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I know this post has been requested countless times. Everyone wants to know about the best vegan restaurants in Athens and what it’s like to be vegan in Athens. As someone who lives here, I’ve been to most vegan restaurants in Athens more than once so I can judge them better than many places abroad. So here it is, the ultimate guide to eating vegan in Athens, Greece.
What’s It Like to Be Vegan in Athens?
Now I have mentioned in previous posts that being vegan in Athens can be quite difficult. It’s not impossible, and of course, you can always simply cook your vegetables and legumes.
Finding Vegan Cosmetics in Athens
However, it’s rather difficult to get hold of vegan products in Athens, especially in terms of personal care. Where many European countries have drug stores where you buy personal care products they’re not really a thing in Greece. I have no idea why, but for shampoos, toothpaste, etc. you have to go to the supermarket. There is now a chain of drug stores with a few outlets in the city, but they sell very cheap cosmetics that smell bad. Not really an option.
So while there aren’t many vegan restaurants in Athens considering the city’s size, the bigger problem is actually finding vegan cosmetics. Your only options are the only vegan mini market, organic stores, and ordering products online. Or, well, you can do extensive research to find out which products in the supermarket are vegan and cruelty-free. Because sadly, very few products carry the labels vegan or cruelty-free in Greece.
Going out to Eat
In terms of food, the first vegan restaurant in Athens only opened three years ago. Let that sink in. The biggest city in the region (let’s ignore Istanbul for a moment because only part of it is in Europe) didn’t have a vegan restaurant until the end of 2016.
Now, many have argued online that it’s super easy to find vegan food in Greece. I’ll say it depends a little bit on how strict you are. Most Greeks don’t understand what vegan means. And if you explain it to them they might tell you their restaurant serves vegan dishes. But if you check back with them about the exact ingredients you’ll often find that things like zucchini fritters contain egg.
In general, neither Alfonso nor I want to take the risk of being served something that really isn’t vegan. Virtually every Greek vegan we know has stories of being served non-vegan dishes that they were told would be vegan.
Another thing to watch out for is broth. Even seemingly vegan dishes may have been cooked with chicken or beef broth. Yes, even the rice for stuffed grape leaves or vegetables. Broth might even be added to a soup dish that would otherwise be vegan. It always depends on the chef’s preference.
What About Greek Fasting Food?
Time and again, I see vegan travelers to Greece exclaiming that people could simply eat Orthodox fasting food.
Look, fasting food is not vegan, it’s not even vegetarian. No matter how many posts you read online that swear the Orthodox fast contains no animal products, that simply isn’t true. Yes, it is meat-free and dairy-free Greek food. But squid, octopus, and honey are allowed in the Orthodox fast. That means it’s not enough to ask for foods that are nistisimo (the Greek adjective for fasting food) because they can contain those ingredients.
Obviously not every fasting food contains seafood or honey. So yes, during lent or other fasting periods it will be much easier to find vegan food. So always be very specific when telling people what ingredients you don’t eat. I have a very detailed guide on finding vegan food in Greece that clears up some of the misconceptions people have concerning specific dishes.
That’s why I prefer vegan or at least vegetarian restaurants. Those places have an understanding of veganism and will not tell you something is vegan when it really isn’t. Plus, in a city like Athens, it’s important to support the owners of small vegan businesses.
So on to the vegan food in Athens.
The Only Vegan Mini Market in Athens
At only eight years old, Bamboo Vegan is the oldest vegan business in Greece. Initially a tiny market for vegan products, Bamboo Vegan has grown over the years. Now, at the new location, there are tables, and you can have small dishes as well as the best golden milk in Greece.
The owners Elisavet and Fotis are long-time vegans and extremely passionate about bringing a range of vegan products to Greece. They even deliver within the area or to other Greek cities.
Bamboo Vegan is the only place in Athens where you can get a range of vegan products, such as tofu, jackfruit, chocolate, cosmetic products. If Bamboo Vegan doesn’t have it you can’t get it in Greece.
Solonos 102. Open Monday to Friday 9 am to 7 pm, Saturday 10 am to 4 pm.
