Shoes are certainly recommended over flip-flops, especially in the fish market – the ground is usually wet with puddles of rather fishy melted ice.
Greeks have a well-earned reputation for delicious food, and many of them make a trip to the Athens Central Market when they need supplies. Located slightly to the north of the Acropolis, and sometimes known as the Varvakios Agora, the market is a whirling melting pot that will assault your senses with the sights, sounds and smells of a renowned world food culture.
A Cook’s Paradise
Entering the meat market, you’ll immediately be confronted by carcasses of all descriptions – some recognisable, others not – hung up on meathooks, often quirkily illuminated by brightly coloured lights. The butchers frequently have forefathers stretching back a hundred years or more who have plied the same trade, and they cheerfully bellow the prices of their wares to all who care to listen. In the fish market you can find fish from the Aegean, the Adriatic, and even as far afield as South America. Particularly fun is the vegetable market, where olive-sellers offer some of the finest produce in the world for you to peruse and sample at your leisure.
More Than a Load of Tripe
If the sight of all this food makes you peckish, look for one of four traditional “working class” restaurants located within the market. They are crowded and noisy, and you may have to queue for ten minutes to get in at lunchtime, but they use the freshest produce and serve up delicious traditional meals to order. If you’re feeling brave, try the patsas soup. It’s made using tripe and lamb’s feet, but locals swear by it as a hangover cure – especially in winter.
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