A sandwich, two slices of bread that hold the whole culinary world inside, is essentially a perfectly complete meal eaten in the hand. This is a food that literally everyone loves since it comes in thousands of variations and cures our hunger at all hours of the day.
The truth is that you used to have a hard time finding a good sandwich in Athens, that is, something that escaped mass-produced breads, conventional cold meats, boring cheeses and ready-made sauces.
In recent years, however, sandwiches have taken over, they have evolved into unforgettable culinary experiences.
Breads leavened by hand, special delicatessen products, homemade sauces and organic vegetables are some of the ingredients that make modern sandwiches not only more delicious but also infinitely healthier.
Ciabatta, prosciutto, pastourma, pecorino, and camembert, chive pesto and hot Korean sauce are just some of the sought-after ingredients available at the legendary sandwich shop that introduced gourmet sandwiches to Athens.
Since 1988, it has a huge variety of excellent quality materials that challenge you to make the most unlikely combinations.
41 Veikou Street, Koukaki, tel.: 210 9226 924
The truth is that one has to have a big enough mouth, and a big stomach of course, to enjoy these sandwiches. Large slices of sourdough bread or round handmade buns are filled with anything the mind can think of.
From perfectly marinated pork chops and juicy beef burgers to pesto, avocado, hummus, homemade sauces and delicious melting cheeses.
20 Praxitelous Street, tel.: 210 3250 449
At Talking Heads they make everything themselves. Breads, marinades for meats, sauces, etc. The sandwich "the tikka" with butter bun, spit chicken, halloumi, fried onion, cucumber, pepper and mild spicy tomato sauce is one of the best sellers.
Many also love "the forest" which has mushrooms, mozzarella, parmesan, arugula, truffle oil and homemade ketchup in it.
11 Spyrou Trikoupi, tel.: 211 1839 731
The fantastic breads they make are the ideal base for the delicious sandwiches they prepare every day. The one with focaccia, mortadella, burrata, tomato confit and pistachio beurre noisette is a hit early in the morning.
They also fill their fluffy bagels with smoked salmon, cream cheese and fresh herbs, as well as with the timeless combination of pesto-arugula-tomato-cheese.
Anagnostopoulou 44, Kolonaki, tel.: 210 3627 855
The brand new spot of Neo Psychikos combines the two biggest trends of the new era, i.e. the baked oven with handmade breads made with slow ripening techniques and the gourmet street food i.e. sandwiches with fine ingredients.
In the sinful ham and cheese they make, they use porkette, while another equally delicious option is the sandwich with egg salad and chicken apaki.
Solomou 9, Neo Psychiko, tel.: 216 9391 862
All their breads are made from natural sourdough and the sandwiches they make contain special meats and cheeses, in imaginative combinations. The sandwich with pastrami is the daily sold out, while those made with the dishes of the day are also in great demand, e.g. with braised meat.
71 Zoodochou Pigis, Exarchia, tel.: 211 4187 956
When a sandwich is made of homemade focaccia and has pickled beetroot and carrot, salad of fresh herbs, clotted olives, boiled egg, barrel-aged feta cheese and mayonnaise with paprika, it's hard to resist.
And when the crispy breaded chicken, radicchio and endive salad and caper mayonnaise also come in hand-made focaccia, you definitely have to try them.
Lekka 10, Syntagma, tel.: 210 3225 388
This shop has become known for its traditional bougatsa, but it's worth going all the way to try the sandwiches.
Carob bread with walnut, feta cheese, olives, tomato, oregano and tartar sauce, or turmeric bread with prosciutto, Cretan galomizithra, tomato and basil pesto, or turmeric bread with pumpkin seeds, chicken fillet, yellow cherry tomatoes, corn, parmesan, iceberg and Caesar's sauce are some standout options.
1 Artemisos, Glyfada, tel.: 210 8940 140
The top sandwich shops of Thessaloniki:
It may be known around town for its burgers, but its sandwiches are second to none. The most famous is called the Philly Steak and it is a pretzel with Black Angus beef loins, melted cheddar, caramelised onions and BBQ sauce.
Equally delicious is the Jerk, which is a pretzel with chicken thigh fillet marinated in Caribbean sauce, tomato, iceberg and handmade Tarantino burger sauce.
Ernestou Ebrar 5, Thessaloniki, tel.: 2310 530 020
They make probably the most original sandwiches in Thessaloniki since they put lobster with horseradish mayo in brioche bread.
In their sourdough breads, they combine beef pastrami with Cretan graviera, while another version marries teriyaki chicken with wasabi mayo.
Finally, the pretzel baguette with mutton and beef kebab, city salad, Philadelphia, caramelised onions and authentic sriracha.
Skra 8, tel.: 2310 235 033