Vegan Fast Food in Athens
One reason I find Athens quite underwhelming for vegans is that most vegan places serve fast food. Nothing wrong with fast food, I love a good burger myself, but it gets a bit boring after a while. (I felt the same way about Krakow and Vienna which I both expected to have more variety.)
Traditional Greek Fast Food in Athens
The traditional Greek fast food is, of course, the souvlaki.
So souvlaki is complicated. In most of Greece, it’s a meat skewer, while in Athens a meat skewer is called kalamaki. When people in Athens say souvlaki, they mean a pita wrap. Confused? I think even Greek people get confused. But since this is a post about vegan restaurants in Athens, I’ll talk about the pita wrap.
By far the most popular spot for vegan souvlaki in Athens is Cookoomela Grill. They’re smart and focus on very few items that they do well. They have four different types of souvlaki (yellow, red, green, brown – depending on the sauce). They also make kebap and dessert. Mushrooms are the main ingredient for their souvlaki which Greek people will tell you tastes a lot like the non-vegan version. As someone who hasn’t grown up on souvlaki, it’s not something I miss. But it’s nice to have options when you’re out and about.
The place is very small and popular so you might have to wait a while for your order, but there’s some outdoor seating. Cookoomela is located in my old neighborhood of Exarcheia which some Greeks might tell you to stay away from, but please don’t listen to them.
I definitely recommend going there at least once to try a vegan souvlaki in Athens. Especially since the price is really good for the portions!
Themistokleous 43. Open Monday and Tuesday 1 pm to 11 pm, Friday and Saturday 1 pm to 12 am.
Not far from Cookoomela is a rather new addition to the vegan scene in Athens. Roots Foods and Culture also makes souvlaki. But not any souvlaki. People speculate that it might be the best souvlaki in
Athens, or maybe Greece. Or the world?
Personally, I go here for one of the best burgers on the planet – the oyster mushroom burger. Now I’ve had many a vegan burger in my life. Most of them are mushroom or legume-based patties. And most of them are delicious, no doubt. But have you ever considered that people might overcomplicate things? The oyster mushroom “patty” at Roots Foods and Culture is simply a coated oyster mushroom. Many times simple really is that much better.
There is some outdoor seating, but due to the central location, you can also easily get takeaway. But as the place is tiny and the owner makes all the food himself there can often be a long wait. The view is not the prettiest, but hey, you come here for a quick bite of delicious vegan fast food.
Oh, and there’s a bonus for international travelers: The owner speaks Greek, German, and English.
Kapodistriou 2. Open Monday to Thursday 1 pm to 12 am, Friday 1 pm to 2 am, Saturday 6 pm to 2 am, Sunday 6 pm to 12 am.
Healthier Fast Food Options
Then there’s a tiny vegan spot in the Koukaki area. Peas is one of the best options for those who are sightseeing because it’s very close to the Acropolis museum. They have a lot of raw options if that’s what you’re into.
The space is very cozy, but the food didn’t blow me away so I was only here once. I really want to try it again though.
Falirou 40. Open Monday to Friday 10 am to 8 pm, Saturday and Sunday 10 am to 6 pm.
Vegan Bar and Snacks
Finally, there’s The Others, a vegan bar that I have already written about in a previous post. No, the food isn’t spectacular, but the atmosphere is exceptional in Athens. It’s a quiet little oasis in the noisy center of the Greek capital. And the food is cheap and great for when you want to have a bite while you’re out for drinks.
There’s nowhere else in Athens where you can go out for drinks and have strictly vegan food.
Kleisovis 4. Open Monday to Wednesday 9 am to 9:30 pm, Thursday to Saturday 9 am to 10 pm, Sunday 11 am to 8 pm.
Vegan Restaurants in Athens
As I mentioned earlier, the first vegan restaurant in Greece only opened three years ago. Lime Bistro took a leap. The owners Alkistis and Demmy did something nobody had ever done before in Greece. Once they were successful, others followed. Some of them are now more popular than Lime Bistro. But they’re the ones who made it possible to open entirely vegan restaurants in Athens.
