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.
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.
The vibe is Balkan bohemian. Floral wallpaper, mismatched antiques, and colourful floor tiles all appear to have been sourced from the surrounding flea market.
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.
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.
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.
- Families with teenagers
- Seasoned travellers
- Live entertainment
- People watching