Millennials may have an ambivalent reputation, however, one thing is for sure: they are responsible for one of the most emblematic culinary amalgamations of the century, the concept of brunch. Combining breakfast with lunch and coming up with extra rich breakfast foods you can feast on practically all day long? Pure genius!
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As a true millennial myself -and a breakfast-lover at that- I couldn’t help but succumb to this heavenly gastronomic trend; add to that the fact that I’m also a born and bred Athenian, and you’d better trust and believe that I‘ve got all the inside scoop regarding the best places to enjoy a lazy brunch in Athens; from trendy hotspots to tucked-away eateries beloved by the sophisticated locals, if you live and breathe for just-the-perfect-Insta-story of your stylish and delish eggs benedict or maple syrup pancakes, it’s your lucky day: here are the top 10 places for brunch in Athens!
Brunch spots in downtown Athens
The star of Thessaloniki came to Athens and the Athenians were more than happy to welcome this emblematic and original street food and brunch spot among their favorite Sunday habits. Situated in many spots of the city, with its lovely glass façade and urban design, Estrella is sure to draw you in not only with its exceptional savorous choices but with its buoyant atmosphere as well! Amongst the all-time favorites, you will come across the breakfast pizza on koulouri dough, the Ottoman burger with a lamb and beef patty, as well as more original choices on eggs, bagels, popovers, pancakes and everything else you can imagine! Be sure not to miss its most popular dessert, 'bougatsan', a tasty crossroads between Thessaloniki and Paris, combining the local ‘bougatsa’ with croissants, which has caught the interest of the Guardian, the New York Times and Saveur magazine.
7 Cactus - credits: http://sevencactus.gr/
The Greek take on brunch and street food is here to stay! With its mysterious name and the iconic Greek cactus as its emblem, 7 Cactus is the best choice for those wishing to explore more closely traditional Greek cuisine with a modern twist. Here you will find a large variety of dishes inspired by Greek tradition, such as the Greek pancakes 'lalaggides', 'kayanas' -scrambled eggs with tomato sauce-, meatballs with ouzo, even the famous moussaka, all made with love and products from different parts of Greece. It's even possible to create your own sandwich; just pick the ingredients yourself and indulge in a personalized, tasty experience, all in very close proximity to the brand new Contemporary Art Museum of Athens in Syggrou Av. How about combining the two for a perfect morning away from the tourist crowds?
Bohemian and multi-cultural, Mama Roux on Aiolou str. has become one of the Athenians' favorites, and a place you have to visit at least once when you are in the city. On its menu, you will find tastes from all over the world, such as enchiladas, tortillas, falafels, noodles, burgers and India-inspired souvlaki! Mama Roux, which opened back in 2011, was one of the first places in Athens to start serving brunch. Therefore, it goes without saying that they really know their business! If you plan to come here on the weekend, consider booking in advance because it can get quite busy. If you are here only during the week, be sure to check it out at night! Often, they will host street parties with live music or DJs, and boy, does Mama know how to throw a party!
Pancakes - credits: Ivana Lalicki/Shutterstock.com
Indulge your inner Parisien by having brunch at one of the classiest and most chic places the Greek capital has to offer! Chez Michel, true to its French name, is all about quality and the right ambiance. Here you will find a big variety of bagels, sandwiches, bruschetti, omelets, club sandwiches, fresh salads, hand-made pasta, and of course some of the most popular french sweets. Need more? Chez Michel turns into a bar later in the day, offering its clientele a fine selection of wines from Greece, France, and Italy as well as drinks and cocktails for those who would rather have something stronger. Visit Chez Michel in Kolonaki, the fanciest neighbourhood in downtown Athens, or the one in Panepistimiou str. if you prefer having a view of the beautiful neoclassical buildings of the Athenian trilogy; any choice you make, the beautiful vintage design of both places as well as their jazzy musical selections are sure to take you on a journey to La Ville Lumière as it must have felt like during the 1920s.
Ergon Deli is what successful and quality Greek entrepreneurship looks like. In only a decade, they have managed to create a network of 11 delis and restaurants all around the globe, making available more than 1200 Greek artisanal products to people who have never had the opportunity to try them before. In their Syntagma branch, you can choose from a well-thought selection of mezedes -small plates-, spreads, salads, pasta, meat, and fish plates as well as desserts, with the Greek yogurt with pasteli and fresh fruits being a must-try. All coming strictly from Greek producers. At the same time, if you would like to take some of these new tastes back home, artisanal products, such as their eggplant or feta spread (htipiti) are available to buy as well as, olives, olive oils, herbs, honey, jams, sauces, wines, and sweets.
Brunch spots in downtown Athens
In the idyllic neighborhood of Voula, located along the famous Athens Rivera, you can enjoy scrumptious brunch dishes in a cozy atmosphere, surrounded by welcoming locals and a friendly staff willing to help you with everything you need. Rey Pablo, the eatery in question, is one of the locals’ staples when it comes to lazy brunch and coffee and for good reason: its wide selection in cult-classic brunch dishes both sweets and savory are impressive, with the taste of every single one of them meeting and surpassing your expectations. There, you can also find international combinations that are not that common in Greece, such as the winning combo of maple and bacon, with the high-quality of the raw materials used in the making of the delicacies upgrading the menu and making Rey Pablo a must-visit coffee shop/restaurant. As an added bonus, I must mention that unlike most eateries on our list, Rey Pablo is extremely pet-friendly, which means that there, you can enjoy your brunch in the company of your beloved, 4-legged bestie. Keep in mind that brunch is served there until 6.00 pm, and if you find yourself there don’t skip on tasting its delicious pancakes with the topping of your choice (go for maple syrup and bacon, GO FOR MAPLE SYRUP AND BACON)!
