I took a vegan-friendly food tour and a plant-based cooking workshop during my recent visit to Athens.
They were both excellent experiences and are perfectly suitable for vegans and vegetarians.
I’ve been travelling as a vegan for about 15 years now, and although the world has become much more vegan friendly over the years, I never take it for granted.
Plant Based Cooking Class
The Plant Kingdom is a vegan restaurant, catering service and workshop space that promotes healthy eating.
We went there for a cooking class that included both vegan and raw dishes and ended with an excellent meal.
Some dishes were vegan versions of traditional Greek foods.
Upon arrival, we got a warm welcome from the owners, George and Esco, who gave us a brief introduction to the place and to the food we were about to make.
They handed out the recipes and we each got to pick which dishes we wanted to work on. I went straight to work on the avocado chocolate mousse cake 🙂
It was fun to follow the recipes alongside our instructors and the atmosphere was very friendly and laid back.
In between cooking and eating, Esco told us about the healing power of plants, the environmental advantages of eating vegan food and the health benefits of having unprocessed food.
We later made a sunflower seed dip, which in my many years as a vegan I must admit I’d never had before. I loved it. We had it with crispy, savoury carob crackers.
Another starter was a great vegan version of tzatziki, made with coconut yogurt.
Next, we had raw courgette spaghetti in cashew based pesto sauce. Can’t go wrong with cashew!
After a much needed short break (I was completely full at this point…) we had another Greek dish: A very tasty moussaka, which was 100% vegan with aubergine slices, lentils and vegan béchamel sauce.
For dessert, we took the avocado chocolate mousse cake out of the fridge and it was irresistible.
All in all, it was a wonderful, creative meal and a great experience. We learnt some new kitchen tips and tricks and enjoyed the friendly vibes.
It’s a great way to spend a few hours in Athens, learn new recipes and techniques and enjoy Greek cuisine in its plant-based version.
Vegan and Vegetarian Friendly Food Tour
The second experience I recommend is a food tour around Athens.
We met our guide Marina Tsikou at our hotel, where she gave us a quick introduction to food in Greece.
Marina runs Greekality, a tailor-made food tour experience, and as we were a mixed group of vegans, vegetarians and omnivores, she was happy to personalise the tour for us.
She told us that despite the image of the Greek cuisine as meat-heavy, traditionally it did not include a lot of meat.
Greece has the weather for growing fresh vegetables, and you can really feel the difference when you eat out anywhere in Athens.
The first stop on our tour was Wild Souls. It was also my favourite stop on the tour.
It’s a really beautiful red-pink space. The walls are lined with jars of nut and seed butter and marmalade.
We sat around the table in the cosy cafe and sampled some of the original dishes they make there.
Everything in this sweet place is vegan, except for some products that contain honey.
We had hot halva with lemon, toast with all kinds of nut spreads and veggies, vegan cheese and vegan pesto, and various sweet-yet-sugar-free dips (you have to try the pistachio!)
A delicious vegan pie with spinach, lentils and berries was next and it was fresh with surprisingly strong flavours.
The menu changes daily, so these are just a few of the things they serve.
This is the kind of place I’d be happy to return to again on my next visit to Athens.
Next, we went to a place that makes Peinirli. It’s a local dish, originally from Turkey, that resembles pizza.
It’s normally made with cheese and béchamel sauce.
We asked for a vegan option and they made us one with tomato sauce, mushrooms, onions, cherry tomatoes and olives.
It was very tasty and the texture was perfect: Crispy on the outside and soft on the inside.
On our third stop we tried the most popular Greek street food, Souvlaki, which is basically, skewers of grilled meat and vegetables in pita bread
The place we went to had vegan and vegetarian options on the menu. They replace the meat with vegetables and mushrooms. It’s a nice quick meal to have on the go.
We moved on to see the market, which had all the fresh fruit and veg you could ask for, plus nuts and olives.
Another stop in the tour was a small traditional taverna, where we sat outdoors and shared some Greek meze (tapas-style small plates).
Many of them were plant-based, such as fried aubergines and beans in tomato sauce.
I have to advise you to go on this tour on an empty stomach. You’ll get full really quickly and there’s so much good food to try, you wouldn’t want to miss out on anything!
We made a few more stops in the tour, as our guide was keen on showing us different types of places beyond the classic Greek food eateries.
We ended the tour in a super stylish bar called Noel. It’s inside an arcade and its design is no less than surreal.
After taking about a million photos of the place (don’t miss the second floor!), we sat down for drinks.
The cocktail menu was impressive as was the tea and coffee menu and it was a fun place to end our tour.
Taking a food tour with a local is always a good idea.
Marina was super friendly and knowledgeable throughout the tour. She knows all the hidden gems around the city and was happy to give us more tips on places to visit.
More Vegan Athens Tips
While Athens is generally a vegan-friendly city, if you travel to Athens as a vegan or as a vegetarian, you still want to do some planning in advance.
Use Vegan Apps
There are 16 restaurants and cafes in Athens that are 100% vegan, so for a short visit of a few days, you’ll have plenty of choice and more than enough places to eat.
Just wandering into any random cafe and expecting them to have soy milk for my coffee proved unsuccessful on a couple of occasions.
Maybe it was just bad luck, but in any case, that’s why I always prefer to stick to places recommended on vegan guides and vegan apps.
Vegan and Vegetarian Places to Eat in Athens
Out of the many vegan and vegetarian restaurants in the city, the name that comes up most frequently is Avocado. It’s one of the most famous vegetarian places in Athens.
I remember eating there on my previous visit to Athens, which was 5 years ago! It’s nice to see that veggie places can survive for so long.
Another long standing vegan place you want to visit is Bamboo. It’s a vegan shop in the centre of Athens, with a small vegan cafe next to it.
A lovely vegan place I went to on this trip is called Vaganaki. I recommend their vegan moussaka, which makes for a perfect lunch. They have plenty of other options on the menu.
Eat at a Traditional Greek Taverna
If you want to experience an authentic, traditional Greek taverna, you can do that easily as a vegan.
That’s because so many of the meze served at the beginning of each meal are incidentally vegan.
On our trip we went out to a taverna with live Greek music one evening, which was very lively and had a great atmosphere.
The place is called Palia Athina and is very popular, so you want to book a table, or just get there early.
The Greek meze we had were all excellent. We had stuffed vine leaves, Fava bean dip, a Geek salad, baked beans in tomato sauce, a spinach pastry and (surprisingly?) potato chips…
For vegetarians, there are some Greek meze that contain cheese.
We also got small bottles of ouzo and rakia to have with our meal and they went down well with the Greek music in the background.
The Greek music they have in the evening is played with traditional instruments in one room of the restaurant, but you can sit in any of the other rooms and hear it through the speakers.
The meze are starters, but the kind of starters that don’t leave room in your stomach for much else 😉
The main courses were meat based. I didn’t even bother to ask if they had other options, because by the time we finished our starters, hardly any of us could eat any more…
Planning a Trip to Athens
- Book your flight, train or bus to Athens on Omio
- Check out the most beautiful boutique hotels in Athens
- Learn how to pack light for Europe
- Get travel insurance
- Find more things to do in Athens
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I was a guest of Greekality, The Plant Kingdom and Palia Athina. All opinions are my own.