I still fondly remember the vegan cheese platter I had when I first came to Lime. But what I love most about this place is that they take a lot of traditional Greek dishes and turn them vegan. I’ve read reviews about the high prices, but Lime Bistro is not only vegan. It’s also a fully gluten-free and sugar-free restaurant. And since their food is handmade you pay more than at a place that uses ready-made buns in their burgers.
You can find Lime Bistro in the party neighborhood Gazi so it’s perfect for dinner before you go out.
Dekeleon 23. Open Wednesday and Thursday 2 pm to 10:30 pm, Friday and Saturday 2 pm to 11 pm, Sunday 2 pm to 10:30 pm.
International Cuisine With an Indian Touch
After Lime Bistro’s success, some vegetarian restaurants turned vegan. One of them is Mama Tierra which gives international cuisine an Indian touch. Even the Greek dishes here come with Indian spices.
One of my favorite items on their menu is the chocolate avocado smoothie. So creamy and delicious!
Mama Tierra may not be the coziest spot in Athens but it’s the only one that comes with a Michelin recommendation.
Akadimias 84. Open Monday to Friday 12 pm to 10 pm, Saturday 1 pm to 10 pm, Sunday 12 pm to 6 pm.
Vegan Pizza and Pasta
One of the newer vegan restaurants in Athens is Mystic Vegan. Mystic Pizza is a non-vegan restaurant with two outlets in Athens, but they now opened a vegan one in Exarcheia (right next to the non-vegan one).
And they offer something most other vegan restaurants in Athens don’t: a super cozy atmosphere. Even though the place is small, it’s one of the vegan spots in Athens you can go to for a nice dinner.
Mystic Vegan mainly offers pizza and pasta. The pizza is made with hemp flour dough and is a lot better than most of the pizza in Athens. But they also make burgers and other delicious dishes. The portions are pretty big so you definitely won’t be leaving hungry.
Emmanouil Benaki 76. Open Monday to Friday 4 pm to 12 am, Saturday and Sunday 12 pm to 12 am.
A Vegan Café in Athens
If you only want a small bite while chatting with a friend over coffee there’s an option for that as well.
Formerly a non-vegan falafel place under a different name, Veganaki eventually became fully vegan. They started off quite small, but are now much bigger. It now feels as cozy as somebody’s living room. It seems perfect for students.
What’s even better is that Veganaki is close to one of my favorite ancient sites in Athens – the Temple of Olympian Zeus. So if you’re out exploring that beautiful spot and then feel hungry head on over to Veganaki.
The dishes are simple: sandwiches, burgers, salads, and wraps, but also some traditional Greek dishes that the Veganaki staff veganizes. It may not be mind-blowing, but if you’re in the area and looking for something cozy this is a good option.
Athanasiou Diakou 38. Open Monday to Sunday 8:30 am to 11:30 pm.
Out in the Suburbs
Sadly, not everything in Athens is easy to reach. That’s great for locals because they don’t have to go to the center for vegan food. But it also sucks because many vegan travelers miss out on some of the vegan restaurants in Athens.
Burgers That Are Worth the Trip
In fact, one of the best vegan restaurants in Athens isn’t actually located in Athens, but in the upscale suburb Glyfada. Avit makes some of the best vegan burgers I’ve ever had the pleasure of eating. The potatoes that come with them are definitely the best in Athens. Be careful though because the burgers are huge. If you manage to finish one you’ll be super full. But they also make lighter and healthier options such as salads and bowls.
The owners are some of the sweetest people you will find in the city. And it’s their love for good vegan food that makes Avit so amazing.
Maragkou 19, Glyfada. Open Tuesday to Thursday 8:30 am to 10 pm, Friday and Saturday 8:30 to 11 pm, Sunday 9 am to 8 pm.
Cozy and Vegan Coffee House
In the suburb of Ilioupoli, you will find Trivoli Vegan Kafeneio. Because this coffee house is located in a suburb it’s more affordable than some of the places in the center of Athens.
The dishes are simple and quick: burgers, pasta, souvlaki. You won’t have to wait long for the food. Plus it’s cheap and filling. The atmosphere is cozy, and the owner is super friendly.
It’s definitely not the easiest place to reach if you only have a few days in Athens. But if you happen to have some time check them out.