A little posher, but just as homey -as its name suggests- is Family. Perfect for breakfast, brunch, lunch, dinner, or night drinks, Family is dedicated to healthy eating without compromising the taste along the way. Decorated as an old English home, with the white and pastel colors dominating what used to be a neoclassic mansion, the impeccable aesthetic of both the setting and the dishes add to the whole brunch experience and make Family one of the top choices for your favorite Millenian meal. The dishes you’ll find in Family are a bit on the gourmet side, as are the prices, but the banging taste of the offerings will reward you beyond a shadow of a doubt. Its rich catalog will give you a multitude of delicious choices for all hours of the day. At the bar, in its stunning garden or even at the tables on the pedestrian street, when the weather allows it, you can enjoy the delicious foods and drinks combined with relaxing music and atmosphere. My favorite tried and tested recipes include the salty pancakes, which consist of bacon, gouda cheese, tomato, and a fried egg, and the Greek spin on scrambled eggs, ‘Kagiana’, with fresh smoked tomatoes and peppers, cheese and sausage on baked bread; if these dishes sound delicious, wait until you taste them too!
Kitchen Lab - credits: https://kitchenlabcafe.com/
One of the most popular spots of the bunch, Kitchen Lab is one of those places you won’t hear a single negative thing about. The reason for that is none other than its owner, an admired Greek chef near and dear to all the Greeks’ hearts, as his dishes and techniques have dominated the locals’ daily diet during recent years -I’ve yet to meet a fellow Greek who doesn’t swear by Akis Petretzikis’ recipes. After gaining recognition for his participation in the Greek MasterChef television show and winning, he swiftly became a modern version of what Mary Berry is for the UK. His restaurants (yep, there is more than one) are a very good representation of the talent that made him reach the top. Kitchen Lab’s pastrami sandwich and salmon bagel are to-die-for, but if you want to opt for a healthier serving, try the superfood breakfast or one of the appetizing protein shakes offered. Despite burgers not being a traditional brunch dish, I feel obligated to tell you that Kitchen Lab is famous for its mind-blowing burgers, so if you don’t care about rules and want to live life on the edge, I’d highly suggest you go for the chicken burger. Alternatively, just ask for the day’s special, you won’t be disappointed!
Yi's interior - credits:https://www.facebook.com/pg/YiAthens/photos/?ref=page_internal
As we ‘re in 2020 and in a Mediterranean country where the locals’ diet is heavily based on fresh fruits and vegetables, one cannot forget the incredible vegan options on the market that have nothing to be jealous of the conventional eateries. Case in point Yi, the vegan eatery that has impressed the Athenians -both the ones following a vegan/vegetarian diet and the ones who don’t-, located in the southern neighborhood of Glyfada. Yi, which is wittily named after the Greek word for ‘earth’, is a vast, tranquil space full of beautiful corners - from the chaise lounges to the old Asia-inspired toilet doors, which offer the perfect Instagram opportunity. You can have a smoothie with orange, pineapple and sea buckthorn sitting on the cozy bar stools; you can relax with a cup of almond milk on the cozy couches with beautiful floral wallpapers; you can savor a refreshing salad at a monastery table of old railroad woods with antique chairs under recycled glass lamps. This all-day space in Glyfada has no ovens, pots or pans, and has got entirely rid of lactose and gluten from its offerings. Based on fresh fruits, vegetables, seeds and nuts, the (few) dishes served by Yi detoxify and assist the better absorption of nutrients from the body. The salads and small plates made in collaboration with French chef Christophe Birg are well-made, and the sweets are surprisingly delectable. On the plus side, you can buy on the spot a bag of handmade granola, or almonds with sun-dried tomatoes, red pepper, chili, and thyme, among other delicacies, to bring back home. Yummy and healthy, a triumphant combination!
Once more in the trendy southern neighborhood of Glyfada, an equally trendy place waits for you to enjoy its incredible brunch menu. Oh Mama is one for the books and its reputation is living proof of that. Homemade dishes that taste like they’ve come straight from your mama’s kitchen made with love and top-quality local ingredients will sweep you off of your feet and will have you sighing ‘oh mama’! Housed in a typical old Greek house that has been renovated to match the hipster aesthetic of the times with tasteful industrial and vintage touches, Oh Mama welcomes its guests and promises an enjoyable, relaxing time accompanied by delightful flavors and aromas. Its rich menu, apart from the conventional brunch dishes everyone knows and loves -yes, you’ll find pancakes, yes, eggs benedict as well!- Oh Mama puts a Greek twist on the classics, serving unique dishes, such as the tahini toast and the -personal favorite- hummus delight. Pair your choice with a mouthwatering ‘brunchtail’ and good times will be guaranteed! Keep in mind that if you’re on a diet, you can have one of Oh Mama’s lush healthy bowls that will satisfy your senses while ridding you of any guilt. The ‘Choco Bowl’ is in my humble opinion the best choice as the ambrosial mix of banana, peanut butter and chocolate is sure to win you over!
So there you have it; a local's take on the best places for brunch in Athens at the moment (we can’t help that new brunch spots pop up on the daily)! Try the one closer to your style and discover the long-lasting love that Greeks have for food, as well as their traditional flavors. Who knows? Maybe after trying the Greek twist on brunch, you will never want to go back to plain old eggs benedict ever again!
Why not discover the very best of Athens' culinary scene with our Athens for Foodies tour, discover artisanal eateries and delicious dishes from across Greece.