasis K. Sia: 2 Melanthiou Street, Athens, 10554. Tel: 210.322.0300
Merceri: 21 Herakleidon Thisio, Athens 11851. Tel: 210 341 7511
VERi TABLE: Sikelianou 8, 11525, Neo Psychiko. Tel: 211.182.9109
Athénée: Voukourestiou 9, Athina 106 71. Tel: 210.325.1430
GB Roof Garden: Vasileos Georgiou A 1, Athina 105 64. Tel: 210.333.0766
Aneton: Navarchou Nikodimou 3, Athina 105 57. Tel: 210.806.6700
Okio: Nikis 33 &, Navarchou Nikodimou 3, Athina 105 57. Tel: 210.331.1436
Aleria: Megalou Alexandrou 57, Metaxourgeio – Athens, 104 35. Tel: 210.522.2633
Cookoovaya: Chatzigianni Mexi 2a, Athina 115 28. Tel: 210.723.5005
Alficon: Ironda 8, Athina 116 35. Tel: 216.900.5059
SENSE: Dionysiou Areopagitou 5, Athina 117 42. Tel: 210.920.0240
Annie Fine Cooking: Menechmou 4, Athina 117 4. Tel: 210.921.3690
Le Pavillon: Perikleous 31, Chalandri 152 32. Tel: 210.681.5774