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Less is more ... rather than overwhelming you with volumes of travel tips, here is a specific list of exclusive recommendations with Mr & Mrs Crystal's stamp of approval.

restaurants

48 The Restaurant

Outstandingly innovative cuisine is served by the adventurous Athenian chef at Forty Eight. The package is completed with a smashing interior blend of translucent floors and high French windows opening to a small patio with a pool and courtyard tables in the summer months. Try the tasting menu on coloured plates for great value and a ubiquitous taste of Greek flavours – new-age style with a definite visual appeal.

 View Map ... 48 Armatolon & Klefton, Ambelokipi, Athens, Greece
Balthazar

The proverb “don’t judge a book by its cover” doesn’t apply to Balthazar – this opulent restaurant sits comfortably within an impressive aristocratic and luxurious mansion. Once inside, the flirtatious waitresses will show you to what may be the hippest table in Athens. You will feel like a VIP as you sashay from the sumptuous courtyard to the lavish dining room and on to the lounge bar. Excellent contemporary Greek food is served in the dining space adjoining the bar which is a vibrant area, and also in the separate dining room which has more of a romantic flair.

 View Map ... Tsoha 27, at Soutsou, Ambelokipi, Athens, Greece
Mamacas

Unlike the latest wave of contemporary Greek fusion food, whitewashed Mamacas has been mixing its modern blender for over 10 years. The result is a classic taverna serving neo-traditional Greek food with obvious influences from mama’s kitchen. The modern clientele provide a contemporary flavour to Mamacas (or “mums” in Greek) favouring the open air terrace for some lunch banter or a flirty after hours affair.

 Browse Website
 View Map ... Persefonis 41, Athens, Greece
Varoulko

Varoulko is one of the most famous restaurants in Athens and the proud owner of its Michelin star. Don’t expect a printed menu, but rather listen to the waiter’s dialogue of Varoulko’s creative seafood specialities, including arguably the best fish in Athens. If that does not appeal, give the maestro chef an idea of what you like and allow him to create your dish from his daily market pickings. The best time to visit is on warm evening when you can dine on the fifth floor, open air terrace with unobstructed views of the Acropolis.

 Browse Website
 View Map ... Piraeus 80, Athens, Greece

what we think

Since the homecoming of the Olympic flame in 2004, Athens’ social batteries have been recharged. Previously, visitors to this ancient city might only have stayed long enough to see the mighty Parthenon and enjoy some saganaki in the Plaka en route to Mykonos. However, Athens now boasts some of the hippest boutique hotels and its nightlife rivals some of the more well-known hotspots in the Greek Islands.