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Cakes, Coffee & Kalamatas – An Alternative Athens Food Tour Review

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Do you love to try new foods when you travel? Good! So do we. It can be intimidating when you are handed a menu full of things that you haven’t heard of or tried before and so we think the best way to start a trip is to join a food tour. We did just that on our first morning in Greece choosing Alternative Athens and their Delicious Athens Food Tour. Join us for our Alternative Athens food tour review.

Not at all related to food, but the cutest doggo we saw on our tour

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Flying Fluskey in Athens

OK, so technically we had been to Athens for one evening before but we were just stopping over on the way to our Celestyal cruises sailing so we didn’t count it. The ship docked really early and we had a taxi back into Athens at 08:00. At the hotel, we dropped our bags but by that time, check in wasn’t for seven more hours. We decided to head to the meeting point Syntagma Square (the main square outside Greece’s parliament building). As we were trying to decide where to grab a coffee Mr Fluskey spotted a sign that promised a fifth floor spot with a view. It was at the top of a slightly tired department store called Public. The cafe/bar was rather trendy and the (slightly over-priced) coffee in the sun, out of the chilly wind, was the perfect way to refuel before the tour.

Our Delicious Athens Food Tour

We made our way downstairs at Public and just outside the door was our guide, Antigoni and our fellow tour mates. It was a Friday and definitely the off-season (mid-November) so we had just four of us. We made some quick introductions, a nice start to the tour and then started strolling away from Syntagma Square.

Beautiful Baklava

I have never been a massive fan of baklava but one of the nice things about food tours is that you will give everything a go. Boy, am I glad we stopped here. Baklavas is an iconic bakery that produces a whopping ton of baklava every week. They supply top hotels in the area and still manage to keep this little storefront looking vintage and very pretty. *I love the tiles on the floor). We were each handed a shining golden nugget of baklava and taking a bite, I realised why I had never really liked baklava before. This was next level delicious and what every other baklava should have been. The nutty layer was soft but still textured and the filo pastry on top was crispy and flaky, yet somehow, still had a decent soaking of syrup.

We returned here for a selection of baklava on our last morning in Athens and they were all delicious but I did end up feeling slightly overwhelmed by the syrup. Turns out, I just need a salt lick to reset between each bite.

The Bakery

Good bread is so far removed from bad bread that it could be considered a totally different food stuff. We stopped at a famous bakery to pick up a loaf of the good stuff. While we were waiting, our eyes drifted across the other incredible-looking goods. Plump doughnuts topped with glistening fruit compote, sesame-jewelled twists of bread and crispy little pies. We asked about the other items and got to try some cheese pies as we wandered down to our next stop. Of course, they were lovely. Pastry and cheese…where could you go wrong?

Cezve Coffee

This is when I advise you against getting a double cappuccino before the tour because you are about to get some caffeine.

At our hotel, I spotted what I thought was Turkish coffee next to the regular coffee machine. Well, turns out that this coffee wasn’t Turkish but Greek. On a trip to Sarajevo, I had tried some coffee from a pretty copper pot but my goodness, it was so strong and so bitter. That is why I approached this cup of joe with apprehension. We grabbed a table in the sun before heading into the cafe/bar to watch the coffee being made.

The copper pot sat in a tray of heated sand, slowly bringing cold water, coffee grounds and sometimes sugar, up to temperature. The slow boil starts the coffee rising and almost bubbling. Once it reaches the perfect point (with the middle unrisen) it is taken off and poured into pretty little cups. Well, here it was anyway. The bubbly consistency and the sugar made this like the world’s best coffee milkshake…despite it bing black. The oxygen running through the drink really made it smooth and it’s lucky we don’t live in Athens because I would be wildly addicted!

Once we had slurped and sipped our way to the bottom of the cups, the ground coffee started to outweigh the liquid that was left. It was at this point, the talent Antigoni gave us a fun surprise. I made a joke about reading tea leaves and turns out, I was half right. I got a coffee ground reading which was fascinating!

Olive Oil Heaven

Vibrating after my three lots of coffee, it was a quick walk around to the fourth stop. Here we entered a shop full of olive oil.

We were given a palate cleanser in the form of Tsipouro/Tsikoudia. This distilled spirit has 40-45% alcohol and gave everyone the shudder. It was nice but very strong!

Now we had nice, clean mouths it was time to fill them full of fatty goodness. We got to do an olive oil tasting which is something I have wanted to do for a long time. Greece produces between 174,000 and 429,000 tonnes of olive oil every year. More excitingly, around 75% is classed as good extra virgin and we learned all about why that is the only way to go! We also had some nibbles go along with it and turns out that green olive tapenade is awesome!

It was so cool to taste three different types of olive oil and really get to slow down and experience each one. Usually, you have one bottle sitting at home with very little concept of how it compares to other types. It was interesting to take note of the spice, acidity and mouth feel. We actually bought a small bottle to take home which is quite unusual for us but they were just that good.


