Greeks sure know how to cook seafood- from grilled octopus, baked fish and fried calamari to prawn saganaki, kakavia fish soup and sea urchin salad. There are many restaurants in Athens serving up fresh seafood that’s cooked with expertise, vision and style.
Here we have selected a good variety of psarotavernas (Fish Taverns) around Greece's capital city doing just that- from traditional and family run, to modern and chic- if you are a seafood lover you should check them all out!
1. Margaro, Piraeus
Since it opened in 1944, good old I Margaro has built a cult-status reputation for its big quality dishes based on a small menu.
The small family run tavern next to Piraeus’ Naval Academy accepts no reservations and you’ll find queues of people patiently waiting during weekends to eat succulent seafood (sea bream, red mullet, langoustines and shrimps) fried to the perfect crisp, and accompanied by horiatiki, sometimes made with the sweetest, juiciest tomatoes and feta cheese from Argos.
There isn’t any view to speak of, but trust us, you’ll be too focused on the tasty fish crunching in your mouth to care.
Address: 126 Chatzikiriakou Ave, Piraeus. Tel: +302104514226
2. Ithaki, Vouliagmeni
Don’t even consider going to Ithaki if what you are looking for is a cheap and cheerful fish tavern.
This three-storey place overlooking the sea is a VIP-level restaurant, a go-to dining destination for the likes of A’ list Hollywood actors, shipowners and politicians who are happy to dunk their bread in a 58€ sea urchin salad starter.
Here you’ll sample everything from simply yet skilfully grilled, baked or fried fish to sophisticated Mediterranean and Greek seafood-based dishes like risotto with cured pork belly confit, luxuriant lobster velouté, salmon pave and black cod, as well as meat classics like Chateaubriand. The place to go if you want to live it up over delectable seafood and impress someone.
Address: Apollonos 28, Laimos Vouliagmenis Tel: 210 8963747
3. Papadakis, Kolonaki
With white tablecloth-covered tables lining the street and some overlooking a feel-good (especially from twilight) view of the Acropolis, this elegant restaurant has a menu deeply inspired - but not heavily reliant on - seafood.
The cuisine at Papadakis is creative and modern Greek-Mediterranean (shrimps sautéed with feta and chilli, or white grouper with summer truffles and Santorini wine) and traditional (slow-cooked Paros chickpea soup, portokalopita cake). Its discreet tranquility, well-thought-out menu and high quality service draws an eclectic crowd - when we visited there were theatre directors, actors, an international business group and media opinion-makers.
Address: 47 Voukourestiou Str. & Fokilidou Tel: 210 3608621
This fish-monger’s, deli and restaurant is on one of Pangratis’ liveliest streets, Archimidous, and although it is mostly indoors, the excellently-prepared fish dishes (by a Roman chef) make the A/C Vs Al Fresco decision easy.
The owners, who also have fish farms, clearly love and know fish, and the broad choices please all tastes. From classic Greece-inspired dishes (served with fennel puree and baby potatoes, or Santorini tomatoes and olives), to al dente pasta like frutti di mare or homemade pesto and a satisfactory side menu for sushi lovers, Fish Point is an effortless choice for those seeking well-prepared seafood in a neighbourly urban setting.
Address: Archimidous 8, Pangrati. Tel: 21 0756 5321
No-frills and top quality is what you will find at this Kaisariani (southeast of Athens centre) taverna, which receives the day’s catch from local fishermen.
Here you will find your beloved kakavia fish soup, grilled sardines that have a smoky-charred exterior and a succulent flesh, tempura-like fried calamari and bakaliaros skordalia (cod with garlic sauce) that leaves you feeling light. The setting is inspired by the islands - blue tables, large paintings themed on the sea and simple details.
Address: 8 Themistokleous | Themistokleous 8 & Nikitara 9 Tel: 21 0383 8531