While Girl Meets Food was on break, this girl jetted off to Europe for a much-needed vacation. Athens was my first stop, a place with a certain erudite charm lacked by some European cities. Even their strained yogurt is smarter, which is why a heaping plate of tzatziki is served with every meal.
Decorated in all white and candlelight, they serve a variety of contemporary Greek meze. My favorites were the juicy lamb meatballs (€7.80) and the spinach salad (€7.20) with tomatoes and the freshest goat cheese to ever exist.
If you don’t have the time or money to dine fancy, there is no shame in eating as much souvlaki as possible (which is exactly what I did during my last 24 hours in Athens). While plenty of shops near Monastiraki Square claim to serve magic in a pita, O Thanasis is the true Orpheus when it comes to this Greek staple. It’s one of the most popular kebab and souvlaki places here.
Once you fight off hungry locals for a table, order the beef and lamb kebab in a pita (€2.30) or on a platter (€9). Both come with roasted tomatoes and onions, and it is highly recommended to get a side of fries (€2.60) to stuff inside your pita– it’s how the Greeks do it–and tzatziki (€3.20) for slathering.
I found Athens to be endearing with its incredible 3,000-year history, delicious food, and unassuming demeanor. I even went dancing at a club called WS, which stands for Why Sleep since most party-goers don’t arrive until 3 am. If you’re traveling there soon, make sure to study up on the Greek alphabet to avoid being an illiterate tourist. Oh, and remember to stop and look up at the cityscape every once in a while: you might get a breathtaking glimpse of the Acropolis.
Taverna Alexander the Great, Megalou Alexandrou 3-7, Athens, Greece.
Mamacas, Persefonis 41, Athens, Greece.
O Thanasis, Mitropoleos 69, Athens, Greece.
Lisha grew up in her potty-mouthed grandma’s soulful kitchen, asked for a bread-maker on her 11th birthday, loves whiskey and once ate a whole spit-roasted guinea pig in Ecuador. Lisha has been a GMF contributor since 2011, and now lives in Oakland, CA, where the intersection of food, identity, and community has sparked her interest in sustainable and equitable dining. When she’s not working as a finance professional and dance instructor, Lisha is side-hustling as a biscuit entrepreneur.