Summer may be over #sigh, but for Athenians, it certainly doesn’t feel like it (35 degrees, anyone?). No matter what the season though, there’s never a wrong time for some of the best ice cream Athens has to offer. And luckily for those on team “There’s Always Room for Ice Cream”, you don’t have to go far for a licking of delicious ice-cold sweets. Whether you crave a classic scoop of the best artisanal gelato in town, one-of-a-kind soft serve, or distinct Greek flavours like thyme honey and “anthotiro” cheese, we’ve got you covered. Here, five of the best ice cream shops in Athens (and which scoops you won’t be able to resist).
Probably one of the most famed ice-creameries in Athens, Le Greche in Syntagma Square is known for its unique Italian flavours mixed with Greek flair. Chef Evi Papadopoulou uses ingredients like pistachios and peanuts from Sicily, hazelnuts from Piedmont and bergamot from Crete to create ice-cream flavours you’ll keep coming back for! After studying in Italy, Papadopoulos had mastered the art of gelato and brought her wisdom to the centre of Athens. Popular flavours include the wonderful baklava and cream and the mascarpone with caramelised figs.
GCT pick: Nocciola hazelnut. The hazelnuts are roasted to perfection, and its intense rich flavour is one you won’t forget.
Mitropoleos 16A, Syntagma. Tel.: 216 700 6458, Facebook
In the late 1950s, Dickie Dee was one of the largest ice cream companies in North America. At its peak, Dickie Dee had about 1,500 businesses across Canada and the northern United States. Sure, we may be decades away from the above, but the memory for Dimitris Fotopoulos from his years in Canada, along with Kyriakos Stylianos gave the way for Dickie Dee (2.0) to be reborn. Focusing on the original idea of “soft-serve” ice cream, you’ll find soft-serve here like no other place in Athens with an interior to match. Each unique flavour like the Fior di Latte soft serve has been handmade and can be accompanied with cotton candy and handmade toppings (caramel popcorn!!) that will awaken your childhood memories.
GCT pick: Dark chocolate vegan soft serve with vanilla cotton candy! Boy, you won’t regret it!
Sugar, ice and biceps: Those were the tools you needed to make ice cream back in 1951. Nikos Christogiorgo still remembers those days. For more than half a century, his shop, Solo Gelato has been pleasing sweltering crowds in Chalandri with icy, creamy scoops that will make you scream for more ice-cream.
GCT pick: Christogiorgo’s mango sorbet. Fun fact: in 2011, the mango sorbet won first place in a pan-European ice cream competition. We don’t think you need more convincing.
A.Papandreou 44, Chalandri. Tel.: 21 0681 3622, Facebook
Xara translates to Joy in Greek. And Xara Patisserie in Patission has been serving a whole lot of joy since April 11, 1969. For the past 49 years, Xara has managed to stand the test of time (and the crisis!), serving traditional Turkish and Greek pastry classics and of course, ice cream! Rumour has it, the owner’s grandmother, Aristea, came from Smyrna to Athens after her persecution in 1922, and with her brought recipes for smoked and cooked ice cream in her shoe! You can’t go past the Politico Ekmek ice cream made with traditional kaimaki (a Turkish mastic ice cream).
GCT pick: Chicago ice cream: a chocoholics dream. A brave portion of chocolate ice cream with whipped cream, chocolate syrup and chopped almonds.
Fatto a Mano
At Fatto a Mano, in Peristeri, you’ll be sure to find that everything is made from scratch. The all-natural ice cream is made using Greek milk and quality ingredients (that means vanilla is always from Madagascar, and chocolate is always from Valrhona). With strong Cretan roots, the ice cream flavours have a distinctly Greek flair. For a boozy afternoon scoop, try the rakomelo with Cretan tsikoudia – the unique combination will be like nothing you’ve ever tasted before.
GCT pick: “Anthotiro” cheese with Cretan honey! A sweet and savoury combo for a tastebud explosion.
Kosta Varnali St. 21, Peristéri. Tel.: 21 0577 7407, Facebook
Crazy for a sundae? The classic Athenian establishment Zonar’s offers the “Chicago” sundae: a famed combination of chocolate ice cream, whipped cream, langues des chat and chocolate syrup with crushed nuts.