Where to eat the best traditional souvlaki in Athens

Souvlaki definitely has a special place in Greek gastronomy. In Athens, you can find it almost everywhere. But where will you find the most delicious, well-made and “traditional” souvlaki? Here are 12 spots, including places in the suburbs, historic souvlaki spots in Athens and new arrivals, which do justice to the ultimate Greek street food: the one and only souvlaki.

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Greek souvlaki: Combining pita bread, meat and vegetables may seem simple, but it actually requires mastery. The secrets for preparing a mouthwatering souvlaki lie both in the selection of the raw material and in the grilling process. This is a list of 12 spots in Athens where souvlaki is made just like old times! It is delicious and worth tasting again and again. Enjoy!

Kostas (Syntagma Square)

The trademark: “No stress.” Barba Kostas started making simple and delicious souvlaki in a food cart on the street in 1948. Two years later he opened his own place on Adrianou Street in Plaka. In 2003 his grandson took over and six years later it relocated to Syntagma, more specifically to Pentelis Street, a small street crossing Mitropoleos Street. However, the recipe remains the same: pork souvlaki or bifteki in non-oiled pita bread, accompanied with sheep milk yogurt, spicy pepper, tomato and onion. No fries are added (as is traditionally the case in Greek souvlaki); but don’t worry, you won’t miss them. Kostas serves food no later than 3.30 p.m. so don’t be surprised if you see lines forming as early as 11 in the morning.

Lefteris o Politis

It was opened in the early ’50s by pappous Stavros, passed into the hands of his son, Lefteris (hence the name), and later his grandon, Tasos, took over management. You will find this tiny gem in the same place, on Satovriandou Street, moments away from Omonoia Square. The only options at Lefteris are pita bread with bifteki and handmade, (insanely) spicy soutzouki with a heavenly smell of cumin. The bifteki (minced-meat flat round cake) is made from plain ground beef, without any spices, and cooked in a cast iron pan. It is added in pita bread together with tomato, onion and paprika. Simple, mouthwatering. It will leave you wanting more!

O Lefteris (Nea Smyrni)

Its history dates back to 1953, when Lefteris grilled souvlaki on the street, on his son’s stroller. A little later, he opened a restaurant on Omirou Street, and news about his souvlaki spread throughout Athens. Today, O Lefteris is located at the square of Nea Smyrni, but has kept the original recipe. The pita bread is fresh, prepared daily. While still being grilled, tomato, then meat, then onion, parsley and, finally, salt and red pepper are added on top. For the chicken souvlaki, the chicken is added to pita bread, accompanied by bacon, tomato and peppers. It is also grilled on a cast iron pot. It is also worth trying the bifteki, prepared with the founder’s original recipe.


Panerythraikos has been a popular hangout for over fifty years in the district of Nea Erythraia, in the northern suburbs. You will need to use GPS to find it. This traditional souvlaki restaurant serves few signature dishes, the main one being the pork souvlaki. It goes in a pita bread (properly oiled) together with finely-chopped tomato, onion, parsley and paprika. Small, juicy, delicious. Of course, you can also choose a complete dish with separate pork souvlaki, pita bread, fries and salad, but we suggest the wrapped version for the signature alternation of flavors, even if there is some dripping.

To Elliniko

Since 1990, To Elliniko has been serving its legendary souvlaki at the same location, on Iasonidou Street in the area of Elliniko (in the southern suburbs of Athens). Nothing has changed in the decoration. This is a place that has developed a cult following and has willingly remained intact throughout time. It’s specialty is the wrapped pita bready with bifteki-loukoumi. The bifteki (minced-meat flat round cake) is added to a well-oiled pita bread, together with tomato and onion. Fries and tzatziki are optional. Try it without tzatziki to taste in full the mouthwatering bifteki. So many people go as far as Elliniko just for that!


Two friends turned a butcher shop in Kerameikos into a souvlaki restaurant, but they could hardly imagine the buzz they would create. Within a short time, lines were forming daily in front of the restaurant. So, in 2016 they opened a second one in the heart of the busy area of Pangrati, a district that Athenians have come to love in recent years and that has become the epicenter for entertainment and eating out. The pork souvlaki is well-grilled and delicious, and it is served with fries on the side. The same goes for the juicy chicken, as well as the delicious kebab, which they make themselves. They also offer a selection of pita breads to choose from: whole wheat, maize flour or wheat pita bread.


Armenis Hovsep started making souvlaki in 1946 and later his restaurant was passed on the next generations—now run by the third one. There you will find pork tenderloin kalamaki in pita bread with parsley, tomato and onion. Their juicy chicken and beef bifteki is also served with the same “filling”. For the more adventurous among you, there is the classic soutzouki with feta cheese (recipe from Constantinople), which is wrapped in pastirma slices before being added to the pita bread. Recently, a second Enty restaurant was opened in Dasos, Chaidari.

Oi Rosides

This small restaurant is nested in an alley in Kallithea. The sign says “Souvlaki-Pirozhki”, but everyone knows it as “Oi Rosides” (The Russian Women), despite the fact that the owner, the very sweet Mrs. Anna, is actually from Pontus. It opened in 1990 and nothing has changed ever since, or rather almost nothing; in the beginning they did not even have a telephone, now they do! Here you will find pork (exclusively) souvlaki, softly marinated, wrapped in juicy pita bread, with tomato, onion and slightly spicy, but absolutely mouthwatering, red sauce. Ask for two pieces, because they are small and so delicious that one is not enough! As for the fries, they are out of this world! Before you leave, remember to buy some pirozhkis to eat them at home. Try the classic one, with potato, and the one with minced meat and cheese.


Look for this souvlaki restaurant in a small street crossing Vouliagmenis Avenue, in Neos Kosmos, where it has been for the last 30 years. It is open from 16.00 only form Monday to Friday, an there is no delivery service. In other words, this is a very different souvlaki restaurant; as special as the souvlaki it serves. In fact, its famous gyros (pork, of course) is prepared daily by the Achilleas team. They wrap it tightly in a crunchy pita bread which they fill with tomato, onion and tzatziki (optional). No fries!


It opened in 2020, at the entrance of the Central Meat Market of Athens. Volvi only serves two things: pork souvlaki (on a skewer) and soutzoukakia (spicy meat balls). They prepare everything themselves every single day, from meat they buy from the butchers of the Central Meat Market (Varvakeios). The kalamaki (meat on a skewer) is delicious. You may also ask for the meat to be wrapped in pita bread (get at least three pieces, because they are small and extremely addictive!) or served on a dish, with tomato, onion,red pepper flakes and mustard on the side. Their tiny soutzoukakia are to die for! They are served in the same way and are, for lack of a better word, simply sublime! Volvi closes when the rest of the Market closes, i.e. after 18.00.


You will find it in a corner on the busy Olympiou pedestrian street in Koukaki. Usually, every table, both inside and outside, is occupied. In addition to the popular chicken gyros (usually they run out early) and pork gyros, here you will find pork, chicken and beef souvlaki, as well as frygadeli, kokoretsi and kontosouvli, all wrapped in pita bread. Another mouthwatering specialty of Kalyvas is their juicy biftekia (minced-meat flat round cakes).


This is one of the most famous souvlaki restaurants in the city, with a history dating back to 1996. Their pork gyros is prepared daily and the chicken gyros is slightly marinated. The pork kalamaki (pork on a skewer) is absolutely delicious and their chicken kalamaki is very juicy and mouthwatering. They serve very generous portions, and you have a choice between the classic dish—meat on top of the pita bread—and the covered version— gyros between two pieces of pita bread.