Athens has tons of options for eating vegetarian and gluten-free and even though there are also lots of yummy traditional Greek dishes that you won’t be able to sample, you can still grab the inspiration and then go home and re-create the dishes a-la-vegetariana and gluten free!
If you’re not gluten free Greek food has loads of delicious-looking pastries and pies but to be honest I don’t mind giving them a miss because I’m so used to it. But if you can eat gluten, you must try the Spanakopita, a Greek spinach pie because it looks so delicious!
Places to Eat in Athens
Head for one of the best-known vegetarian and vegan cafés where you can spend the first hour just reading the menu it’s so varied and tempting!
Location: Nikis 30, Athina 105 57, Greece
Cuisine: healthy, natural, yummy food. Vegetarian, Vegan and plenty of Gluten Free options.
Ambiance: great atmosphere, small cafe-type dining.
I loved Avocado because of the variety on the menu and the originality of the food, plus the taste of course. The service was great and friendly too.
I would have loved to order several dishes instead of just one big one, but all the dishes are huge. You’d need to have a pretty big appetite to eat the delicious-looking pumpkin soup followed by any of the large main courses. So either order to share or go with a big appetite!
I would definitely recommend lunching at Avocado while in Athens.
Four Seasons Bio Shop
By the way, next to Avocado there’s a great health food supermarket where you can pick up everything you need vegan, vegetarian, organic and gluten free.
It’s called Four Seasons Bio Shop and the address is the same as Avocado: Nikis 30, Athina 105 57, Greece
The Plaka Neighbourhood
Not to be missed is the Plaka neighbourhood: narrow streets with traditional Tavernas and the famous Plaka steps which run steeply up between the restaurants and are also used as a seating area for the bars. The atmosphere in Plaka is vibrant, a great place to spend the evening.
We visited two great Tabernas on the steps which were perfect for sitting and watching the world go by with a glass of traditional Greek wine, but when we ordered some tapas it wasn’t tasty so we decided to move on to the neighbouring restaurant at the top of the steps.
Location: 27 Minissikleous, Athens 105 56, (Top of the steps of Plaka)
Cuisine: traditional Greek
Ambiance: Family run taberna with really friendly service and live music if you sit in the restaurant on the left – there are two separate parts to this restaurant.
Comments: I loved this place. The service was friendly and personal and they took great care to go through my gluten-free vegetarian options with me.
In the end we ordered:
Greek salad: a well known favourite that everyone knows. I think the Feta cheese is tastier than what we get away from Greece.
Fava: traditional Greek dish made from split peas. (Yes, funnily enough it isn’t made from the Fava bean!) Fava is similar to hummus but much lighter and is served warm with a sprinkling of onion on top. Traditionally eaten with bread but I enjoyed it just as much on its own. Definitely worth trying and also making at home!
Grilled Feta: Feta cheese in a small silver-foil dish, melted under the grill. Delicious and quite different to raw Feta.
Horta: This was my absolute favourite – a dish of the green vegetable ‘Horta’ with a slice of lemon to squeeze on top. Horta’s a bit bitter, but in a delicious way!
The house white wine in Greece is dry and drinkable (in smallish quantities). Or order the semi-sweet red, a typical Greek red wine that is actually sweet and yummmm!
After we had finished they surprised us with an invitation drink of hot wine with honey – on the house.
What to do in Athens? Walk up to the Acropolis!
And remember, if you don’t want to spend the 20€ (at the time of my visit) for the entrance fee, wait until the first Sunday of the month because then it’s FREE entrance!
It’s a great walk up to the top and once you get up to the Acropolis, the views of Athens are spectacular as the city runs 360º round the base of the Acropolis and you get to see the expanse of the city.
Visit the Beautiful Beaches
Get a metro or bus to Glyfada which is about 30 minutes from central Athens and is on the beach. There you can sit in one of the beach bars and look out over the spectacularly blue Mediterranean sea.
The beach bars are seasonal so if you go in the winter expect to find them closed. But it’s still worth a visit and there are plenty of restaurants in the centre of Glyfada that are open all year round.
We went to Zahoulis in the centre of Glyfada where you can get some gluten-free fries amongst other things. Be sure to ask about the chips to make sure nothing’s changed but when I was there they had a deep-fryer just for potatoes.
I ordered the chips and the grilled Haloumi cheese with green peppers which was delicious but could do with more pepper!
My daughter ordered a vegetarian burger in naan bread, obviously not gluten-free but worth knowing about if you’re travelling with gluten eating vegetarians because it wasn’t on the menu. Most Gyros restaurants do offer a vegetarian option.
Address: Geor. Kondili 7, Glifada 166 75, Greece
Cuisine: Gyros (like a kebab) and other traditional Greek dishes
Ambiance: Great ambiance as long as it isn’t full, in which case I think it would be too crowded with the tables so close together.
Comments: the chips were especially tasty, thin slices of real, yummy potato. The service was friendly and fast.
So, if you’re visiting Greece as a gluten-free vegetarian, don’t worry, there are plenty of delicious things to eat within the traditional Greek food.