Agios Merkourios: The definition of a butcher's tavern

Agios Merkourios restaurant

If you ask ten Athenians where they eat the best ribs in the outskirts of Attica, half, maybe even more, will say Agios Merkourios. Old-timers remember this country tavern from the 1980s when it was located near the church of Agios Merkourios on the eastern slopes of Mount Parnitha. The younger ones honour it in its new location since 2009, opposite the 1st Fire Station in Varympompi.

Inside, it looks like a large countryhouse; the huge fireplace dominates the middle of the space, while the stone cladding on the walls and the wooden elements make the atmosphere warm and intimate.

Outside, on the huge terrace, the view is magical as it sees the slopes of Parnitha and the Thrakomakedones from above. However, unfortunately, in recent years, due to the fires, the landscape has changed dramatically.

Agios Merkourios restaurant

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As we already said, the insiders come here for the lamb ribs and, of course, veal. Finely cut, cooked to perfection, with tender meat and delicious fat, it is in itself a reason enough to take a walk to Varympompi even if you live on the other side of Attica.

Juicy large beef sirloin and luscious T-bone, rack of lamb (lamb leg fillet) cooked to perfection, melt-in-your-mouth pork knuckle, tender beef liver, country sausage and biftekia are just some of the famous dishes on the menu that combine all-time classic options with the new trends in meat eating.

The accompaniments are few but exquisite and complement each order. Famous for 50 years, fresh fries are present in all tables, as is the famous cheese pie, which is kneaded by hand from bread dough filled with plenty of peppery feta.

As for the salads and those around them, they are made from the finest ingredients since they search for them a lot, and this is evident in all seasons: salad of tender lettuces, country salad with whole sweet tomatoes and greens boiled perfectly so that they retain their vitality, eggplants, courgettes and peppers, always fresh and fried to perfection.

As for the foods, they are strictly hand-made and have all the brutality that befits them: such as tzatziki and melitzanosalata.

In drinks, white, red, rosé and semi-sweet wine from Asco Zitsa Northern Wine, selected labels of Greek wines and spirits, and beers for all tastes.

Agios Merkourios restaurant

Agios Merkourios restaurant

Agios Merkourios restaurant

The impressive thing is that this shop is constantly full from early noon, even on weekdays. There is also a long queue on weekends, so a reservation is essential if you are in a family group with many people or want to be seated immediately.

Finally, it is worth mentioning that Agios Merkourios is a first-class option-solution for the holidays (Christmas, Easter, etc.) and, in general, for the special days of the year (Holy Thursday, May Day, August 15th, etc.) and we do not have energy for home cooking but also want to go on walks and enjoy good food.

Fortunately, the service and the kitchen are always perfectly coordinated and super fast to respond properly to every situation.


Varympompi, tel: 210 8169 617
Price 20-25 euros, without wine


Zoi Papafotiou is a columnist for Olive Magazine.

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