Marinou Antipa 107a, Ilioupoli. Open Tuesday to Sunday 2 pm to 12 am.
Vegan Food in Piraeus
If you’re heading to one of the islands by ferry you’re going to go to Piraeus first. This port city is the fifth-largest city in Greece but belongs to the Athens urban area. Public transport connects the two cities, and you really won’t know where one begins and the other one ends.
There are very few options if you’re vegan in Piraeus, so what do you do if you don’t want to starve?
Vegan Street Food in Piraeus
You can opt for a grilled mushroom souvlaki from Street Souvlaki. Not very good, but you don’t get to be picky when you’re in Piraeus.
Sotiros Dios 37, Piraeus. Open Sunday to Thursday 11:30 am to 3 am, Friday and Saturday 11:30 am to 4 am.
Healthy Vegan Food in Piraeus
A much better option but with less convenient opening hours is Healthy Harmony, not far from Street Souvlaki. They have quite a few vegan options, understand what vegan means, and the staff are really friendly.
I wish I had tried them while I lived in Piraeus for two years. But I only went here after moving! Discovering them sooner would have saved me so many disappointing lunches.
Praxitelous 156-158, Piraeus. Open Monday to Friday 9 am to 6 pm, Saturday 10 am to 3 pm.
The Best Indian Restaurant in the Athens Area
Finally, there’s Kebab & Curry for those of you who miss authentic North Indian/Pakistani food.
Vegans know that Pakistani or North Indian food is tricky because of all the ghee that is usually used. But the owner of Kebab & Curry understands what vegan means and has always been willing to accommodate us.
The food is delicious and inexpensive. By far the best restaurant for Indian food in the Athens area.
Skouze 14, Piraeus. Open Monday to Sunday 12 pm to 12 am.
Vegan-Friendly Restaurants in Athens
With so few options for actual sit-down vegan restaurants in Athens, you may want to go to some non-vegan places at some point during your stay. These are tried and tested and I absolutely recommend them if you run out of vegan places to go to in Athens.
The Best Vegetarian Restaurant in Athens
Before Lime Bistro opened we often went to Avocado. It’s a vegetarian restaurant which is much better than a meat restaurant with a few vegan options, in my opinion. Avocado also has the best location of any of the places on this list. It’s a mere five-minute walk from the Greek Parliament so you can come here for lunch or dinner after you watch the changing of the guards.
Avocado is probably also the place with the best service in Athens. The Iranian owner grew up in the USA, and you’ll definitely get the kind of attentive service you’re used to from North America. What better combination than Iranian hospitality and American customer orientation?
The Avocado menu is a lot more interesting than at a lot of the other places in Athens. There are burgers, pasta, and pizza, of course, but there are mainly excellent rice and noodle dishes. They even use tempeh which I haven’t seen anywhere else in Greece.
Avocado offers enough vegan options to satisfy everyone with everything being delicious and really filling. My one complaint would be that there seems to be some confusion with regards to honey. The menu states that most juices and smoothies are vegan, but actually many of them include honey.
The place is very warm and cozy, especially upstairs where you get to sit on floor cushions.
Nikis 30. Open Monday to Saturday 12 pm to 11 pm, Sunday 12 pm to 7 pm.
Vegan Buffet Events
Another vegetarian restaurant in Athens is Healthy Bites. As the name suggests, they want to offer healthy options in Athens. There are many traditional Greek dishes that have been veganized, but you have to check which ones are vegan and not only vegetarian.
They regularly host vegan buffet nights, such as Brazilian or Japanese vegan buffets. Such a nice idea! The atmosphere isn’t amazing, to be honest. But if you happen to be in Athens during one of their buffets you should reserve a table here because you get to try completely different cuisines. Otherwise, the place is more suitable for breakfast and lunch as it closes too early for dinner.
Panepistimiou 25. Open Monday, Tuesday, and Friday 7 am to 7 pm, Saturday 10 am to 6 pm.
If You Want Raw Vegan Food
Back in the southern suburb Glyfada, you can find raw vegetarian restaurant Yi. I went here only once years ago because there were barely any vegan restaurants in Athens so I can’t really say much about the food. But if you’re looking for raw food you will want to check them out.
