City Guide Snippet: O Thanasis, Athens

Roasted tomatoes. Check. Sweet onions. Check. Fresh green chopped parsley. Check. A juicy kebab (or four) with a hint of spice. Check. A fluffy, grilled pita. Check. A healthy dusting of rich, smoky paprika. Check.

If your to do list reads like mine then the place to find yourself, when in Athens, is at O Thanasis. It’s located just off Monastiraki Square (69 Mitropoleos, Athens) the flea market neighborhood in the old town of Athens.

Thanasis is no tourist trap. It is an Athenian institution and is jam packed with locals and tourists alike. While you may have to wait a little while to grab a seat – it is well worth it. Especially if you have built up your appetite traipsing the slick glass floors of the new acropolis museum or scaling the steps to the Acropolis under a blisteringly bright Athenian sun.

If you happen to be wearing a loose, flowing summer dress or some wonderfully stretchy trousers, then you’ll be correctly attired for the “full dinner”. That is four big juicy kebabs. If you are a lover of all things hot, then be sure to also get yourself a plate of the hot green peppers. They pack a punch, so be sure to also get yourself a plate of thick, refreshing tzatziki to cool the raging fire on your palate. Even if you have the strongest willpower in the world, you also can’t go past a plate of golden pataes (ie. chunky home-style fries/chips) with a light sprinkling of rigani.

Not wearing your stretchy pants? A party of two? The charmingly efficient, big blokey-bloke waiters at Thanasis will happily spilt your four kebabs into a smaller version of two each – with the same beautiful rich, roasted summer tomatoes, onions, parsley and paprika.

The bounty at Thanasis is best washed down with a icy cold flagon of Fix. The classic Greek beer (it’s buildings were some of the most iconic modernist architecture in Athens), which was relauched in 2010 after many years in the wilderness. If beer bubbles mixed with a fluffy pita are not to your persuasion – then a cooling house red (which is more of a chilled rose) is an equally good match.

Looking to stretch your legs after the “full dinner”? Then a long stroll to Thisio in the cool of the evening is highly recommended. Once there, you can nestle yourself into see a classic old school movie, like Peter Seller’s “The Party” at the open air cinema – and take in the view of the “Highest City” awash with a warm evening glow.

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Maira Gall