Ok, the title may be misleading. I only spent four days in Athens. I’m hardly one to declare which restaurant is the best in the whole city. However, as a tourist, all the areas you want to see and visit are packed with restaurants offering lowest common denominator traditional Greek food. Yes, a couple of those little garden restaurants in Plaka are decent, but good luck figuring out which ones.
Enter Karamanlidika, a little deli/restaurant near Monastiraki. It was hands down the best dining experience I had in all of Athens. We discovered Karamanlidika on our last night in the city, and I wish it had been the first. I would have gone every day.
The staff are very warm and helpful. We ordered ouzo and pastrami pies to start. The pies are layered phyllo pastry filled with thin sliced pastrami, feta cheese, and red bell pepper. I love spanakopita, but I now every time I have it, I’ll secretly wish it was this pastrami pie.
Next we had a meat and cheese plate, the specialty of the restaurant. I wanted to order more, but our server wisely warned us to have the plate first and then see how hungry we were.
Our server was right. I loved every bit of the meat and cheese plate, taking time to savour each bite, but by the end I reached the limit of what I could eat. Even as I accepted my own fate though, I kept seeing plate after plate of something delicious going to a nearby table, making me wish I had a second stomach to try it all.
After clearing our plates, our server delivered a nice little complimentary dessert of candied carrots and honey over greek yogurt, a soothing balm just when you’re starting to get woozy from stuffing your face with meat, cheese, and ouzo. Honestly it was the perfect end to a great meal.
If you’re traveling to Athens, make Karamanlidika the first stop on your list, and return as often as you can.