To Kafeneio: The restaurant that turned our impending Greek disaster around

I had researched an authentic Greek taverna in Athens while we were still in Australia, and found To Kafeneio which seemed to fit the bill. It is located in a quiet lane just past the tourist part of Plaka.

A quick browse of some reviews confirmed that it was the right place to give us a great intro to Athens. Our dinner at To Kafeneio was orginially planned for our second night in Athens, but when we arrived at our accomodotion, it was absolutely nothing like the website had promised (that is an entirely different review).  The kids were in shock and wanting to leave. I decided quite quickly that we needed a nice dinner in an ambient location to ease the blow and get us back in a good headspace.

It took a little convincing to get a couple of the kids to venture out that evening but eventually we were all up and walking outside. It only took two blocks for us to hit a much nicer part of Athens with pretty tavernas spilling out into the streets. We walked past the hectic touristy restaurant strip in Plaka and then meandered thought some very pretty lanes, stumbling upon the our taverna To Kafeneio all of a sudden. If you have Google Maps on your phone, use it to avoid getting lost in those winding lanes.

To Kafeneio is nestled at the top of a tiny rustic street. There is a sizeable restaurant space inside but we asked to sit outside.And then the magic of ambience and good food transformed us from distressed travelers into relaxed happy humans chatting first about the delicious taste sensations and then just everything else. We were intrepid explorers once again!

We had a selection of plates to share and we were so happy with each dish: Olive and plain bread with eggplant dip and tzatziki dip

Grilled Houloumi


Greek salad

Beef Meatballs

 Beef Meatballs in THE sauce

  Bekris Mezes (food for drunks- which is chunks of beef in a piquant broth)

 Zucchini fritters

 Chocolate sweet

 Salami Panacota of Kostis

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22 Comments on To Kafeneio: The restaurant that turned our impending Greek disaster around

  1. Paula McInerney
    January 23, 2016 at 1:06 am (2 years ago)

    This is now firmly on my list for the haloumi alone. To Kafeneio looks amazing

    Reply
    • admin
      January 23, 2016 at 10:24 am (2 years ago)

      Ahhh, haloumi….. isn’t it a magnificent cheese?

      Reply
  2. Krista
    January 23, 2016 at 4:23 am (2 years ago)

    What a great discovery! Definitely a good reward for venturing forth bravely. 🙂

    Reply
    • admin
      January 23, 2016 at 10:25 am (2 years ago)

      Yes, a great way to regroup for sure. 🙂

      Reply
  3. Lauren
    January 23, 2016 at 10:35 am (2 years ago)

    I adore Greek food! I haven’t been to Athens but when I was travelling around Crete I fell in love with the narrow windy streets and tavernas that spill out everywhere. Interesting to hear your review – the chocolate dessert looks delicious!

    Reply
    • admin
      January 23, 2016 at 10:41 am (2 years ago)

      There is something very special about eating a cuisine in its country, isn’t there? Greek food now ranks in the top two favourite cuisines of all the kids. Crete would have been an amazing place to stop in at a tavern.

      Reply
  4. Hitch-Hikers Handbook
    January 24, 2016 at 12:07 am (2 years ago)

    The food looks very tasty indeed! I do love Greek cuisine!

    Reply
    • admin
      January 24, 2016 at 11:12 pm (2 years ago)

      And I think the authentic ambience only added to the wonderful memories we now carry of that meal. 🙂

      Reply
  5. Anna @ shenANNAgans
    January 24, 2016 at 7:00 am (2 years ago)

    Oh I love when you find peace in a situation and are able to fully relax into the moment, the ambience, the delicious food and get your intrepid on once more. Looks like a gorgeous spread of food, and Im with Paula, that haloumi needs to be in me. 🙂

    Reply
    • admin
      January 24, 2016 at 11:14 pm (2 years ago)

      Great authentic food is such an intrinsic part of the intrepid journey, huh? Oh, I want haloumi now! 🙂

      Reply
  6. Aileen Adalid
    January 24, 2016 at 12:39 pm (2 years ago)

    Glad to hear that you managed to find a better one! I haven’t been to Greece but I love Greek food. I’ll definitely take note of this one for when I finally get to visit 😀

    Reply
    • admin
      January 24, 2016 at 11:15 pm (2 years ago)

      I hope you are able to go. Greece is wonderful.

      Reply
  7. Tammi @ Tea For Tammi
    January 24, 2016 at 1:13 pm (2 years ago)

    Such a shame that the hotel didn’t turn out like you wanted (I hate that too!), but at least you got a nice dinner to make up for it! Looks like such a feast.

    Reply
    • admin
      January 24, 2016 at 11:16 pm (2 years ago)

      I lashed out to make up for the dodgy digs. 🙂

      Reply
  8. Marge Gavan
    January 24, 2016 at 1:49 pm (2 years ago)

    I don’t really like Greek cuisine because I wasn’t happy with what I had in a Greek restaurant from where I am. But maybe not all Greek restaurants are like that, I’m not sure. I think I wouldn’t mind trying Kafeneio if I get a chance, maybe it’d change my mind about Greek food.

    Reply
    • admin
      January 24, 2016 at 11:17 pm (2 years ago)

      Such a shame you had a sub par experience with Greek food. When it is done well, its sublime. 🙂

      Reply
  9. Rosemary
    January 24, 2016 at 10:11 pm (2 years ago)

    Love Greek food. Isn’t it amazing how a nice meal can turn everything around 🙂 Your food pics are great. Thanks for sharing!

    Reply
    • admin
      January 24, 2016 at 11:18 pm (2 years ago)

      Thanks so much. I am a big fan of your posts!

      Reply
  10. Laura Lynch
    January 24, 2016 at 10:16 pm (2 years ago)

    This looks just like what you’d want to have for your first night in Greece! I’ve always wanted to have a true Greek salad with the cheese chunk on top. Everything else looks really fantastic. I’m glad you were able to find something delicious to make up for the hotel.

    Reply
    • admin
      January 24, 2016 at 11:21 pm (2 years ago)

      It was just a joy to see tired, disappointed faces transform and relax into happiness and pleasure over this fabulous meal. 🙂

      Reply
  11. Elaine J Masters
    January 25, 2016 at 8:17 pm (2 years ago)

    What a delicious adventure and I’m glad it all turned out so beautifully. Olive bread is one of my favorites. Don’t know how I’d keep from filling up on that first!

    Reply
    • admin
      January 28, 2016 at 12:13 pm (2 years ago)

      It was lovely olive bread and I ate most of it, as no one else likes olives. So much winning!

      Reply

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