Growing up in a big city like Athens, you carry with you all the tastes and the flavours that were significant in your childhood. You will always remember the first time your mother took you shopping and after a long day, she treated you to a plate of warm “loukoumades” or a delicious piece of cheese pie. Since then, every time you taste these “loukoumades” or this cheese pie, it is a small journey to the past.
Here are four places that many Athenians grew up with and they can still visit for a memory journey back in their childhood.
1. Ariston (Άριστον) : Τhis small bakery stands in the same place since 1910 and treats the people of Athens with its famous “kourou” cheese pie. There are times, especially in the morning, you have to wait in a queue to taste this always hot and fresh delicacy. The recipe came from Konstantinoupolis by its founder Dionysios Lompotesis and it is still a secret. Nowadays apart from the cheese pie, you can taste here 120 different pies with various tastes and flavours. (Voulis 10, Syntagma Square)
2. Mam (Μαμ) : This is another place in Athens famous for its cheese pie. The small shop stands here since 1958 and serves its famous “sfoliata” (made with puff pastry) cheese pie to the hungry workers, clerks and passers-by. The taste is certified by the quality of the ingredients (the butter, the cheese, the eggs) who are all handpicked by the owners. There are two places nowadays downtown where you can buy their cheese pie, along with the other delicacies they prepare every day. (Pesmatzoglou & Stadiou / Panepistimiou 34 & Ippokratous, Athens)
3. Krinos (Κρίνος) : This pastry shop was established in 1923 and was the first major patisserie in Athens with a sitting hall. It became famous for its “loukoumades”, a Greek variation of the donuts served with honey or hot chocolate. The recipe and the taste are the same after all these years and the interior is preserved in its original form. Through the years, Krinos has become also well known for its “bougatsa” (pastry consisting of either semolina custard or cheese filling between layers of phyllo) and serves one of the best soft ice creams in the city. (Aiolou 87, Athens)
4. Loukoumades Ktistaki (Λουκουμάδες Κτιστάκη) : This small place is hidden in the streets around Omonoia Square but deserves every moment you will spend searching it. It makes only one thing : delicious small “loukoumades”, crunchy on the outside but soft and full of honey syrup on the inside. The Ktistaki family established their first shop in Chania in Crete and came to Athens during the 1950s to establish a new shop in the area around Omonoia Square, which was then the real heart of the city. It was transferred to its current location in 1997 and still treats Athenians with its unique “loukoumades”. Just don’t miss it. (Sokratous 59, Omonoia Square)