We passed through The Mitropoleos square, admiring the two churches that sit side by side. The smaller is the Holy Church of the Virgin Mary Gorgoepikoos and Saint Eleutherius (that’s a mouthful). It looks really old but that is because it used ancient stone int he construction. I mean, it is still over 500 years old but when we are talking about Atehsn, that’s practically modern

Next door is the large Holy Metropolitan Church of the Annunciation to the Virgin Mary. This is Athens’ cathedral and was built in the 19th century. It is the spot where all the city’s bigwigs get married etc. We popped inside to have a look and it was pretty in a dark, moody, orthodox church kind of way. I always love all the wall paintings, so much to look at.

A Super Souvlaki

I love a souvlaki. It is the perfect street food lunch. Fluffy pitta, grilled meat, salad AND chips all wrapped up in the perfect takeaway. Usually, the meat is cooked on a skewer and that’s where the dish gets its name. Souvla means skewer in old Greek and that, in turn, comes from a Latin word.

The souvlaki at Kosta’s is a cut above the rest with really fresh ingredients. Particularly lovely was the tangy tomato sauce, the homemade kind, not ketchup. I forgot to mention that I despise onion so myself and Mr Fluskey picked it out and then I demolished the souvlaki. I am sure that good company, warm sunshine and a pretty square with butterflies all added to the enjoyment. Still, I would happily eat this in the cold, rain of London and think it would be just as tasty.


We bought a box of round doughnuts and they were very surprising The small round shapes meant I thought we were getting the stodgy kind of doughnuts you might find in a British fun fare. Instead, we tried loukoumades, a light, fried dough a bit like churros. They were soaked in honey and cinnamon syrup and melted in the mouth. I think we could have all eaten a box each. In other spots, and on many a recipe website, they are just balls so keep your eyes peeled for them elsewhere in that form too.

Meandering the Market

When we first passed through Athens, we heard pumping dance music blaring at a strangely early 6pm. We couldn’t resist the lure of the bass and wandered over to investigate. Turns out, the club was a large market hall with a DJ, food stalls and bars. Turns out, this is a Sunday party every week. However, during the day, it is a working, thriving meat and seafood city market (which explains the fishy whiffs in the club).

We all took a stroll between the dripping ice covered stalls and freshly carved meat stalls. A large cow’s head was apparently the main attraction but I was too busy chatting to Antigone and totally missed it.

Across the road, we found shops full of spiuce, establishments overflowing with bric-a-brac and large stall stuffed with olives. Let’s continue with our Alternative Athens Food Tour review.

A Cheeky Olive or Three

Technically, this isn’t a stop on the tour but Antigone has a good relationship with the stall owner and he is happy for tourists to try a few. We munched our way through as many as we could whilst not taking the mickey. The chilli olives were particularly good, coated in a mild chilli paste that I think I would return to Athens for. The large, green olives were meaty and screamed for a martini to go with them. Our last tester was olives in vinegar which were nice but you couldn’t eat a whole tub. They would be an excellent addition to a dish that needed a little a caper in a butter sauce.

Taverna Time

Our last port of call was a cool, yellow Taverna. We found a table in this lovely family run restaurant and food appeared. First we had a bread basket and a plate full of dips. We could try fava beans, a smoky aubergine dish and my favourite; spicy cheese. I know, it sounds like a Cheetos flavour, but Tirokafteri is a feta base with hot peppers, olive oil and garlic (or thereabouts). It was highly addictive. Why is this as ubiquitous in British supermarkets as hummus, tzatziki and taramasalata?

We also had some dolmades. Now, I LOVE these, my stp dad makes a super version. It consists of rice mixed with fresh herbs and a squeeze of lemon before being wrapped in vine leaves. Here they were served with a lemon and egg sauce called Avgolemono…I might have to introduce my step dad to this as fun variation.


If you are thinking of booking a tour with Alternative Athens, here are some things you might like to know:

  • The best place to book is through the Alternative Athens website where they offer many tours in and around the city.
  • The Delicious Athens Food Tour can also be booked as a private experience if you fancy having a guide all to yourself.
  • The tour takes around 3.5 hours and involves a fair bit of walking so bring comfortable shoes. It is at a nice slow pace so don’t worry.

Final Thoughts on this Alternative Athens Food Tour Review

Greece is pretty famous for its food. However, if you had asked me to list some I mnight have come up with moussaka, Greek salad and ouzo. Our Alternative Athens Delicious Athens food tour review introduced us to new delights (Greek coffee for the win) and learn so much about firm favourites. I am never going to be able to buy cheap olive oil again! We loved the blend of culture a cuisine which really gave a us a glimpse of the city. We hope you enjoyed our Alternative Athens Food Tour review. Thanks Antigoni and Alternative Athens, we had a blast.

Rosie xx

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