With ancient history scattered around every inch of the city, one would imagine Athens celebrates its old soul permanently. However, the modern-day zeitgeist of the town is remarkably different, basking in the glory of its imaginative and artistic disposition. Some of the best cafes in Athens reflect this contemporary outlook of the residents, breaking boundaries in design, ambiance, and food, happily integrating traditional Greek with the nonconventional for a unique culinary experience.
Address: Iraklidon 8, Athina 118 51
Located south of Monastiraki, The Underdog is a contemporary coffee bar headed by multi-award winners of top coffee championships like Hellenic Latte Art, World Barista, and World Coffee in Good Spirits.
With such accolades under its wing, The Underdog strives to not only serve the best coffee available but also share its professional brewing techniques via The Coffee Skills Program.
Set inside a spacious city villa, its bare-shell, industrial-like interiors accentuated by flashes of color add character to the space. By the front, there’s a long coffee bar with stools where guests can watch the baristas work. The downstairs shaded patio has several charging plugs and is a much quieter space, ideal for remote work.
The Underdog serves brunch every day from 9 AM to 6 PM. The doodled menu looks visually appealing and includes options like yogurt porridge, fried eggs, pancakes, and avocado BLT.
The establishment uses a Giesen roaster and serves a wide range of espresso, filter coffee, handcrafted beers, and coffee cocktails. Customers can also buy coffee, espresso machines, and brand merch at the cafe’s retail corner.
Address: Avramiotou 6-8, Athina 105 51
Emerging as the cultural center of Athens, Six d.o.g.s is an amalgamation of cross-genre venues. Whether you want to spend quality time with friends in a laid-back environment or dance the night away at an EDM concert, the place offers something for everyone.
There’s a separate gig space with a broody atmosphere and neon lighting for DJ nights, parties, seminars, comedy shows, and other events.
Six DOGS also has a secret step garden that opens during summer. Each level has multiple wooden counters, chairs, and community benches to sit on. Instead of a tiled floor, loose sand is present all around to give the space a more natural and relaxing ambiance.
The rooms bask in artistic imagination, adding a hint of quirky eccentricity to the cafe.
One of the more unique cafes in Athens, Six Dogs’ vast menu primarily uses seasonal ingredients. The range includes an excellent selection of continental and Greek dishes.
Must-eats at Six d.o.g.s. include quesadilla (with pesto and spicy tomato sauce), garden salad (sourdough bread crouton, mozzarella balls), and American-style cheesecake topped with strawberries.
Those looking for a refreshing drink will find several draught beers, soups, iced teas, and coffees at the cafe.
Address: Solonos 49, Athina 106 72
Dark Side of Chocolate is a mini outlet serving various gourmet handmade chocolates since 2012.
Located near Mount Lycabettus in the Kolonaki district, a famous Athens tourist spot, the establishment is a passion project of chocolatier Aristotle Panagiotaros.
After studying in Italy and France to become a chef, he now has an in-house lab to experiment with different textures and bold flavors.
The chic cafe has retro and dimly-lit interiors with chocolate-brown shades all over. The geometrically tiled floor gives the space a whimsical touch.
There isn’t much seating inside (only 3-4 small tables) and a glass counter displaying chocolate boxes.
The menu at Dark Side of Chocolate is available only in Greek. However, the owner and his family readily help visitors select the best hot chocolates or coffees, as per their taste.
Try Valrhona chocolate infused with spices like rosemary, basil, and white pepper for something extraordinary. Other favorites include Sympathy for the Devil (with 100% cocoa) and White Satin (with 32% cocoa).
Address: 1 Agiou Filippou, Athina 105 55
Like a dreamy pink wonderland, Ellyz Cafe is one of the top Instagram-able cafes in Athens.
The gorgeous bright pink and pastel tones make it pretty easy to spot the cafe while roaming around in Monastiraki, near the Museums of Illusions.
With bougainvillea covering the facade, Ellyz Cafe is a stylish place to eat that impresses and charms through its decor of flowers everywhere. Entirely covered with roses, the backdrop of the cafe also has a pink neon sign saying, “Happiness is coffee and flowers.”
The velvet furniture with pastel blue and pink shades matches the elegant aesthetic of the place.
The menu follows the trend with a range of pink dishes and beverages, including flat coffee, donuts, fantasy cakes, juices, and pancakes. However, if pink is not your color, the cafe does have plenty of non-pink food options like truffled scrambled eggs, banana yogurt smoothie, and open toast avocado.
Ellyz’s beverage menu expands beyond your typical coffee and tea. There are specialty cocktails, tequila, fresh juice, wine, beer, and liqueur to savor with your meal.
Since its inception in 2019, two other outlets of Ellyz have opened in Glyfada and Chalandri.
Address: 117 42, Tsami Karatasou 2, Athina 117 42
Near the Acropolis Museum in Koukaki, Lotte Cafe-Bistrot is a quaint little corner shop with a distinct Parisian allure, making it one of the more aesthetically pleasing Insta-worthy cafes in Athens.
The cafe almost seems frozen in time with a bold jade green color scheme and vintage elements like a wooden dressing table, a double-sided wall clock, and a rotary phone.
Lotte’s indoor seating area has a few chairs by the bar and the rest by the window, a lovely place to have your cuppa and watch the world go by. The outdoor seating includes the sidewalk and a garden with several tables under a tree.
