We may be more than halfway through July, but in Greece, the summer spirit will still be around for a couple of months to come. Whether you’re a visiting tourist or a local resident, you can enjoy the sun, sand, and sea(food!) without driving more than hour from the city center. Below are four enchanting seaside tavernas to visit this summer near Athens.
In the seaside town of Nea Makri (just under an hour’s drive from Athens), Avra (end of Leoforos Poseidonos; 2294091518) has been an unrivaled classic for decades. While the waves reach nearly up to your table, snack on a variety of classic Greek mezedes and freshly caught fish, fried and grilled, including shrimps, squid, sea bass, striped red mullet, and sometimes even lobster—and don’t forget to order a dose of hand-cut French fries.
Closer to home in Vouliagmeni (about 40 minutes from Athens) Sardelaki me Thea (Poseidonos 18; 2109670913) looks out onto the sea and serves up simple, chic fish mezedes. Indulge in the likes of crab, oysters, eel, and lobster=. They also have wide range of starters, from Cretan graviera cheese to smoked mackerel. If you like Greek spirits, they also have several varieties of ouzo and tsipouro worth trying.
Further south in Varkiza (about 45 minutes from Athens), Aperanto Galazio (Eastern Varkiza Beach, next to the Nautical Athletics Association; 2109655951) is right on the beach and full of seafood delights. They’re pricier than other tavernas, but worth it for special occasions. Try the shrimps saganaki (with tomato sauce and feta) or the kofto (short) pasta with octopus. They also have several good non-fish dishes as well, including pork and chicken souvlaki and a baked dish (e.g., pie) of the day.
Finally, another decades-old classic and the closest to Athens (about 20 minutes), Ta Vrahia tis Peiraikis (Akti Themistokleous 300; 2104538461) in Piraeus is a cozy, island-inspired taverna right across the street from the sea. They cook up a range of fish dishes, from shrimp spaghetti to midopilafo (pilaf with mussles) to soupies krasati (cuttlefish with tomato sauce and wine). Visit in the evening and hang around for the beautiful sunset.
Stay tuned for more on dining, sights, and more to explore in Athens this summer!
(Image credits (clockwise): Shoreline at Avra by Argyris T – Foursquare user; table and boat on the beach at Aperanto Galazio by @aperanto.galazio.varkiza; Grilled Octopus at Ta Vrahia tis Peiraikis by @George – Foursquare user; Spaghetti with shellfish at Sardelaki me Thea by @sardelakimethea)