How badly is it to start with unfortunate on your vegan post?!
But unfortunately, Athens was one of the last European capitals to truly embrace the vegan culture. The first vegan restaurants only opened in 2016. Thankfully since then, countless small businesses have emerged and now as 2022 has arrived we can safely recommend Athens as a foodie vegan destination.
There will be still older waiters who would stare in doubt when ordering only meat-free food at a Greek tavern or when asked about the ingredients, but this is a minority. Most people working in the food industry in Athens have incorporated vegetarian and vegan choices on their menus.
As for me truth is, I am not on a vegan or vegetarian diet but since my sister is for the last 10 years, I learned to appreciate this cuisine and to add more vegan and vegetarian choices on my palate for the future good of this planet. So with my sister’s help and our combined restaurant exploration, we made a list of the best places in Athens Downtown, where one can enjoy Greek vegan and vegetarian food.
Moving on, let’s start our Top 12 list and the ranking is based on budget.
Address: Themistokleous 43, Exarcheia, Athens
Opening Hours: Tuesday- Saturday 3.30 pm- 12 am
You have probably heard before about the national Greek street food, Souvlaki. Basically, it’s a meat skewer wrapped in pita bread with tomato, fries, onion and tzatziki sauce. Here you will get to try the vegan version of souvlaki. This little place in the misunderstood neighborhood of Exarcheia serves four different types of souvlaki with mushroom gyros. Red wrap with tomato sauce, yellow with mustard, Green with salad and Brown with bbq sauce. They also offer a lentil kebab in a wrap with tomato sauce and almond cream cheese. Price per wrap 2,9€ – 3,30 €.
Address: Perikleous 56, Psiri, Athens
Opening Hours: Monday – Sunday 12 pm- 9 pm
The truth is you have many choices for vegan souvlaki in Athens. Souvlaki is the most popular Greek street food and it’s an easy dish to experiment with when taking out the meat and adding instead mushroom, jackfruit, black beans.
Must try here is the sweet potato black bean burger (5,5 €) with spiral fried potato on the side (2 €) and the mushroom gyros (3,5 €). Also worth mentioning is the homemade ginger lemonade (4 €).
Address: Parthenonos 1, Acropoli, Athens
Opening Hours: Monday – Sunday 12 pm – 10 pm
It maybe not be vegan to its heart but the Arabic falafel served here will get you covered and fill your stomach. Falafel perfectly fried not too heavy, with the right amount of chilly tomato sauce, pickles, vegetables and tahini sauce. And all these wrapped in Arabic pita bread for a price between 3 € and 4,5 €. Value for money.
Address: Athanasiou Diakou 38, Athina
Opening Hours: Monday- Sunday 11.30 am- 12 am
After your must-visit at the Acropolis Museum, I found you the perfect spot to recharge your batteries. Veganaki , which translates to little vegan, offers you a variety of salads, pita wraps, pies and traditional Greek dishes. If you get the chance and it’s on the day’s menu, do try the courgette pie or spinach pie. Also they make a vegan mousaka to die for (9€), pastitsio and soutzoukakia, which are some of the most authentic Greek dishes.
Address: Falirou 40, Koukaki, Athens
Opening Hours: Tuesday – Sunday 12 pm- 11 pm
Give Peas a Chance and come by this small gem in the Koukaki neighborhood, just 8-minute walk from Acropolis Museum. Here the seating is limited but take your chance. The owners make everything from scratch in-house. It’s a new entry at the vegan restaurant market but one that’s worth mentioning. The portions are generous and the burgers with tofu/seitan receive enthusiastic feedback from everyone. (5,5€). Don’t forget to try their desserts. Chocolate cake (3,5 €), raw apple pie (4,5 €), raw tart with avocado, cacao, banana (4,5 €).
