Souvlaki (aka kalamaki) is a popular Greek food and probably the most famous Greek street food, which you should taste if you are visiting Athens. It could be found anywhere but basically at specialized restaurants known as “souvlatzidika”. It consists of small pieces of meat and sometimes vegetables grilled on a skewer. The original souvlaki is made with pork but nowadays it is also made with chicken, beef and lamb. It is most commonly served with a slice of bread and could be accompanied by fried potatoes, pita bread, lemon and sauces.
The origin of souvlaki could be traced back to Ancient Greece. The ancient writer Athinaios, in his famous work “Deipnosofistes”, refers to a dish named kandavlos (κάνδαυλος) which was pieces of grilled meat on a skewer served with bread, cheese and dill herb.
In this article, we are going to suggest our eight favourite places to eat delicious pork souvlaki. There are hundreds of places all over Athens to eat souvlaki, therefore each one of you would have his / her favourite.
Livadeia (Η Λιβαδειά) : This is a historic restaurant which serves the same souvlaki since 1965. The meat is tasty and quite juicy. The size of the skewer is normal and it is served with lemon and as many slices of bread as you want. This souvlaki is remembered by many Athenians as a sweet childhood memory and they come back once in a while to taste it again. (2-4 Kaniggos, Plateia Kaniggos – Athens).
To Prodorpion (Το Προδόρπιον) : Τhis small place is considered by many to have the best souvlaki in downtown Athens. The meat is always freshly grilled, very juicy and not at all fatty. Every afternoon the place is packed by employees of the nearby offices and companies and the smell of grilled meat is spread at the surrounding area. (Akadimias 52, Athens)
Kalamaki Bar : This a relatively new place and our favourite in Koukaki. The quality of meat is excellent and it is grilled perfectly – not very big but very tasty. The place is very popular among locals and tourists. The place has also a sitting area on Drakou pedestrian street, which is perfect for souvlaki on a summer night (see also our article about the things you could do after a visit to Acropolis). (15 Drakou, Koukaki – Athens)
Tzimis (Tζίμης) : Α local tavern near Pagrati, which is famous among the inhabitants of the nearby neighbourhoods and should earn its place among the best “souvlatzidika” in town. As far as it concerns the pork souvlaki, it is extra large, juicy, tasty and always freshly grilled. As an extra, order the homemade crispy fried potatoes. (2 Eleftheriou Venizelou , Plateia Agiou Lazarou – Vyronas).
Εlvis (Ο Έλβις) : Excellent souvlaki, always freshly grilled and juicy, with the right amount of salt and oregano. It is served with lemon, bread and a small portion of tasty fried potatoes. Very popular among the people who are hanging out at the nearby bars and cafes of Pagrati and Metaxourgeio (where the two establishments of Elvis are located). (29 Plataion, Metaxourgeio & 3 Archimidous Pagrati – Athens) [picture below left]
To souvlaki tis Charokopou (Το σουβλάκι της Χαροκόπου) : According to the citizens of Kallithea this the best souvlaki in Athens and according to its owners you can find here the biggest pork souvlaki in Athens. The quality of the meat is very good, the souvlaki is grilled perfectly and salted in the right way. Served in the classic way with bread and lemon. (46 Charokopou, Kallithea)
To kalamaki tou Chari (Το καλαμάκι του Χάρη) : This place became very popular with students living in the area. The specialty here is the pork souvlaki served with very tasty mustard and lemon oil sauce. But there are also other delicious options such as souvlaki with pancetta or chicken wings. (2 Filonois, Zografou)
To cheiropoiito souvlaki tis Analipsis (Το χειροποίητο σουβλάκι της Ανάληψης) : A legendary souvlaki of the northern suburbs. The souvlaki consists of big pieces of pork, extra juicy and not very fatty. The quality is very good and the meat is always grilled the moment you order. There is also a bigger skewer named “mprizolokalamo” (μπριζολοκαλάμο) which is actually a pork steak on a skewer. The souvlaki is served with lemon and a small pita bread. (26 Ethnikis Antistaseos, Vrilissia) [picture above right]
As we have already mentioned these are our favourite places for souvlaki – kalamaki among hundreds you could find all over Athens. We are waiting for your suggestions to discover even more.