Athens is a unique city with a modern metropolitan vibe and a deep historical significance.
As the city is ever-evolving, so has its culinary map, introducing more and more fresh ideas and suggestions for locals and travellers alike. But don’t be fooled, it’s not ‘all greek’ to us. Athens has a surprisingly long list of ‘ethnic’ and Asian restaurants, representing countries and cuisines that were somewhat unknown to the Athenian public a decade ago. These restaurants not only provide the ‘alternative’ choice of eating out but they introduced a menu with dishes that changed the game in the city’s food scene with their high quality and chefs’ mastery. Where can one find the best sushi in town? Where can one try something more than noodles and spring rolls? In this article we present to you the best Asian restaurants in Athens, each different in what they offer and how, but all only a breath away from the historical centre of the city!
Written by Savina Skourmalla on 1-8-2023
- Hanoi Restaurant – A true taste of Vietnam!
The newest entry in the asian cuisine scene in Athens is the cosy Hanoi Restaurant. Located in the heart of Athens, in one of the most hip and well hidden streets of Athens, this Vietnamese restaurant has quickly established itself as one of the best asian restaurants in Athens. The owner, a third generation Vietnamese lady, has assembled a team of talented Vietnamese chefs and staff that offer quality and comfort food from their beloved country.
In contrast to the neighbouring coffee shops and restaurants Hanoi is very strict when it comes to its decoration and it’s very easy to miss if you are in a hurry. But the line usually waiting for a table will make you want to give this place a try and see what it is all about.
The menu is small and true to quality over quantity. Here you will taste only the very best of the fascinating Vietnamese cuisine. Hanoi’s signature dish, the Pho soup, is served warm and plenty, with a broth that has been shimmering for 12 hours before it arrives on your table that gives this dish a deep umami flavour. The ‘vietnamese rolls’ are as beautiful as they are tasty and the steamy bao buns are served in the traditional way, inside a bamboo steamer!
The crispy duck, a personal favourite, is served with noodles and vegetables in an appetising portion. There are some things you will recognize in the menu if you are an avid asian food lover, like szechuan porn, satay beef, as well as delicious dim sum but their version in Hanoi will definitely be very different to what you are used to.
Hanoi is definitely the place we call ‘value for money’ with deeply tasty dishes, alternative textures and acidities and budget friendly options. Next time you take a stroll around the streets of Ermou, don’t hesitate to stop by Hanoi restaurant and see for yourself why it’s considered one of the best asian restaurants in Athens!
Address: Petraki 12, Athina 105 63
Hours: 12 PM – 12 AM
Phone: 21 3045 1379
2. Dosirak – The best Korean ‘lunch box’!
‘Dosirak’ in Korean means ‘lunch box’ and the food that is served in it, and it is typically served in South Korea. The restaurant opened its doors in 2004 and was one of the first restaurants to introduce Korean food to the Athenian foodies. The last decade however, with the vast popularity of k-pop and the so-called ‘hallyu wave’ that includes Korean pop-culture, entertainment and tv, Korean food has also become a fave among local fans and enthusiasts alike. Due to this sudden popularity and demand, Dosirak has become one of the favourite places to enjoy Korean cuisine and the restaurant has quickly become one of the best asian restaurants in Athens.
You will find Dosirak in the heart of the Asian hub of the city, located in Voulis street, only a breath away from Ermou street. Its cosy character and minimal aesthetic along with the friendly and helpful staff will give you a unique chance to dig into this fascinating cuisine and try things you probably never had before in other Asian restaurants. The menu is divided into two sections, the Korean and the Japanese menu and there are plenty of options to choose from. The Japanese menu includes freshly made sushi rolls, tempura, teriyaki chicken and udon soup and many other favourite Japanese dishes. From the Korean menu you can choose from a variety of dishes, from starters to main courses. Try kimchi, the super popular (and spicy) fermented cabbage that has become a trend among food bloggers and lovers and you are up for a treat! In Korea, kimchi is served with many different small side dishes (‘banchan’) that include vegetables, each cooked and presented differently for you to mix and match!
Korean cuisine is spicy, so if this isn’t your cup of tea then you can simply ask the staff to adjust the spiciness level to your liking! Another great dish to try and a personal favourite is bulgogi, thin marinated beef slices that come to your table sizzling and mouthwatering.
Bimbimbap is a great bowl to share as it includes rice, vegetables, meat, egg and spicy gochujang sauce which is all mixed in a spoon and can be shared around the table.
You have probably tried noodles before but you might never have tried Korean sweet potato starch glass noodles (japhae) stir fried with vegetables, so don’t be afraid to give it a shot.
Speaking of shots, in Dosirak you will find the finest brands of Soju and Makgeolli, two of Korea’s most popular alcoholic drinks with rice base. Soju is perfect to accompany with meat and kimchi dishes whereas Makgeolli is way lower on alcohol and absolutely refreshing!
Address: Voulis 33, Athina 105 57
Hours: 12 PM – 11:30 PM
Phone: 21 0323 3330
3. Madam Phu Man Chu – Vietnamese local experience
One of the newest and tastiest arrivals is the Vietnamese Madam Phu Man Chu. This restaurant has quickly become the talk of the town, not only because of its authentic Vietnamese food but also because of its non-conformist style.
