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Athens is known for being home to an abundance of magnificent museums. Athens is also known for its mouthwatering gastronomy. What do you get when you combine the two? Splendid museum restaurants and cafés offer much more than a chance to catch your breath while struggling to fit several museum visits in a single day.
But it wasn’t always like this. Not long ago, most museums in Athens were mere resting spots for weary travelers in need of a quick bite or a cup of coffee.
It wasn’t until the new Acropolis Museum opened its doors to the public -along with its fabulous restaurant that offers amazing views of the Parthenon- that alluring museum restaurants and cafés started popping up around Athens.
Nowadays, one could argue that they are attractions in their own right, offering delicious finger food, sophisticated coffee, high-end wine, and live music gigs in extraordinary settings.
Read on to discover some excellent museum restaurants and cafés in Athens and make sure to schedule some time off after each museum visit; we are certain you are not going to regret it.
Acropolis Museum Café & Restaurant
The Acropolis Museum is rightfully on the top of our list.
Athens’ most recent gem features a modern venue that serves both as a cafe and a restaurant on the second floor, high above the surrounding buildings of the Koukaki neighborhood, allowing visitors to enjoy their meal while marveling at Acropolis Hill and the Parthenon.
The venue is open until late in the evening and it offers both indoor seating and a rooftop terrace that has become one of the most beautiful spots of the city.
Even though the Acropolis Museum is located downtown, in a neighborhood that brims with upscale restaurants and all kinds of eateries, its restaurant is worth a visit even if you have no interest in visiting the museum itself.
It serves traditional Greek cuisine with a modern twist, using almost exclusively local seasonal products while it also features a children’s menu.
How to get there: Acropolis metro station (red line)
Combine your visit to the Acropolis Museum Cafe and Restaurant with a sightseeing tour. Book your tickets online now, or join a small group and enjoy a detailed walking tour of the Acropolis! Free cancelation – Skip the line ticket!
Museum of Cycladic Art Café
Housed in the Goulandris Museum of Cycladic Art in Kolonaki, the Museum of Cycladic Art Café is the work of famous architect Stelios Kois who was tasked with the challenge of renovating the museum’s café space.
The result is a tiny oasis in the heart of the museum with the neoclassical wings on one side and the more contemporary annex on the other.
Even though the Museum of Cycladic Art Café is indoors, a glass roof combined with the plant-covered walls will make you feel that you are seated at an alfresco terrace.
The cafe’s minimalist aesthetics are in line both with the museum and the upscale neighborhood of Kolonaki in which it is located.
It serves delicious breakfast, brunch coffee, and snacks that are ideal for a quick pit stop while sightseeing.
Benaki Museum is located in the chic neighborhood of Kolonaki and it’s very likely that it will be included in your Athens itinerary, especially if you are an art lover or a history buff.
It houses an incredible collection that showcases the country’s turbulent history and rich cultural heritage, as well as a rooftop cafe-restaurant that is just as spectacular.
The museum’s cafe is located on the top-floor terrace, offering impeccable views over the National Gardens of Athens and the Panathenaic Stadium as well as a laid-back atmosphere that will make you forget that you are in one of the most central spots in the city.
Its menu is not extensive but it does include simple and delicious traditional Greek dishes that are ideal for a light lunch and a short break from getting around the city.
How to get there: Evangelismos metro station (blue line)
Benaki Museum Cafe (Pireos Street)
Benaki Museum’s second branch, located on Pireos Street just a few minutes away from the area of Kerameikos, features a collection of modern art and hosts art and photography exhibitions by both local and international artists.
It’s a must for those that are looking for the more contemporary side of Athens and who enjoy discovering the work of up-and-coming artists.
The museum’s cafe is just as cozy and elegant as the central Benaki Museum cafe, with a short menu with a few delicious options for breakfast and lunch.
How to get there: Thissio metro station (green line)
Byzantine and Christian Museum Café
The Byzantine & Christian Museum café is a gem hidden in plain sight on the crowded Vasilissis Sofias avenue in the area of Kolonaki.
Just pass through the arch that stands on the busy avenue and you’ll find yourselves at an alluring courtyard among old buildings (one of which is the palace of the Duchess of Plaisance) next to Ilissia Café, a small café-bistro that is part of the Byzantine and Christian Museum.
The café has several tables in the courtyard and many more at the back where you can enjoy a glass of iced coffee or grab a bite while enjoying the landscaped gardens and the view of Mount Imittos.
Apart from refreshments and snacks, you can have a light lunch here, picking off a menu that includes salads, traditional Greek dishes, finger food as well as a few dishes inspired by Byzantine cuisine.
Its enchanting bistro called “Black Duck Garden” on the other hand, is extremely popular, especially among locals.
Located at the back of the museum in a lush garden, it remains open from early in the morning until late at night serving breakfast, brunch, main dishes inspired by central European cuisines, desserts, and fancy cocktails.
The imposing 19th-century mansion of the museum adds to the extraordinary vibe and creates a unique atmosphere.
Black Duck Garden also hosts concerts and other events in the evening. Make sure to check out their website before visiting.
How to get there: Panepistimio metro station (red line)
Lalaounis Jewelry Museum Café
Nestled in the shade of Acropolis Hill, the Ilias Lalaounis Jewelry Museum is the brainchild of a famous Greek jewelry designer who wanted to present the art of jewelry-making to the world by exhibiting a huge collection of jewelry, jewels, and gems.
This unique museum also features an elegant café located at the patio of the building that is excellent for a short break and a refreshing drink right before or after you visit the Parthenon.
How to get there: Acropolis metro station (red line)
Basil and Elise Goulandris Foundation Restaurant & Café
This charming art cafe opened its doors to the public along with Basil and Elise Goulandris Foundation’s new museum in Pangrati that features an extraordinary private art collection.
It wasn’t long after, however, that it started standing out as an exceptional attraction in its own right.
Its contemporary design was inspired by some of the most famous artworks hanging inside the museum while it’s sitting alone, a cozy courtyard decorated with lush green plants, is enough to help you relax while you enjoy a healthy breakfast, a gourmet brunch, or a colorful salad.
There are also plenty of vegetarian and vegan options to choose from.
But that doesn’t mean that you should miss out on taking some time to relax while enjoying a local delicacy or a cold drink after a long walk.
When the time comes, just open up this list with the best museum restaurants and cafés in Athens and plan accordingly to combine sightseeing with gastronomy and leisure.
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