What is amazing about Yi is that it’s very spacious which is not the case in most other restaurants on this list. They have a huge menu with exciting dishes such as vegan cheese platters and more upscale items if you want to move away from all the street food.
Grigoriou Lampraki 69, Glyfada. Open Monday to Friday 8:30 am to 12 am, Saturday 9 am to 1 am, Sunday 9 am to 12 am.
Juice Bars in Athens
Juice bars can be an excellent way to charge your body with some nutritious snacks and juices. There are a few of them in Athens, but only Up-Kittariki Threpsi is almost vegan (sadly, they use honey).
There are enough smoothies and juices for every taste. Amazing during hot Athenian summers!
Akadimias 91. Open Monday to Friday 7 am to 9 pm, Saturday 8 am to 8 pm.
Close to the Acropolis museum, you can find Froots Juice Bar, a really cozy place with a lovely backyard. They offer juices, smoothies, hot drinks, salads, soups, and sandwiches. You can ask for almond milk for your hot drinks, but they don’t have any other plant milk option. Keep that in mind if you’re allergic to almonds.
They’re not a vegetarian or vegan place, but they do have vegan options if you want to have a small snack after exploring the Acropolis.
Athanasiou Diakou 6. Open Monday to Friday 8 am to 4 pm, Saturday and Sunday 10 am to 4 pm.
Falafel in Athens
Something strange has been happening in recent years. I see people in vegan travel groups talking about hummus and falafel as if these were traditional Greek dishes. They’re not. That means that you will get the best and cheapest falafel in Athens at Arab street food places.
If you want to taste the best falafel in Athens you have to go to Sumsum. This Syrian street food spot a few steps from Bamboo Vegan is the place for authentic falafel, hummus, and tabbouleh. (Speaking of tabbouleh, never order it at a Greek restaurant if you don’t want to be disappointed. What you will get is something in between tabbouleh and kısır, and not in an exciting way.)
Sumsum also makes vegan burgers and other delicious foods. Definitely a must if you want falafel in Athens.
Solonos 86. Open Monday to Friday 12 pm to 11:30 pm, Saturday 11 am to 11 pm.
The far more popular spot for falafel in Athens is Falafellas. During peak hours you’ll find the longest queues I’ve ever seen for such a small street food place. But surprisingly, this is not an overrated hipster place. The falafel really is that good. So if you’re in the center of Athens and crave falafel Falafellas is another great option.
Aiolou 51. Open Monday to Thursday 11 am to 11pm, Friday and Saturday 11 am to 12 am.
If You’re in the Middle of Nowhere
If you’re stuck somewhere far from any of these places (or at the airport) there’s always Grigoris. This Greek coffee shop chain has a few quick vegan bites: vegan spinach pie, potato pie, salad, falafel wrap, and a donut. I don’t really like most of these options, but what can you do if you’re hungry and there’s nothing else around?
Vegan Delivery in Athens
Delivery is probably not something you think about as a tourist. But maybe you live in Athens and are wondering where you can order vegan food.
While many of the vegan restaurants in Athens deliver, there’s also Pizza Bite which does exclusively delivery. In terms of options, they’re unbeatable. Four starters, seven vegan pizzas, a Beyond Meat burger, three salads, five vegan pasta dishes (four of which can also be ordered oven-baked), four vegan calzones, a vegetable gratin, and three desserts. Can you believe it?
The portions are very filling, the food is tasty. There’s not much else you could ask for. But…
The Cons with Pizza Bite
There are two major issues with Pizza Bite. First of all, they are extremely slow. When we order online we usually get a notification that our order will arrive in 50 (FIFTY) minutes. But as if that weren’t slow enough, it always takes a lot longer. We’ve never had our food in under an hour, and 1.5 hours is quite common. And it’s not like we live on the other side of the city. In fact, we live about ten minutes from them.
And then they regularly mess up orders. You order and pay for garlic crust or extra vegan chicken? Well, there’s a good chance you won’t get those. And when we’ve called to mention this we were told that we probably didn’t see the garlic crust. Needless to say, we’ve often regretted ordering from them.