Address: Solonos 102, Athens
Opening Hours: Monday – Friday 9 am – 7 pm, Saturday 10 am- 4 pm
One of the first exclusively vegan places in Athens. Bamboo Vegan has a double part, being both a vegan mini market and a vegan café. You can enjoy your organic coffee with excellent sweet and savory treats, like a vegan Oreo tart with peanut butter (4,5 €). Moreover don’t miss the traditional Greek pies on their vegan version, such as cheese pie, spinach pie (2,5 €). I loved their sandwich with spinach and tofu (3,6 €).
Address: Aminta 15, Pagkrati, Athens
Opening Hours: Monday – Sunday 3 pm – 11 pm
A hippie place at Pagkrati neighborhood, one of the most popular neighborhoods for tourists. Focused on the street food, at The Vegan Vandal you will try the famous Greek souvlaki but with mushroom instead of meat (3,2 €) and 2 versions of burger with lentil patty or smoked pulled jackfruit –my personal favorite (8,2 €).
Address: Nikis 30, Athens
Opening Hours: Monday – Sunday 12.30 pm – 9.30 pm
Situated in the center of Athens, this place offers lots of freshly cooked dishes. Just keep in mind that not all are vegan, like for example the yummy Sita ram risotto with mushroom which however has parmesan. Avocado’s menu combines Asian, Greek and Indian influences in dishes like Hummus Avocado (7,6 €), Avocado’s burger with sweet potatoes patty (11,9€), Teriyaki burger made of black beans, tempeh and oat (10,9 €). Bread is also baked in the house, wines are organic and juices are tasty and healthy.
Address: Akadimias 84, Athens
Opening Hours: Monday – Sunday 1 pm – 10 pm
One of the most recent entries in the vegan food scene, Mama Tierra has the upper hand in offering well-balanced vegan dishes based on traditional Greek recipes. For example their vegan mousaka with minced black beans instead of meat probably tastes better than even the original that you would find in this touristy neighborhood (8,5 €). Or their vegan version of Soutzoukakia where they bake eggplants balls in tomato sauce (7,7 €). The food is hearty and the ambiance is welcoming.
Address: Nikis 27, Athens
Opening Hours: Monday – Friday 4 pm – 11.30 pm, Saturday 2 pm- 12.30 pm, Sunday 12 pm – 6 pm
Not your average vegan restaurant and certainly focused on a more creative and international cuisine. The staff is super attentive and helpful. You will feel pampered and the taste of the dishes will justify the price. Some of the best options, which will not disappoint are the LA Salad with tomato, cucumber, lettuce and smoked tofu (13 €), the Hawaiian Bowl with marinated watermelon (17,5 €), Summery Lemony Kart Pasta (15€) and the Indonesian bowl with fried rice, smoked tempeh and pineapple (16 €). In the end, you won’t be able to resist to a piece of Sweet Potato Raw Cacao Brownies (9€).
Address: Patousa 4, Exarcheia, Athens
Opening Hours: Thursday – Tuesday 2 pm – 7 pm
The truly fully vegan ice cream place in Athens.
With a wide selection of flavors, even if you are not a vegan you will love this place. Moreover try something traditional like yogurt or mint and chocolate chip or go wild with pear & feta, halva chocolate, pink grapefruit and vanilla pretzel.
1,8 € per scoop, 11€ 500g.
Address: Voulis 36, Athens
Opening Hours: Monday- Sunday 10 am – 6 pm
And now something to grab a bite, to recharge while wandering near Syntagma Square and to take your own jar of tahini. This store offers the best peanut butter, almond butter and any butter made from smashing nuts. Also you need to try the traditional Greek dessert named Halvas made with honey, tahini and nuts. We can sit down at the limited tables to enjoy some more baked goods everything with only the best ingredients.
Athens nowadays will surprise you with how many different and top-quality vegan and vegetarian choices has to offer. Awareness has been raised regarding animal cruelty and the protection of the environment and even for an omnivore like me, it’s good to and essential to keep your diet as “green” as possible.