My New Favorite Girl, Willa Jean (New Orleans)

A whole lot has changed since we moved away from New Orleans in 2012. New neighborhoods are popping up all over the city along with so many new businesses. It makes my heart smile to see the city doing so well and my stomach even happier to experience so many new restaurant openings. One of the ‘newer’ places that have recently opened that I am just in love with is John Besh’s Willa Jean in the CBD. It is the mastermind of BRG Executive Pastry Chef Kelly Fields and Pastry Chef Lisa White (of Domenica and PIZZA Domenica)  which is named after Fields’ grandmother.

I love the space which is designed by Curtis Herring. It adds a modern and elegant touch to iconic southern food. Brick walls, Edison bulbs and the restaurant’s “Uneeda Biscuit” mural add a stylish touch to traditional southern classics.

The bakery serves breakfast, lunch and dinner, allowing the two chefs to show off their savory sides. The lunch and dinner menus are organized by “snacks,” “tartines/sandwiches,” “salads and soups,” “hot plates,” and “extra stuff,”. The Intelligentsia Coffee program is delicious but  Willa Jean also serves boozy slushies as well as tea- and coffee-inspired craft cocktails.

If you need to find me on any given morning in New Orleans, chances are I’ll be here sipping on my coffee and enjoying the space.

Open Sunday through Thursday- 7am-9pm; Friday and Saturday- 7am to 10pm

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Addicted to Fried Chicken since 2010- Rusted Rooster (Lafayette, LA)

There is something about fried chicken and biscuits that has me completely hooked. Growing up in Canada I never had fried chicken (unless you count KFC) but moving to the south opened up a whole new culinary door for me. From fried chicken,gravy and biscuits to the more traditional cajun dishes such as gumbo and red beans and rice, let’s just say I’m hooked. I recently discovered the Rusted Rooster, a small non-pretentious diner style joint on Saint Landry street in downtown Lafayette. Seems like the secret is already out and I’m the last to know as there is quite a wait for lunch and breakfast. Their fried chicken is out-of-this-world delicious as is their selection of burgers, sandwiches and breakfast staples. Their morning hash brown has me craving on a weekly basis. For those seeking a healthier alternative to fried goodness, fear not, as you can order everything grilled.

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Rusted Rooster
105 St. Landry St.
Lafayette, LA 70506
(337) 534-4135

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Dark Roux (Lafayette, LA)

We were so excited to try out the newly renovated Dark Roux (formerly Brick and Spoon) in Lafayette. Everything from the fresh decor, to the food, drinks and service was perfect. The food is farm to table, focusing on local produce and ingredients and the menu is a perfect blend of traditional cajun with a modern twist.

image_6imageimage_1We started our meal off with a bag of beignets which were like no other beignets I’ve had in Louisiana- round and fluffy with a hollow inside. image_2

For our main dishes, we ordered the chicken biscuits and traditional benny.  The chicken biscuits was a serving of perfectly tender and surprisingly flavorful fried chicken topped with a sunny side up egg and white gravy on two biscuits. It was so delicious I was almost tempted to order a second order. image_3The traditional benny consisted of fluffy buttermilk biscuits, a delicious house cured ham, collard greens, poached eggs and hollandaise sauce. The Count ate it up in seconds but was left hungry for more as it does not come with any sides. Advice to the hungry ones, order some sides! image_5Both the Count and I were very impressed with the food at Dark Roux. The prices are a tad bit higher than your average breakfast/brunch spot in Lafayette but I can only assume that is because of the use of local and fresh ingredients. Either way, we will definitely be going back. 
image_4Dark Roux on Urbanspoon

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A Foodie’s Guide to Vancouver (Canada)

Vancouver, British Columbia…the most beautiful place on earth. At least that is what the license plate claims. But really, it is! I may be biased since I am from Vancouver and spent the majority of my life there before moving south of the border. And while the natural beauty, scenery and wildlife may take your breathe away, Vancouver has even more to offer. The diverse mix of immigrants that now inhabit Vancouver has brought with it some of the best restaurants and food in North America.  Here is my list of go-to spots in Vancouver that I never fail to visit when I am in town. I would love to hear what your favorites are in the comments below so that I can consider them on my next trip home and add it to my list!