French jazz or Greek classical music playing in the background adds to the retro vibe. Less frequented by tourists, the eatery is an ideal spot to mingle with the locals.
The menu has a range of desserts and beverages. Top selections are carrot cake, orange pie, homemade lemonade, espresso, and hot chocolate. Visitors can order cheese & sundried tomato pie, quiche Lorraine, and different salads for a quick meal.
Address: Karaiskaki 17, Athina 105 54
Little Kook is one of the most popular cafes in Athens, famous for its whimsical interiors and magical aura.
Fairytale characters, neon lights, exquisite flower arrangements, and everything from your wildest imagination fill every nook and corner of this thematic cafe.
To reach this eccentric spot, all it takes is a few minutes’ walk from Monastiraki Metro station. Once here, you will, in all likelihood, find the place crowded. However, don’t be alarmed as it’s usually tourists wanting to take photos, and thus, a table is relatively easy to come by.
If you think the visual surroundings are extreme, in a good way, wait till you read the menu. Chock-a-block full of tasty delights, there are cakes, crumbles, frosties, ice cream, crepes, and Greek desserts, everything themed around something fun like Halloween or Alice in Wonderland.
Ble Papagalos – Blue Parrot
Address: Leonidou 31, Athina 104 36
The Metaxourgeio Neighborhood café-bar near Avdi Square attracts a younger and trendier clientele, placing it amongst the liveliest cafes in Athens.
The eatery extends from the inside to the out, with its trademark light green color spreading from the walls to the garden furniture. The interiors are artistic, with a vintage appeal and a hint of bohemian elegance. Carefully curated music further amplifies the charm of the ambiance.
However, the Ble Papagalos is particularly famous due to its passion for food, especially drinks. Many believe it serves the best coffee in Athens. At the same time, Blue Parrot’s signature cocktails are always a delight, featuring an array of spices and distinct flavor combinations.
Snacks at the cafe satisfy comfort food cravings. Sandwiches, crepes, pizza, pastries, and Greek yogurt are some of the selections.
While friendly, the service at Blue Parrot can sometimes be a little slow. But then again, it’s the kind of place you want to go for a leisurely brunch.
Little Tree Coffee & Books
Address: Kavalloti 2, Athina 117 42
There’s something inherently appealing about a quaint little eatery with sidewalk seating. Make it one with an integrated bookshop and place it in the center, near the Acropolis Museum, and you have one of the most charming cafes in Athens.
In terms of seating, there’s the option to be surrounded by books on the inside or have a front-row seat outside to enjoy the theater called Life. Either way, what’s surprising is that Little Tree Coffee & Books remains devoid of the tourist crowd, mainly attracting die-hard book lovers and locals.
The food and drinks at this literary cafe take the homely yet deliciously addictive route. Coffee, tarts, draft beer, cake, juice, tea, fresh juice, wine, Greek yogurt, sandwiches, beer, there’s a bit of everything to sit, relax, and enjoy the local vibe.
Address: Dimofontos 10, Athina 118 51
Spook is a contemporary Athens coffee shop with a traditional soul. The interiors replicate the sleekness of third-wave coffee shops while adding little touches that give it a more homely and less industrial feel.
The limited but sufficient menu comprises the classics, from croissants and cakes to smoked turkey, chorizo, mushroom sandwiches, salads, and porridge. To drink, there’s a variety of coffee choices – nothing extravagant, juice, homemade lemonade, and a few soda choices.
The vibe at Spook leans towards the trendier side. One can’t help but appreciate the sense of familiarity evident between the baristas and regulars.
There are different sections to sit in and around the cafe, from tables to single-seat counters alongside the main window. However, don’t forget to venture upstairs, where a pool table invites you to stay a little longer.
Address: Emmanouil Benaki 7, Athina 106 78
If you are fascinated by Athens’ coffee culture as we are, then we all need to thank Taf, the cafe responsible for starting the city’s new-age coffeehouse trend.
Sourcing its beans from individual growers in Africa and Central America, Taf focuses on serving single-origin roasts rich in aroma and known for their distinct taste.
The handcrafted coffees here range from classics like espresso and cappuccino to local favorites like Freddo, traditional Greek coffee, and seasonal hand-brewed offerings. While coffee certainly takes center stage, the cafe offers sandwiches and cake to accompany your favorite hot or cold drink.
The atmosphere at Taf Cofee is familiar to third-wave coffee shops around the world. Sleek and modern, its decor complements the progressiveness of the coffee being served. The baristas are friendly, knowledgeable, and worth chatting with for insight into what’s unique and worth trying on or off the menu.
Address: Praxitelous 33, Athina 105 60
When it comes to the best vegetarian and vegan cafes in Athens, Anäna takes the cake.
Located on the edge of Monastiraki, in a gorgeous corner building, the eatery has a die-hard following among the local coffee-loving crowd.
The cafe has a sleek, minimal look, with a coffee counter taking up most of the space and retail shelves lined along the walls. Seating is primarily in an internal courtyard that opens to the sky above.
The menu includes single-origin roasts (high-quality beans from Kenya, Ethiopia, and Brazil are roasted on-site), smoothies, granola bowls, and other healthy offerings such as chickpeas quinoa salad, vegan yogurt, and cold sandwiches.