The Tavern of Psarras: The oldest restaurant in Greece, operating since 1898

Tavern of PsarrasAmerican finance services company, NetCredit has designed a series of maps with detailed infographics and interesting facts about (almost) every country in the world.

One of the maps of NetCredit, which went viral on the internet, depicts the oldest restaurant of every country, when it was build and where it is located.

“A special map for those who are stuck with history and those who want to take a gourmet adventurous tour down memory lane,” NetCredit wrote.

oldest restaurants Tavern of Psarras
The oldest taverns and restaurants in Europe. Photo by NetCredit

According to NetCredit map, the oldest restaurant in Greece, is located in Plaka, Athens, and it is called “The Old Tavern of Psarras” (Η Παλιά Ταβέρνα του Ψαρά), which translates to “The Old Tavern of the Fisherman”.

The Old Tavern of Psarras opened its doors in 1898, and although it was forced to shut down multiple times, due to the two World Wars and other historical events that occurred in the country, 123 years later it has become one the most beloved restaurants in Athens.

“Over one hundred years after its opening, and under Mr. Vlassis Stathokostopoulos’ and his partners’ supervision, The Old Tavern of Psarras has been refurnished and is ready to introduce you to the Greek traditional cuisine and the secrets of its taste,” the tavern’s website reads.

In the picturesque area of ​​Plaka in central Athens, just a few meters away from the well-known steps of Monsikleus, at the intersection of Erechtheos and Erotokritou Streets, is located the beautifully neoclassical building of The Old Tavern of Psarras since 1898.

The restaurant became internationally famous in the early 1950s, when Rex Warner, English author, translator and director of the British Institute in Athens, referred to The Old Tavern of Psarras in his book “Views of Attica and its Surroundings” which was published in 1950. Warner talked about the hospitality of the then owner George Psaras, his delicious retsina and his traditional Greek dishes, that he had never tasted before.

Over the years, the tavern has served famous artists, politicians and other well-known personalities, such as Lawrence Olivier and Vivian Lee, Margot Fontaine, Graham Greens, Melina Mercouri and Manos Hatzidakis, among others.

Moreover, intellectual and writer George Katsimbalis, also known as the “Colossus of Maroussi”, wrote in the 1930s in a letter to poet and Nobel Award winner, George Seferis, about his favourite restaurant The Old Tavern of Psarras, and mentioned that “all these famous strangers gather at Mr. George’s dinner and ask him to treat them with Greek food.”

Tavern of Psarras
Melina Mercouri, Minister of Culture and Sports in 1981

“The oldest restaurant in Greece has become a point of reference for those who love good Greek cuisine. So, for anyone who wants to feel a little of the aura of the old times, enjoy a great atmosphere, and premium quality Greek cuisine, stop in at The Old Tavern of Psarras and you will surely find your new favourite place to hang out,” the restaurant writes.

The Old Tavern of Psarras serves classic Greek cuisine, from moussaka and stuffed tomatoes, to lamb and beef, but is particularly famous for its seafood, such as octopus, shrimp and sea bream. Visitors also refer to the restaurant’s desserts as their favourite dishes, such as baklava, walnut pie and loukoumades with ice cream, which stand out.

Tavern of Psarras

Tavern of Psarras

Among the other restaurants in the NetCredit map, the oldest one in Morocco , “Chez Dimitri” (which translates to ‘With Dimitri’), opened in 1928 and offers a variety of international dishes, with its most popular meal being Greek moussaka.

While the majority of old restaurants in Europe are located in the North Western part of the continent and especially in the UK (between 1100s and 1400s), the oldest restaurant in Europe, and possibly the oldest in the world according to NetCredit, is located in Austria. The ‘St. Peter Stiftskulinarium’ inn, at St. Peter’s Abbey in Salzburg, Austria, has been operating since 803, and still operates today as a renewed and refined, sophisticated restaurant, that serves Viennese schnitzel and other local meats and cheeses.

The majority of the oldest restaurants in the world are located in Europe 8 out of 10), two more countries that still have restaurants built before 1500s include Japan and China.

The oldest restaurant in the US, “The White Horse Tavern” was built by a local pirate named William Mayes, in 1673, while in Australia the oldest restaurant “Grossi Florentino” was built in 1928 in Melbourne, and still serves today traditional Italian cuisine.

oldest restaurants Tavern of Psarras
The oldest taverns and restaurants in the world. Photo by NetCredit

Photo credit: All photos by psarras-taverna.gr except where noted differently.

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