From the same owners as Chambar, Medina serves Belgian-Moroccon cuisine. Lines up go around the block and can take hours but once inside the food will make you forget that you waited for so long. Don’t miss out on the classic belgian waffles and the lavender lattes. Twisted Fork serves some of the yummiest brunch in town. I always go for the banana stuffed french toast which is an unforgettable experience in decadence.

Or choose to spend the morning in Stanley Park, the sprawling urban oasis of greenery and water that is the West Coast’s rival to Central Park. Begin at the Teahouse in Stanley Park, a well-known brunch spot, both for its location and Canadian Northwest twists on some classic breakfast items. Ask for a table by the window to look out over English Bay and West Vancouver. Don’t miss the smoked salmon Benedict, which comes with local sockeye salmon. (7501 Stanley Park Drive;


It is not a surprise that really good chinese food can be found in Chinatown and while there are really authentic spots where you must visit with a mandarin/cantonese speaking friend (for which I’m lucky to have one) there are other more modern restaurants that have started popping up in this up and coming hip neighborhood. Bao Bei is a really hip/hipster restaurant that has really good chinese food with a twist. Phnom Penh is another favorite located in Chinatown. And while the name might suggest the food is a mix between Cambodian, Vietnamese and Chinese.  It offers some favorite classics like the chicken wings.

Dim Sum:

For one of the most genuine Asian cultural and culinary experiences in North America, go to the Aberdeen Center for dim sum at Fisherman’s Terrace (3580-4151 Hazelbridge Way, Richmond). This sprawling Asian shopping center has an entire store dedicated to Hello Kitty merchandise, a Korean barbecue and a pan-Asian supermarket, among other treasures. Many options are also available downtown in Chinatown. The Jade Dynasty Restaurant (137 Pender Street) offers good-value dim sum, or just wander along the road and choose one of the many restaurants that takes your fancy. 


My favorites include Chambar (562 Beatty Street) is a sophisticated, funky restaurant serving innovative Belgium, French and Moroccan food using regional ingredientsLes Faux Bourgeois  is a french bistro located in Mount Pleasant. If you want to feel a little bit of France and have authentic French food then make the trip out of downtown to Mount Pleasant. Wait times are long but it is definitely worth it. Another French favorite located downtown is La Brasserie located in Davie Village.


There is a large Indian population in Vancouver which means one thing: really good and authentic Indian food. For the real deal you must head to Main street and Fraser street to ‘Little India’. Here you will find a vast number of Indian restaurants where cheap eats are a plenty. However, for a more upscale evening, head to one of my favorite restaurants in Vancouver: Vij’s (1480 W 11th Ave). Owners Vikram and wife Meeru pride themselves on quality Indian food in a beautiful setting. The restaurant is quite small and the wait time often is over 1-2 hours long. So be prepared to wait a while and get drunk in the process. My favorite item on the menu? The Lamb Popsicles!


An area in Vancouver that should be explored if you have time is Commercial street- Vancouver’s own version of Little Italy. Here you can find a range of great Italian food. Outside of the Commercial street area are a wide range of great choices including my favorites: Campagnolo and Campagnolo Roma. 

Italian Pizza options are also great in Vancouver including Nicli Antica Pizzeria in Gastown and Pizzeria Farina.


Starting off at the intersection of Denman street and Robson street is where the feast begins. For the best ramen downtown, I usually head to either Motomoki Shokudo (740 Denman Street) or it’s sister location, Kintaro Ramen.  Try the black bamboo charcoal ramen. It is quite possibly the best broth you’ll ever taste.

Further up on Robson street is another all-time favorite, Guu with Garlic, a Japanese Izakaya restaurant which opened its doors in the early 2000’s and quickly gained so much popularity that it now has multiple locations around Vancouver and Toronto. (Below is the grilled squid served with a side of Lemon and Japanese Mayonnaise).


For the best hand-made gyozas in town I always head to Gyoza King (1508 Robson Street), a small and cozy Japanese bistro where you can choose from a variety of gyozas and other Japanese favorites. My number one pick: the shrimp and chive gyozas with a bottle of unfiltered sake to wash it down.


