Stretching from Ermou St, right across Monastiraki Square and all the way to Omonia Square, Athinas St is a one kilometre-long stretch of some of Athens’ most interesting stores as well as where the Varvakeios Municipal Meat, Fish and Vegetable Market is located. Much can be seen and explored here, but we turned to expert Katerina Tsitsipi, who runs the lively, fun and profoundly educational Livin’ Lovin’ tours with her husband, to visit some of Athinas’ most exciting and unmissable foodie highlights.
Amygdalota Classic & New
Lonis (7 Athinas St) is a patisserie that since the beginning of the 20th century sells some of the most delightful melt-in-your-mouth amygdalota (almond paste) biscuits with every imaginable filling and topping – different types of cream, jams, and chocolate. Here you’ll also find meringues in every shade, chocolates, ice cream and of course macaroons. The shop caters to weddings, baptisms, birthdays and other special occasions.
Honey From All of Greece
At Kolios (35 Athinas), a store selling a broad variety of foods from freshly baked bread made in regional styles to watermelon liqueur, every type of tahini imaginable and rare homemade-style jams, you will find the greatest variety of Greek honey you’ve ever come across. Not only is there an astounding choice in honey of different origins but also types – black honey, Riki, pine, floral, wild thyme (throubi) and many, many more varieties can be bought here, as well as super-healthy bee products like Royal Jelly and pollen.
Ice Cream Lovers & Chef’s Paradise
One side of this incredible foodie place ( the only of its kind in the world) is a specialty store for chefs and restaurants selling exceptionally specialised ingredients and cooking accessories (from rare silicone moulds to cones, spoons and unusually-shaped baking tins). The other side of Kokkion (Athinas & 2 Protogenous), connected via the kitchen in the middle, is an ice cream store where the owner sells his delectable homemade ice cream. The menu changes regularly but always includes deliciously creative options.
Great Bougatsa & Handmade Pies
Bougatsa fans rejoice! At Creme Royale (37 Athinas) you’ll find one of the most indulgent (but not heavy) renditions of your favourite dessert, usually a famous specialty in the northern capital of Thessaloniki. You’ll spot the cafe by seeing a baker flipping a huge circle of pie doe in the air in the store’s front window, a dough that is folded, stuffed and then wrapped into a square parcel. Here you’ll find tasty pies from around Greece as well as sandwiches and fresh, vitamin-packed juices with your fruits and veggies of choice.
The Market of Sensory Overload
Finally, stop off at the Varvakeios Municipal Fish, Meat & Vegetable Market (42 Athinas) where your sensory overload peaks in seconds. A cacophony of voices from sellers, pungent smells from raw fish and meat, squelchy floors (don’t wear sandals or flip flops here) and sights like gleaming seafood of every variety, endless varieties of olives, fruit & veggies in the part across, (where you’ll also find several stores selling Eastern European goods like sour cream caviar and sauerkraut) and in the meat market, things a mainly vegetarian eater like me would rather not have to look at again – pig’s heads, skinned lambs with bulging eyes, cow’s tongues and glistening entrails.