Kid-friendly Snacking in Greece
Exploring the ancient sites is hungry work! When you’re out and about in a city or on an island, you may not have time for a sit-down meal. Never fear. You can get fantastic snacks at bakeries, cafes, and street vendors – both traditional Greek fare and more modern treats.
Koulouri (Greek sesame bread rings)
If you’re just looking for a quick nibble, split a koulouri with your family. A koulouri is like a large, super-skinny bagel covered in sesame seeds. It’s flavored with a hint of anise and served up warm and toasty. In Thessaloniki, the koulouri became very popular and its popularity spread to the rest of Greece, hence it is being referred to as koulouri Thessalonikis.
Where to buy the best Koulouri in Athens?
In Athens, The Koulouri of Psirri, at 23 Karaiskaki Street, is considered to be the best koulouri for many years. Also, there are many stands all over the center of Athens that sell koulouri such as stands in or near Syntagma square ie. a stand opposite the metro station, the stand on Ermou Street, as well as the stand near Klafthmonos square off Stadiou Street. There is also Koulourades, with branches all over Greece.
Loukoumades (Greek donuts with honey)
For something a little sweeter, try loukoumades – Greece’s answer to the donut. There are the warm loukoumades – my daughter’s favorite – and the cold ones. You will find the warm loukoumades in ‘loukoumatzidiko‘ (local cafe that typically sells only that). If you happen to be out in the morning, you can probably find street vendors selling koulouria and cold loukoumades – otherwise, any bakery will have them!
Where to find the best loukoumades in Athens?
There are many places where you can eat loukoumades in Athens. Our favorite is Krinos, which first opened as a coffee shop in 1923 and is located in Aiolou Street. Another favorite place is Ktistakis, a third-generation family place, right off Omonia Square. Ktistakis sells only loukoumades! Lukumades, on Aiolou Street right next to hipster Agias Eirinis Square, is an extremely popular modern spot for loukoumades, as it offers a wide range of flavors.
Nuts and Dried Fruits
Fruits and nuts are also widely available, depending on what’s in season. Don’t miss out on the local pistachios while you’re here – they’re grown on many islands, most famously Aigina. In fact, pistachios are typically called fistikia Aiginis because the island produces so many. You can get them roasted or fresh. They’re a little smaller than what you’re probably used to, but they’re much tastier and sweeter, too.
Where to buy nuts in Athens?
Carpo is one of our favorite stores to buy nuts in Athens (Carpo Kolonaki is the one nearest to Athens Center, in 6 Kanari). The store also sells chocolates, dried fruits, honey, and coffee beans. Matsoukas (at 4 Nikis at Syntagma) is also another store, with a long tradition as one shop to visit before you travel home, for sweets, nuts, herbs, and Greek specialties.
Bougatsa (custard pie with phyllo)
If you’re looking for something sweet, try bougatsa –that’s a traditional custard pie with lots of powdered sugar. Apart from the sweet filling (cream), you might find places that offer bougatsa with a savory filling (mizithra cheese). Kids in general love the cream filling!
Bougatsa originally comes from the city of Thessaloniki, but you can get it all over Greece. It’s a little messy, but definitely worth it. Bougatsa can be easily found in almost every bakery all over Greece.
Where to eat the best bougatsa in Athens?
One of the best spots to eat Bougatsa is in the neighborhood of Psiri (Irolo 1, at a place called Thessaloniki Bougatsadiko. Another place that you can get a delicious bougatsa is Creme Royal, at Athinas 37 Street.
Traditional Greek Pies
On the savory side, you have turnovers or pasties with endless fillings to choose from. Any bakery will have tyropita (a cheese “pie” or turnover, usually with feta), and most places will have spanakopita (spinach “pie”). After that, look for hortopita (wild greens), kolokythopita (zucchini), and prasopita (leek). Some more unusual fillings include mushrooms and tomatoes. We couldn’t possibly pick our favorite – they’re all fabulous.
Local bakeries usually bake their own bread – grab some while it’s hot and fresh from the oven. Pair it with some kasseri cheese for a light snack at your hotel. We think that the simplest things are often the best things, and this is no exception.
Where to find the best pies in Athens?
We recommend “Ariston” in downtown Athens, just off Ermou Street (10 Voulis Street). There are so many fillings and types to choose from! Jut go early in the am! In 16 Voulis Street, very near Ariston, there is the Pie Shop, which sells homemade pies from all over Greece and the world.
Another place we recommend is Cocona in Kolonaki (10 Milioni), as well as, Marie & Antoinette, also in Kolonaki (1B Milioni and Kanari). Gregory’s is a chain of refreshment bars, scattered all over Athens (and Greece), which also sell a wide range of delicious pies.
Souvlaki (kalamaki and gyros)
If you’re really hungry, go for a pita gyro from a souvlatzidiko (or souvlaki joint) – that’s roast pork or chicken (think of shawarma, doner, or even pulled pork) wrapped in a warm pita with tomatoes, french fries, onions, and lots of tzatziki (yoghurt with garlic and cucumbers). A gyro is easy to eat while you’re walking around town. And, in case you were wondering, it’s pronounced YEE-roh!
There’s a whole world of street food waiting to be explored. You’ll find all kinds of exotic flavors and tasty nibbles tucked away here and there. We hope you get the chance to sample as much as possible during your vacation.
Where to find the best souvlaki in Athens?
There is certainly an abundance of good souvlatzidika (souvlaki places) in the center of Athens serving up gyros, pitas (tilichto) as well as kalamaki (skewers).
Here are some of our favorites: Kostas Souvlaki (2 Agia Eirini Square, Hoocut (9 Platia Agias Irinis, trendy souvlaki place, a new addition to the Athens souvlaki scene), Elvis Keramikos (29 Plateon, Keramikos), Souvlaki Leivadia (2 Kanigos, Historic Centre), Kostas Agias Irinis (1 Vassilikis, Monastiraki), Kalamaki Kolonaki (32 Ploutarchou, Kolonaki).
Crepes and creperies
Crepes are another sweet option. They’re not very traditional, but they are widely available and make a safe bet for picky youngsters! Nutella with sliced banana is a classic – and deservedly so! But there are lots of other options to explore – both sweet and savory. I personally love the spinach with feta combination… so delicious.
Where to find the best crepes in Athens?
We highly recommend Jacu, located in 16 Kolokotroni, a very aesthetically pleasing espresso bar-creperie, inspired by Latin America. There are many more creperies, however, most of them are not in the historic center.
Amygdalota (almond cookies)
Amygdalota are marvelous almond pastries – buy some for a snack, and take the rest home for presents. Almost every island will have its own special variation.
Other food-related articles:
Kids Love Greece has a network of trusted partners that organize cooking lessons and food tours. See all our food-related tours HERE.
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