Where to begin on this one? Sushi restaurants cover the streets of Vancouver just as frequently as Starbucks. Some authentic, fresh and delicious and others are just in the business to make money. Making the hunt for good sushi a fun challenge (although to be honest even the mediocre sushi bars in Vancouver are far better than most sushi I’ve tasted around the US)! For a healthy organic sushi meal I head over to the tiny little gem, Shizen ya, located on Hornby street directly across from the courthouse.  For a more upscale experience with unique takes on sushi, Miku (#70 – 200 Granville St) is the place to be. The sushi is amazing and takes on a form of art. If in Yaletown, Blue Water Cafe + Raw Bar (1095 Hamilton St) offers a vast range of fresh seafood, sushi and BC coastal fare. It is a classy affair and on the pricey end but if in Vancouver for a short time it should not be missed.


Finchs Tea and Coffee House (353 W. Pender Street) is a classic Gastown gem serving some of the best sandwiches in town. Favorites include the proscuitto, pear and baked blue brie cheese and walnut sandwich. Absolutely to die for! Hubbub is another favorite due to their oh so delicious bread. My all time favorite is the turkey sausage sandwich which I describe in great lengths in my post.



When in Vancouver, eat lots of seafood, the unrivaled local specialty.There are so many that I am going to list them here for you and let you pick your favorite:  Blue Water Cafe and Raw BarMiku, Rodney’s Oyster House and Go Fish Ocean Emporium (a food stand close to Granville Island).


 What are your favorite restaurants in Vancouver? Please add below in comment so that I can try it out next time I am in town! 


The Hungry Nomad

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Brunch at Estela- Nolita (NYC)

I don’t know how I learned about this restaurant but somehow I did and it made my list of new place to try in New York. Estela is located on an lonely strip of East Houston bordering Nolita. It is a beverage-driven restaurant from former Blue Hill at Stone Barns beverage director Thomas Carter and James Beard Award-nominated chef Ignacio Mattos.  The walk- up bar-restaurant’s decor seems typical of what I’ve seen multiply not only around New York but around the country: exposed brick, wood floors and marble bar and wood tables. It’s sleek and sophisticated.

DSC_0266 The brunch menu was limited with only a handful of plates to choose from. I would encourage sharing plates as you won’t fill up on one. It is definitely not meant for those of us with healthy appetites.



First up was the Endive with walnuts, anchovy, and ubriaco rosso ($14). A small plate of fresh and crispy endives laying on top of a bed of walnuts, anchovies and ubriaco rosso cheese (italian for drunken sunset). The mix of flavors and textures was perfect and left me wanting more.

DSC_0271 Next came the Burrata with salsa verde and charred bread ($15), a serving of rich and creamy bur rata cheese on top of charred bed in a bed of tangy salsa verde. Verdict: amazing, unique and delicious.

DSC_0272 The Cod with peas, spigarello, and aïoli ($24) was a healthy, flavorful and unique.

DSC_0274However, my favorite was the Celery with grapefruit, pecorino, and hazelnuts ($12) dish. It was such a different mix of ingredients and flavors yet so simple.  The flavors and textures complimented each other in the best way possible. So good indeed that later on in the week I attempted to re-create the dish at home (didn’t turn out quite the same).


The avocado, pancetta, and egg on Danish pastry ($14) was good but didn’t warrant the $14 price tag.

DSC_0277Overall, our experience at Estela was pretty fabulous. I would definitely return to try their small plate style dinner and drinks. For brunch however, I prefer something a bit more filling and hearty.

Estela on Urbanspoon


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Brunch at Jack’s Wife Freda-Soho (NYC)

The name is catchy, the place is always packed and everyone raves about it. Of course I had to check it out.  Jack’s Wife Freda is a new-ish addition to the Soho neighborhood where husband and wife bring together their experience and backgrounds to create a new and unique menu and flavors. Dean is from South Africa and Maya is from Israel which makes complete sense with one glance at the menu.

DSC_0216Arriving early on a Saturday there were only a few tables left and we were seated outside. The menu/placemat was simple with limited options. Two dishes were ordered: the Mediterranean breakfast and the Rosewater waffles.


