Cafe Avissinia

Price guide: Mid-range

Kinetou 7, Platia Avissinia, Athens, 10562

Price guide: Mid-range

Interior

By Rachel Howard, your Athens expert

I write for Conde Nast Traveller, .... Read more
#13 of 25
expert-rated restaurants in Athens
Expert overall rating:4.4 out of 5
Food and drink:
4
4.0
Ambience:
5
5.0
Service:
4.3
4.3
Location:
4.9
4.9
Value for money:
4.2
4.2
Recommended for:
Families with teenagers, Seasoned travellers, Singles, Live entertainment, People watching

Expert review of Cafe Avissinia

A bohemian institution in the heart of the flea market.

This is where I always take visitors from out of town for Sunday lunch. Katie Koufonikola’s shabby-chic bistro in Monastiraki flea market is like a movie set. With its multi-coloured walls and mismatched antiques, the décor is as eclectic as the menu. Artists, ambassadors and tourists all congregate here on weekend afternoons. The mood gets increasingly raucous as the live accordion and bouzouki pick up pace. It’s a scene straight out of a movie by Serb film maker Emir Kusturica.

Food and drink: 

Soul food, with influences from Asia Minor. Flavours are hearty and spicy: cumin sausages, mussel pilaf, pork with prunes. The menu hasn’t changed for years (it opened in 1986), but somehow this is part of the fuzzy feeling of familiarity.  Some of the fussier dishes are disappointing. The best policy is to share a selection of mezze along with a carafe (or more) of Cretan raki.

Recommended dishes: 

Stick to simple dishes like taramosalata (into which you must dip the chunky chips), ‘gardener’s salad’, grilled haloumi, and giant bifteki (meatballs) with red pepper relish. I always have the chocolate pot for desert.

Ambience: 

The vibe is Balkan bohemian. Floral wallpaper, mismatched antiques, and colourful floor tiles all appear to have been sourced from the surrounding flea market.

Service: 

Warm and welcoming, but rushed off their feet in the weekend crush. Although hugely popular, Café Avissinia still has the intimacy of a family-run restaurant.

Location: 

A (supposedly pedestrian) square bang in the centre of Monastiraki flea market. Mid-week, you’d barely notice the few tables squeezed between the antique dealers. But at weekends, the tables multiply alongside the hawkers’ piles of dusty porcelain.

Price advice: 

For people-watching and soaking up the scene, it has to be outside. The smaller upstairs room is quieter and you can see the Acropolis above the rooftops of Plaka.

More information on Cafe Avissinia:

Price guide:
Mid-range
Type:
Bistro, Restaurant
Food:
Greek, Middle Eastern
Address:
Kinetou 7, Platia Avissinia, Athens, 10562
Telephone:
+30 210 321 7047
Website:
http://www.avissinia.gr
Serves:
Lunch, Dinner
Opening times:
Tues-Sat 10:30am-1am, Sun 10:30am-7pm. Closed Mon.
Accepts Credit Cards:
Yes
Reservations:
Essential at peak times
Free tags / Keywords:
Live music at weekends, Local haunt

Have you been to Cafe Avissinia? Would you recommended it?