A visit to the Pangrati neighborhood’s busy Proskopon Square reveals a vibrant mosaic of popular hangouts and brand-new restaurants and bars to discover. There’s something here for everyone.
For beer and simple meze we have Trigono and Aerostato – both a little bohemic and with plenty of regular patrons, very relaxed, unpretentious, and friendly. If, on the other hand, we’re in the mood for brunch or cocktails, we go to Frater and Soror. If it’s cocktails we’re there for, we choose a seat at the bar, to watch the skilled bartenders do their magic. Among our favorite drinks here is their unusual spicy margarita with mango, agave syrup and sriracha.
For a little bit of fairytale atmosphere (and a lot of chocolate), we go to the charming Petite Fleur, serving cocoa made with organic Valrhona chocolate. G.P.
Aghion Theodoron Square
In Aghion Theodoron square, named for the pretty little Byzantine church of Saints Theodores in its center, there are plenty of good options for food and drinks. Among the first of the establishments here to draw crowds to the square was Odori Vermuteria di Atene, the interior of which resembles a botanical garden. Using their own vermouth, they make an excellent negroni, and many more interesting cocktails to pair with pizza or small bites such as bruschetta with meatballs, sauce Napolitaine and pesto.
Almost next door, at Madame Fu Man Chu, we stop for Vietnamese spring rolls stuffed with shrimp; chicken with lemongrass; garlic chili; or a bowl of fragrant pho. When we’re more in the mood for Greek meze, we head to Dopios, for dishes created by renowned Greek chef Christoforos Peskias. Crispy French fries; light and airy meatballs like the popular ones at the chef’s other famous restaurant, Balthazar; sweetbreads in a spicy sauce and other delicious treats hardly reach the table before we’ve scraped the plates clean.
When we need to indulge, we have Juicy Grill, outside which locals happily queue for their burgers and fun appetizers, like their fried mac & cheese sticks. Meanwhile across the square, Nikos and Tania, who run 2 Goulies kai 2 Boukies (Two Sips and 2 Bites), will serve you a great cup of coffee every time. G.P.
This exotically named square (Platia Vrazilias: Brazil Square) in Ilissia was unfamiliar to most Athenians until just a few years ago. Now new establishments, run by creative professionals, are opening all around it. LOT 51 was the all-day cafe bar that initiated the change, giving new life to the square, which is actually a triangle, located between the streets of Michalakopoulou, Ilision and the pedestrian Nimfeou, serving specialty coffee from Area 51 and well-made snacks to go with it.
A stone’s throw away, Tromero Paidi has become a must stop for people in the neighborhood but also a destination for people from all around the city, arriving here to purchase some of the baked goods made by Stefanos Livianos and Christos Pappas. They bake with sourdough and flours from Pipino Pyrrontzello’s mill in Karditsa, (which grinds grain using a vintage roller mill). From the miraculously light brioche with French Brittanu butter, to Parisian baguettes, the dried fruit loaf and the green wholegrain malted barley bread – everything here is excellent.
At Cyrano en ville run by Lebanese Fadi Haddad, we enjoy aperitivo while watching the comings and goings in the square. G.P.
Ble Papagalos (Blue Parrot), with its comfortable French-style garden furniture under the trees in the square makes for cool and calm evenings with friends. Besides coffee and drinks, they also serve a variety of snacks.
In the plot next door, behind the still-standing wall of a house from the 20s, Galiántra offers beer and food to-go. Chef Gogo Delogianni parked her food truck here a year ago, and transformed the space with gravel on the ground, lots of color, string lights and barrels for tables, all adding to the character of this garden which stays open until late. Here we enjoy grilled meatballs, hotdogs, soft-serve ice cream and frozen margaritas on tap.
Another classic choice for a meal in this square is Seychelles, whee we come for delicious contemporary takes on Greek food. G.P.
This beloved square in the Petralona neighborhood has been drawing young crowds for years. From afternoon until late, the benches in the square fill with people, often enjoying spontaneous picnics put together with snacks and drinks from the superb grocery store Synoikia to Oneiro next door. On their shelves, you’ll find all sorts of treats, from rare Greek cheeses to a large selection of Greek craft beers, wines and aged tsipouro.
One of the most famous meeting places in Petralona, Rantevou serves meze and comfort foods like squid with orzo, grilled potatoes with yogurt and eggs with staka (clarified butter produced from sheep’s milk, popular on Crete), as well as many dishes with Middle Eastern influences, like falafel, hummus, Lebanese labneh, spicy biryani chicken and grilled sujuk. If the roads bring you here, grab a table and enjoy the food with a tsipouro, ouzo or beer. M.P.
This article first appeared in Greece Is (www.greece-is.com), a Kathimerini publishing initiative.