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
Beef Meatballs in THE sauce
Bekris Mezes (food for drunks- which is chunks of beef in a piquant broth)
Salami Panacota of Kostis