Athens street food is a huge part of the food culture in Greece. These food options are not only low cost and convenient, they are also delicious and among the best things to sample in Greece.
Souvlaki is arguably one of the most famous Athens street food dishes. The concept is simple: a stick of sumptuous marinated meat drizzled in fresh lemon juice and served with a slice of pita bread.
You can find different variations of souvlaki. Most commonly, it is made with pork, chicken and beef meat.
One stick will usually cost little more than €1.40. Order 2-3 each in order to have a filling meal.
You can also order some fries on the side too. A small portion of fries shouldn’t cost more than €3 or so. Souvlaki is a popular late-night snack choice for Greeks headed home from the bars and bozoukias of Athens.
Looking for the best souvlaki in Athens? If you’re in Pagrati, the Mets, or the Vyronas area, check out Elvis souvlaki (Plateon 29).
If you’re in the city centre, head to Kosta souvlaki (2 Agia Eirini Square). This is one of the most popular souvlaki spots in the city, frequented by locals and tourists alike.
But some places are popular for a reason. A number of Athens food tours stop by here also.
Gyros are hot pita wraps that are filled with meat cooked on a vertical rotisserie. You will find an abundance of gyro places on practically every street corner in Athens.
Chicken and pork gyros are the most common. When you order one, the server will ask you if you want it “with everything”.
This typically means that the pita will be stuffed with meat, fries, salad, and tzatziki. Sometimes an additional sauce is added – light Greek mustard that is unbelievably tasty and is made by blending mustard with mayonnaise.
There is arguably no such thing as a bad gyro, even in tourist areas. The only thing that really varies is the price.
A good gyro should not cost more than €2.50-€3. You can also buy double gyros if you’re particularly hungry.
If you do decide to order a double, expect to be presented with a pita gyro that is almost the size of your head! If you don’t really like the idea of eating rotisserie meat, you can also ask that your gyro be prepared with souvlaki meat. That way, you know it’s a little better quality.
Babadan is a great local spot for trying gyros. They have branches in Pagrati (Chremonidou 52) and Argyroupoli (Marinou Geroulanou 50).
In the centre? Head to O Thanasis (Mitropoleos 69).
Skepasti could be compared to the Mexican quesadilla. It is a large, pizza-like wheel of pita bread that is designed for sharing and can be divided into several pieces.
The pita is stuffed with meat (commonly chicken), homemade fries and an abundance of melted cheese. A lot of Greek street food places that sell gyros and souvlaki also sell skepasti.
However, few tourists have ever heard of this. Skepasti is usually served with a side portion of fries and pots of ketchup and mustard for dipping.
While falafel is not traditional Greek street food, you will find numerous falafel stores around the city centre. Falafel is of Middle Eastern origin and they are a great vegetarian option.
These are deep-fried fritters filled with chickpeas and vegetables. Falafel is typically served in pita bread alongside a spicy sauce and commonly, Greek yoghurt.
There are several great falafel places in central Athens. Check out Falafellas (Aiolou 51) or Falafel House (Athinas 23).
Koulouri is the Greek answer to the New York pretzel. It is a giant circular piece of sesame seeded bread that is commonly enjoyed as breakfast or as a mid-morning snack.
You will see Athens street food vendors selling koulouri from little carts all over the city. This is particularly the case along Ermou street, in Syntagma Square, in Monastiraki and in Kolonaki.
Similarly, you will find koulouri sold at bakeries around the city. Although the savoury sesame seeded version is the “traditional” koulouri, you will also find other varieties.
For instance, you can get sweet chocolate chip or blueberry versions of koulouri. You can also find sandwich-style versions that are filled with ham, melted cheese, and other goodies.
Add Mon Kulur to your radar. It’s a small chain of koulouri bakeries. Their coffee is pretty great too and a Freddo espresso costs little more than €1. They have branches in Pagrati, Ampelokipoi, and close to the National Archaeological Museum at 3is Septemvriou 18.
Corn on the Cob
Corn on the cob is a simple yet warming Athens street food, particularly on a cooler Autumn/Winter day in Greece. The corn is grilled fresh right in front of you.
Once ready, it is then sprinkled with sea salt. You will notice a lot of vendors selling corn on the cob along Dionysiou Areopagitou and Apostolou Pavlou.
The Ottoman occupation of Greece has left a significant impact on the country’s culture and gastronomy. One such example of that is the abundance of kebabs that can be found at Athens street food places.
If you’re willing to travel a little out of the city centre, one of the best places that you can try kebabs in Athens is at Kyr Aristos in Paleo Faliro (Zisimopoulou 96). Yogurtlu kebabs are a particularly tasty thing to try.
The kebab meat is a mixture of lamb and beef. This is then served drenched in a fresh, homemade tomato sauce and a hearty dollop of Greek yoghurt and oregano.
Another “only in Greece” style kebab to try? Cheese stuffed keftedes!
Beef kebabs or burger patties are stuffed with cheese. This varies from establishment to establishment but is commonly feta, Roquefort, gouda, or vlahotyri.
When Autumn arrives in Greece and the first auburn leaves start to fall, Athens street food vendors set up carts selling roasted chestnuts all over the city. You don’t have to look far to find this.
You will find chestnut stands all over the city and you can buy a little bag of warm chestnuts for just a few euros. The perfect warming snack for a cold December day in Athens.
Assorted Nuts and Dried Fruits
If you’re looking for some sustenance for a long day’s hiking or sightseeing around Athens, there is a solution. Keep your eyes peeled for the stalls around the centre that sell an assortment of nuts and dried fruits.
These are particularly common around the Acropolis area in Makrygianni, and close to the Ancient Agora in Thissio. You will also see a lot of nuts, dried fruit, and fruit vendors in Monastiraki square and close to the flea market.
Greek pastries are a huge part of the Athens street food culture. There are so many varieties of them, and they can be enjoyed as a breakfast, an on-the-go snack, or taken home and enjoyed as an accompaniment to dinner.
A lot of Greek pastries are made with phyllo pastry and then stuffed with a particular filling. Spanakopita, tiropita, and milk pie are arguably the nation’s favourite pastries.
However, there are so many different variations of Greek pastries. Furthermore, there are different regional varieties that you can only find in some parts of the country.
For instance, the Epirus region of Ioannina and its surroundings are famous for pies that can only be found here. So what are the most famous Greek pastries?
Spanakopita is a delicious savoury pastry stuffed with feta and spinach. Meanwhile, tiropita is a Greek “cheese pie” that is filled with cheese.
You can buy a giant hearty slab of these pastries for around €1.70. Eat them as they are, or take them home to enjoy them with Greek yoghurt and some horiatiki (Greek salad).
Peinirli is the Greek answer to pizza. However, it is “boat-shaped” and quite unique in appearance, unlike a conventional western pizza.
Instead, you could compare Greek peinirli to Georgian “khachapuri” or Turkish “pide”. The dish was introduced to the country by Greeks that lived in the black sea centuries ago.
It can be found around the country but is a particular speciality in the Volos region. “Peynrili” actually means “with cheese” in Turkish.
This is a fitting name, reflective of the snack. Although there are a number of different fillings available, peinirli is commonly made with a hearty (and sinful) amount of cheese and melted butter.