The poached eggs came with a side of sliced avocados, labne, pita and salad which resembled and tasted identical to the traditional persian salad (salad shirazi) consisting of chopped cucumbers, tomatoes and onions. It was healthy, fresh and satisfying. DSC_0222

I had really high expectations for the rosewater waffles being from a country where rosewater originated and is used liberally on many sweet dishes. This waffle barely tasted like rosewater and was really not that special. There was nothing that made it stand out from any other restaurant waffle except the use of yogurt as opposed to whipping cream. DSC_0220

Based on the two dishes we tried, we both agreed that there was too much hype around this place. Yes the name is catchy, the location is cool and the clientele is young and stylish, but there was nothing about the food itself that stood out. So if its ambiance you are after then sure this is the place for it, but if you just want really good food there are plenty of options in the neighborhood with less of a line up.
DSC_0219 DSC_0218  Jack's Wife Freda on Urbanspoon

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Breakfast at Tartine- Audubon Park (New Orleans)

Deep inside the green and lush neighborhood of Audubon Park lies a tiny little restaurant which locals flock to: Tartine. It’s a place where quality, substance and good wholesome cooking are the main ingredients to success. Ever since discovering this gem a few months ago we have been back every time we visit New Orleans (which tends to be a lot since we lack good food in Lafayette).


Tartine serves delicious home made breads and sweets, sandwiches, salads and of course tartines. In France, a tartine is a piece of toasted bread smothered with different ingredients. Simple but so satisfying.


Simplicity and freshness is what makes Tartine so special. For example, the baguette served with a side of strawberry jam, butter and a big slice of brie cheese is one of the most amazing things I’ve tasted. The Croque Madame was large and very filling and did not fail to impress our guest.


The salmon tartine is the Count’s favorite, featuring generous amounts of salmon, eggs, capers and what I believe to be pickled cabbage. We always order an extra loaf of bread because once you start eating you just can’t get enough.


The salads and sandwiches are also to die for. On our last trip, one of the chefs was busy grilling flank steak covered in chimichurri sauce for their special of the day, steak salad and steak sandwich.



Tartine on Urbanspoon

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The French Press (Lafayette, LA)

Our latest move has brought us down to the heart of Louisiana: Lafayette. And after two months of settling in I am finally discovering the food scene. Of course, it is not Philadelphia, New York or New Orleans which makes the Hungry Nomad very hungry and in constant search of good food. That is how I was led to the French Press which in my mind is the greatest thing to hit this town. Innovative meals and funky spaces are a rarity in this part of the country and I long for my days spent dining in Philly and New York. But walking into the French Press I felt like I was right back in the city.

1-image_2 Owners Justin and Margaret Girouard have created a funky space where local hipsters and hungry diners blend in perfect harmony. The restaurant features many of its original pieces left behind from its original tenants.  High ceilings, peeling paint, exposed brick  and concrete floors give it a certain old time charm. But what makes this place filled with hungry diners and a line up out the door is the fantastic and innovative food.


Chef Justin Girouard has created an award-worthy menu consisting of creative dishes which will certainly leave you wanting more (see menu). Our brunch started off with a perfect bloody mary topped off with pickled okras, spicy beans and olives. And while it did take a good 15-20 minutes for our drinks to come out it was well worth the wait. Ironically, it was the french press coffee which took longer than anything to make it to our table. 3-image_7

The cajun benedict was the highlight, a perfectly plated eggs benedict topped with the house gumbo. What an amazing dish. I polished my plate clean and as a result will be going back just for my weekly intake of this wonderful concoction.

4-image_9 5-image_12Our table also ordered the stuffed french toast for dessert. It was bursting with a soft creamy cream cheese topped with a berry-champagne compote. Another to die for dish!


The verdict of our first brunch at the French Press? Best brunch spot in Louisiana. If you are planning a trip through Louisiana, the French Press is an absolute must.


The French Press on Urbanspoon

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Brunch at Café La Maude (Philadelphia, PA)

This past Sunday, a friend and I decided to get brunch at Café La Maude. I hadn’t heard of it before, but when I learned that it was a French-Lebanese fusion restaurant, I was definitely intrigued. I resisted looking at the menu beforehand though, so I could be surprised about how they achieved this combination.


We ended up stopping in around noon, and while it was busy, we were seated almost immediately.This café in Northern Liberties has a distinctly French feel to it, but the brunch menu includes options for both French and Mediterranean food lovers. Although it took a few minutes for the waitress to get our orders, water was promptly brought to our table, and when our waitress did arrive, we received apologies for the delay.


