Athens, a sublimely confounding city, is notable for its unexpected contrasts. The bohemian anarchy of the Exarcheia neighborhood parallel lies to the chic and upscale Kolonaki quarter, whose name means The Little Column. Kolonaki is well known for its high-end boutiques and foreign embassies and also for being a hub of gastronomic excellence that attracts a foodie audience both local and international.

These striking contrasts are reflected in our list of must-go restaurants, spanning everything from highbrow formality to the genuinely unpretentious. Caution: Reading this article may cause severe food envy.

Stinking Bishop

This gastronomic bistro lies in the heart of Kolonaki featuring a laid-back atmosphere; if the weather allows it, make sure to dine al fresco in the garden.

Including both, a varied and exciting menu, spanning everything from creamy burrata to our must-try recommendation, the beetroot risotto with goat cheese. If you haven’t been there yet, we’re certain it will fast become your favorite address in town.

Stinking Bishop, 36 Loukianou, Athens, Greece +30 21 3026 3656

Simul

Simul focuses on an “in situ”concept, prioritizing cooking with seasonal ingredients only. The fruits of Chef Nikos Thomas’ highly experimental kitchen labors yield innovative dishes that are both tasty without being overwrought. Even though it has a few excellent vegetarian options, it is famous for the outstanding tartare with a pinch of wasabi. Get ready to spam your Instagram feed with mouth-watering food porn.

Simul, 63 Ipsiladou, Athens, Greece +(30) 210 722 4737

Cycladic Café

Housed in the Museum of Cycladic Art, it is a minimalist retreat far from the hustle and bustle of the center of Athens.

It is open for breakfast, lunch, and weekend brunch and has a simple yet exquisite seasonal menu with authentic aromas of the Cyclades. The soup of the day is a must-try not to mention the organic quinoa and smoked salmon salad for starters. Then we suggest you to have a go at the grilled cod fillet and the bulgur salad. For meat lovers, we recommend the veal souvlaki with fried potatoes from Naxos. Divine.

Cycladic Café, Neofitou Douka 4, Athens, Greece + (30) 210 722 8321

Dexameni Restaurant

Located in a square having the same name, Dexameni is an outstanding all-in-one ouzeri/restaurant/café that enjoys an excellent location in the heights of Kolonaki.

It’s simple mezze menu features options like grilled halloumi, octopus in vinegar, lentil salad when prices are very decent, making it a great alternative to other restaurants in the area. In addition to dining, it’s also a great place for some coffee outdoors or an afternoon cocktail in the shade of the trees.

Plateia Dexamenis (Dexameni Square), Athens +30 210 362 3942

Capanna

Capanna is a tiny pizzeria and trattoria will make you say mamma mia! The winning combination for Capanna’s success is fresh pasta and original Italian ingredients.

Must-tries include the namesake specialty, the “pizza Capanna”, as well as the Tartufo Bianco pizza. Make sure to book in advance to secure a table.

Capanna, Ploutarchou 38 & Charitos 42, Athens, Greece +(30) 210 724 1777

Chez Michel

This cute French-inspired bistro may be small but delivers big on flavor.

Perfect for all-day coffee or a light lunch, Chez Michel also offers a few more robust dishes; we’re particularly fond of the penne and prosciutto and the pappardelle with salmon and broccoli. Chez Michel is also an ideal place for after-work drinks, with an extensive wine list and a few aperitif options such as the infamous Italian Negroni.

Chez Michel, Irodotou 15, Athens, Greece (+30) 215 551 0090

Cinco

This convivial spot mixes the Japanese, Spanish and Peruvian cuisines with a creative tapas twist.

If you think portions are small; these diminutive plates pack a highly flavourful punch. But there’s even more: Cinco also serves excellent and innovative cocktails like the Japanese Manhattan or the Chilcano de Pisco.

Cinco, Skoufa 52, Athens, Greece (+30) 210 364 3603

F+W BY OLIVIER CAMPANHA

If you want to spoil yourself, then head straight to F+W. Short for the simple name of Food and Wine.

This gastronomic champion is the brainchild of French chef Olivier Campanha, who excels at creating fusion dishes by pairing unexpected flavor combinations with a pure French spin. With a menu changing four times per year, F+W only features seasonal produce and high-quality ingredients. Bonus point: the wine list is a real masterpiece. So go ahead, enjoy the evening; don’t look twice at the bill. You won’t regret it.

F+W, Xenokratous 49, Athens, Greece (+30) 210 721 1146