Whoever comes here should be ready for one thing: to taste the authentic local experience of Vietnamese cuisine, and not some altered European version of it that would please the crowds. The ever smiling chef, Vu Dinh Hung, is working hard in his open kitchen, preparing deeply tasty, aromatic, fresh and delicate dishes that you can only find in the street stalls of Hanoi and this is exactly the experience he wishes to give to everyone who visits Madam Phu Man Chu.
The menu is small but carefully selected to bring the best this extraordinary cuisine has to offer and each day you can enjoy the ‘specialty of the day’. Vegetables play the main role in this eastern cuisine so a vegetarian would be really happy to find a variety of fresh rolls, soups and colourful salads that combine a variety of ingredients (some of which grow in his urban roof garden) and textures. One of the most popular dishes is the beef skewer marinated with lemongrass and chilli. The stir fried mussels with basil, ginger, chilli and lots of garlic will definitely take you on a sea journey to the South China waters.
It is said that Barack Obama’s favourite dish can be found in Madam Phu Man Chu and it’s a bowl of noodles with two different types of meat (beef burger and pork fillet), salad, pickles and peanuts. From the sound of it, it has everything but it tastes even better (pro tip: add some fish sauce in the dish and mix all the ingredients together!).
But food is not all there is about this funky place. After you’ve satisfied your appetite it’s time to enjoy a drink, whether that’s some light Vietnamese beer or one of the place’s signature cocktails (with non-alcoholic choices too). Accompanied by the paper chinese dragon hanging from above and Ho Chi Minh’s marble bust, you will tell and hear unique stories about far far away places you’ve visited or wish to visit.
On a final note, if you are wondering who this Madame Phu Man Chu is, she has nothing to do with Sax Rohmer. This lady exists and she lives above the restaurant, regularly checking on her Vietnamese friends!
Address: Praxitelous 36 &, Skouleniou 4, Athina 105 61
Hours: 5 PM – 11:30 PM
Phone: 21 0323 1366
4. Ikura sushi bar – Best sushi in the heart of town!
Another new entry in the Asian food web of the city is the small but strong Ikura Sushi bar. This fusion restaurant which is only a 3 minute walk from Syntagma square offers a wide selection of delicious sushi and other asian fusion suggestions.
The name comes from the japanese word “ikura” which means salmon’s caviar and it immediately makes you think of appetising and scrumptious little sushi rolls. The black and red hues and the beautiful Japanese wall art creates a friendly and cosy environment and makes it one of the best asian restaurants in Athens.
As a restaurant specialising in sushi, here you will find a long list of sushi, sashimi and nigiri from different kinds of fish (salmon, tuna, shrimp, sea bass, eel) and with different ingredients. Maki rolls, inside out sushi, temaki and hosomaki single or combined and fairly priced will make everyone around the table happy. There are 3 combo sushi choices (20, 30, 56 pieces) from which you can choose and have your favourite sushi included.
Aside from sushi, the rich menu offers a variety of Japanese, Korean and Chinese dishes. From gyoza to Korean spicy squid and from chicken wings to szechuan pork, the options are endless. At the end of your meal you will have the chance to enjoy the japanese rice delicacy ‘mochi’ in 3 different and tasty flavours.
So if you’re looking for a little of everything and don’t really know what to try but still want to taste some good asian food, Ikura Sushi bar is the place for you!
Address: Filellinon 7, Athina 105 57
Hours: 12 PM – 11 PM
Phone: 21 2105 6345
5. Birdman – A japanese pub in the center of Athens!
This intimate Japanese grill gastropub is the child of chef Ari Vazene is a unique and high quality restaurant serving japanese style yakitori in a beautiful place with lo-fi music that has nothing to be jealous of the late night eateries of Tokyo.
The protagonist in Birdman is the grill where all the action takes place. You can choose from a variety of skewers from different meat cuts as well as fish and enjoy them fresh out of the grill and on your plate. All you have to do is sit at the bar and watch as the chef coordinates the show like a maestro and prepares the finest ‘yakitori’ for you.The skewers are usually accompanied by the finest ingredients like wagyu, truffle and even caviar.
The absolute best seller of Birdman and a must-try dish is the Birdman Smash, a signature dish by the chef who stays true to his American roots while infusing his love for Japanese cuisine in this ‘smashing’ burger. The ‘tonkatsu ketchup’ used in this burger is the absolute bridge between west and east as it’s fused with mirin and Worcestershire sauce and gives this dish a smoked and fine japanese taste.
A pub is never complete without a good drink list and Birdman offers exactly that and more with many options to choose from. It’s a great place to try Japanese brands of gin, whiskey and of course sake to accompany your meal. Ask the people behind the bar to give you their suggestions for a complete and elevated gastronomic experience in one of the best asian restaurants of Athens!If you are a sworn foodie but also one of those travellers who wish to explore the city like a true local, sign up for a thrilling and fun city bike tour in the heart of Athens. Before grabbing your chopsticks don’t miss the chance to ride through all the local favourite areas and learn more about Athenian food and drink culture!