After ordering a latte that was offered with either one or two shots, we decided to try out two dishes that morning, the Eggs Benedict and the Croque Vert. My Eggs Benedict were some of the best I’ve had in ages. The eggs were poached perfectly as they were firmer on the outside and runny on the inside. Besides the eggs, the other elements of this meal were spot on.


These eggs came with a choice of two options, you could either get a more traditional dish with Canadian bacon and brie, or you could get your eggs with smoked salmon and cream cheese. I opted for the latter, and while the cream cheese added an extra richness to the dish, the salmon is what really took it to the next level. The smoked salmon created deeper, smokier flavors than what the Canadian bacon usually adds to the meal. I found myself wishing I could order a second helping once I was done.


My meal also came with a simple petite salad, fruit, and a potato croquet. The fruits and vegetables were crisp and tasted like they were picked at the height of the season. Although I didn’t think there was anything spectacular about the croquet on my plate, it was the only thing I could complain about, and I would say  these Eggs Benedict are something I would gladly get again.


The Croque Vert was also fantastic, and great for anyone who enjoys the sweet and savory combination. Coming on a French Toast bun, this dish is topped with two poached eggs, zucchini, avocado, tomato, and spinach. Although all of these flavors all work well with each other, the best part for me was the béchamel sauce that topped it. The sauce was phenomenal and managed to bring all of the elements of the dish together.


Overall, this was a flavorful meal with really fresh ingredients. If it had been appropriate to do so, I probably would have licked my plate. In addition to the phenomenal food, the waitstaff was friendly, which makes any meal better in my opinion. My friend was so pleased with here meal, she decided to take home some of the macarons they had. She only got two, but her options included vanilla, coffee, and lemon flavored treats!


Even though I have had great brunches at places like Parc and Le Pain Quotidien, I will say that the brunch offered here is fun, delicious, and something I will be thinking about for a long time to come. If you’re looking for a new brunch option in Philly, I wouldn’t recommend any place more highly than Café La Maude.


Café La Maude on Urbanspoon

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The Hungry Nomad’s Guide to Athens | Greece


After living in hot and lively Athens on and off for almost four years, I’m now on to new adventures. About high time for a small, and very personal, guide to my favorites in the city! Also, just in time for Tala’s visit and I can’t wait to see how she will experience the city and what she will add to this list.

I absolutely loved living in Athens, it’s such a bubbly, messy and creative city. Times have changed though in the last years and I’m so happy that the owners of my favorite places are still going strong. If I would have to say why I would recommend most of the places below, it’s because they are lovely people (do take your time to chat with people here), they promote either local produce or local design, and usually give a modern twist to Greek tradition which I thoroughly believe in and, not unimportant, enjoy immensely. Most are located in amazing central spots, aren’t ‘touristy’ and simply serve great stuff. All of these are based in or very close to the centre (no suburb recommendations, sorry!). Thus, easy to find if you’re in town only for a couple of days or great to frequent if you’re staying here for a longer time, as I have done. Do wander the backstreets of Athens, you’ll surely find many more hidden gems.

I hope this guide will help you explore and love this city with all its contradictions as much as I do.

Acropolis & around

Filistron | Restaurant

Apostolou Pavlou 23 (in between Acropolis & Thissio Metro stations)

Close to one of the oldest open-air cinemas in the centre of Athens, an upscale tavern with great versions of traditional Greek food (pictured is the delicious Greek bottarga with dried figs & cream cheese), good wine list and the absolute best view of the city. Do make a reservation for the roof terrace (not open in winter), it’s one of the few places in Athens that needs one. Open for dinner only.




Fabrika Arts & Crafts/PSIT Jewelry/Sous-Sol Furniture & Lightning | Shops

Veikou street 9/6 (Acropolis Metro station)

Our little neighborhood behind the Acropolis is up and coming. More and more little independent shops have opened, offering you great hand-crafted alternatives for the traditional souvenirs. If you’re lucky, you’ll stumble upon one of their street parties!