Nonetheless, as the only delivery place in Athens with so many vegan options, you could give them a try. They’re constantly expanding their vegan menu, and I hope they manage to fix the other issues.
Agion Panton 55, Kallithea. Open Tuesday to Friday 12:30 pm to 12:30 am, Saturday and Sunday 2 pm to 1 am.
Vegan Ice Cream and Sweets in Athens
Vegan Ice Cream in Athens
Greece is a summer destination, and Athens gets very hot in the summer. So you will definitely want to cool off with some ice cream during your trip. Several ice cream shops have sorbets which are usually vegan. But if you’re like me sorbets can get boring easily. When it comes to ice cream, there are not that many options, but some of them are all the more delicious.
Not far from Froots Juice Bar and close to the Acropolis museum, you will find Ice Queen Gelato. They have a few vegan options though mainly sorbet and not much ice cream. The chocolate flavor is pretty good, and they even make vegan waffles.
Weirdly, they are closed on Sundays which is kind of the perfect day to get some ice cream and go for a walk. Hence I’ve only been here twice.
Makrigianni 9. Open Monday to Saturday 10 am to 7 pm.
If you’re looking for exciting flavors of vegan ice cream in Athens you should head to Full Spoon. I fell in love with this place after trying their vegan pistachio ice cream! Pistachio was always my favorite ice cream flavor so it was great to find it at Full Spoon. They make different vegan flavors every day so you simply go and let them surprise you.
Sadly, this also means that on more than one occasion they didn’t have my beloved vegan pistachio ice cream. But there are always several vegan options around. I’d say that some of the flavors are too sweet, but maybe that’s exactly what you’re looking for.
Ermou 123. Open Monday to Thursday 8 am to 11 pm, Friday 8 am to 1 am, Saturday 8:30 am to 1 am, Sunday 8:30 am to 11 pm.
Vegan Ice Cream in the Suburbs
For the best vegan ice cream in the Athens area, you’ll have to head out to the suburb Nea Smyrni. Arte Italiana has the best vegan ice cream I’ve ever tried. About half of their flavors are vegan! I’m not joking, the selection is enormous.
They also make excellent vegan pistachio ice cream. And they introduced me to something I didn’t know had been missing from my life: vegan cinnamon ice cream! Heavenly!
The flavors are so intense and pure and remind me of that amazing ice cream in Italy with no added flavors, only pure deliciousness. One scoop is huge though so you won’t be able to try more than one flavor at a time.
2as Maiou 24, Nea Smyrni. Open Monday to Thursday 9 am to 11 pm, Friday 9 am to 12 am, Saturday 9 am to 12:30 am, Sunday 9:30 am to 11 pm.
A Traditional Treat
If you want to try a more traditional sweet (and you should) schedule in a visit to Lukumades. This tiny place in the center of Athens offers the sweet which goes by the same name in Greek. Lokma is an Ottoman pastry that is by itself vegan. It’s usually the toppings that make it not vegan.
But at Lukumades you can get agave syrup instead of honey. And you can even get a vegan chocolate praline filling. Or would you prefer vegan ice cream and chocolate sauce as a topping? You could even combine them all. Though, in that case, I’d suggest you share a serving with someone. Otherwise, you won’t be able to finish it without feeling horrible.
The Only Disappointing Vegan Place in Athens
I wouldn’t be honest if I had only raving reviews for all the vegan restaurants in Athens. Most places have their pros and cons. But there is one place that I simply can’t recommend as much as I would love to.
Vegan Beat is a tiny fast-food place super close to most of the sights you’ll probably see as a tourist. The central location is probably also why so many people go there. It’s quite cozy actually although it quickly fills up because there are only a few tables.
Sadly, the food is underwhelming. With all the amazing reviews I was determined to keep going back there and giving Vegan Beat a chance, but I never had anything that really stood out to me. Whatever I ordered was okay at best. And when I found a cat hair in my food I decided that that was my last visit.
I will say that pretty much everyone I went there with liked the food. So maybe it’s me and you’ll love this place.
So there you have it: my ultimate guide to vegan restaurants in Athens. Let me know which places you’ve tried! And don’t forget to share this with any vegans who are traveling to Athens.