Gelatopoli | Ice Cream & Coffee

Dionysiou Areopagitou 8 (Acropolis Metro station)

Close the new Acropolis Museum (which I believe we will continue to lovingly call the ‘new’ museum forever), simply sweet ice cream and delicious fair-trade freddo cappuccinos that are very reasonably priced for this area. Do try iced coffees if you’re in town during the summer. The Greek generally prefer ‘frappes’ made with nescafe, but I personally like either iced espresso or cappuccino. When you order, add whether you want it sweet, semi-sweet or without sugar and you’ll be sipping your favorite cold coffee in no time.



Makriyianni 3| Coffee Shop & Sandwiches

Makriyianni 3 (Acropolis Metro station)

Click on the link to check out an earlier post I wrote about our favorite neighborhood cafe. In the past years it has been surrounded by new cafes and bistros, but we still return to this lovely shop.

Fresko | Dessert

Dionysiou Areopagitou 3 (Acropolis Metro station)

With frozen yoghurt being the hype for a couple of years now (and being mainly very disappointing), Fresko serves actual Greek yoghurt with your choice of traditional Greek spoon sweets. Do ask to sample all their different yoghurts, you’ll be surprised by the flavors.


O Takis | Bakery & Sandwiches

Misaralioutou 14 (Acropolis Metro station)

Known by virtually everyone in the center of the city, Takis is hands down the best bakery in town. A family store for generations, they serve absolutely amazing traditional fare such as cheese pies, koulouria and little bread rolls with olives and feta, but also delicious carrot cakes, rye bread, sandwiches with grilled veggies and fresh croissants oozing with chocolate. Go early in the morning before it’s all gone! Usually closed for holidays a few weeks in August.



Monasteraki & Plaka

TAF (The Art Foundation)| Art & Coffee/Drinks

Normanou 5 (Monasteraki Metro station)

The door always seems closed, but push it open and you’ll find yourself in a lovely courtyard surrounded by tiny traditional houses filled with ever changing art exhibitions. During the day it’s a cool hang-out for a coffee, at night delicious cocktails and good music.

Six D.O.G.S | Art & Coffee/Drinks

Avramiotou 6-8 (Monasteraki Metro station)

The bars are a bit too hip to my taste but walk down the steps through the tiny tunnel and you’ll find their garden, to me one of the nicest surprises in town. They serve just about anything: coffee & snacks (mediocre), organic wines and cocktails. One of the coolest places in summer during the day and with all the lights on in the trees at night. Click here to check out an earlier post I wrote about Six D.O.G.S.

Ice Scream | Ice Cream & Coffee

Pandrosou Street 19 (Monasteraki Metro Station)

Conveniently at the edge of the neigborhoods of Plaka & Monasteraki and close to the main shopping street Ermou, Ice Scream easily serves the prettiest (and perhaps tastiest) ice cream in town. They also serve milkshakes (hard to find in Athens) and my favorite frothy freddo cappuccino.



Yiasemi | All-round Cafe (coffee, dessert, drinks)

Mnisikleous 23 (Monasteraki Metro station)

Smack in the middle of the beautiful old neighborhood of Plaka, this seems the only cafe not catering towards tourists. Lovely people, home-made pies which you can pick out from a huge table (savory and sweet, all delicious!) and a few small dishes (the garlic and butter-filled mushrooms are my favorite). Great to have a break while showing your friends around the old town. In the summer sit at the lovely steps, in winter sit next to their fire place with some rakomelo. Click here to see an earlier review.


Hellenic Art & Design| Shop

Herefondos 10 (Acropolis or Monasteraki Metro station)

Tiny store selling beautiful and funny modern arts and crafts from Greek designers (including from the people at Greece is for Lovers and Paper Kingdom). The lovely owner loves a chat and tell you all about her wares.



Syntagma & around

Oinoscent | Wine Bar & Shop

Voulis 44A in between Syntagma and Plaka (Syntagma Metro station)

Awesome wine bar and shop. I love these guys (we got engaged here so I might be partial) and ordered lots of really good Greek prosecco from them for our wedding. Knowledgeable about wines, serving delicious ones from all over Greece and abroad, wonderfully paired with their plates of cheeses & cold cuts. Take your favorite bottle with you from their shop or get it delivered.


Ippolito | Shop

Voulis 38 (Syntagma Metro station)

If you’re looking for a unique bag or clutch to take home with you, this is the place. Gorgeous Pavlina designs beautiful, elegant and quirky leather bags in small quantities, accompanied by her adorable Geppetto (look at him striking a pose in the picture below! His dog collar is also by Ippolito).




Filema | Tavern

Romvis 16 (Syntagma Metro Station)

Our favorite laid-back tavern and the one I’ve visited most of all restaurants in town and the one I request to go to every time I come back from abroad. Real central Athenian vibe (a bit gritty and extremely likable at the same time) just behind the bustle of Ermou street. In the summer you sit at the side of this little street. Service is personal and informal, food is simple, fresh and of great quality. You will find all your Greek favorites here from beef burgers and tzatziki to fried anchovies and Greek salad. Check out this post for pictures.

Korres| Shop

Ermou street (Syntagma Metro Station)

The beauty products of Korres are sold in all pharmacies throughout Greece (and are also popular abroad), but since the beginning of this year Korres also has its very own store at the start of the main shopping street of Ermou. Natural products that smell delicious (such as Vanilla Cinnamon and Bergamot Pear shower gels) with great design. I’ve been a loyal fan ever since I  first came to Greece seven years ago.



Mama Roux | All-round Cafe (coffee, lunch, drinks)

Aiolou Street 48, near Kolokotroni Street (Monasteraki or Syntagma Metro Station)

Mama Roux is one of Athens’ internationally oriented places serving American pancakes for Sunday brunch (brunch! Impossible to find elsewhere in town), falafel for lunch and cocktails & music for your night out. I’ve tasted just about everything on the menu and find it all delicious. Great, relaxed vibe. Check ahead if you’re coming this August, they’re closed part of the month.



Heteroclito | Wine Bar

Fokionis 2 (Syntagma Metro station)

Just off Ermou street, this new and hip wine bar also serves other hard-to-source local drinks such as specialty beer from the island of Zakynthos (which even my Zakynthian husband had never even heard of and absolutely loved). Great fresh snacks too.



Cantina Social |Bar

Leokoriou Street 8 (Thissio or Monasteraki Metro Station)

Hidden at the end of a little stoa, this bar has a great garden with videos playing on the huge wall that surrounds it. Also serves coffee. Good music, cocktails and relaxed crowd. Visit after having taken a stroll throughout the neighborhood of Psyrri during the day when it is quiet and serene before the party-goers arrive.


Bios Terrace & Elvis Souvlaki | Bar & Mid-night Souvlaki

Peireos 84 & Plataion 29/Leonidou (Kerameikos or Thissio Metro Station)

Excuse the photographs, but I really wanted to add these two to my list of go-to places. During the summer the Bios terrace is open with an absolutely amazing view of the Acropolis (for the surprise factor I didn’t add that specific picture, ha!). Just turn into the side street when  you reach Peireos 84 and go up the stairs. When you’re done sipping your drink, meeting some nice new friends and staring at the view (they have one of those old-school coin-operated binoculars) you can head into the gritty neighborhood towards Elvis and get the traditional late-night snack of Greece: souvlaki. Great night out.



Last thoughts

There is so much more to see and to eat than what I’ve mentioned above.

  • Go take a walk up Filopappou hill at dusk to get an awe-inspiring view of the city and the sea.
  • Go visit the Acropolis museum (gorgeous! the light! nice restaurant too) and Benaki museum (roof terrace, beautiful building!).
  • I would definitely recommend visiting the neighborhood of Exarcheia (originally the anarchist area of town) where there are great bars and taverns to be found and to understand the versatility of this city.
  • Also the residential area of Petralona is worth a visit food-wise. A favorite among all my friends there is the French bistro Chez Lucien where you can practice your French with the patrons and imagine you’re in Paris for a little while.
  • Look around you at all the great street art: stencils, graffiti and stickers.

Lastly, if you don’t have the time to go explore on your own or simply want to see Athens like an insider, check out Alternative Tours of Athens. I’ve been on one of their free tours (great concept) focusing on new designers and I loved it!


p.s. A little warning to prevent disappointments: most Greeks go on holidays during August and some shops might be closed if you visit during this month. Check ahead, I added links whenever available.

p.p.s Athens sadly is not the best European city to visit if you have a mobility impairment. However, the areas around the Acropolis (including the museum and the pedestrian street of Dionysiou Areopagitou), Monasteraki and the main streets of Plaka are doable. Plus, in general people are extremely helpful if you need a hand.

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