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Athens

olive oil olives greece mediterranean foodYou will never go hungry in Athens. From Michelin-starred restaurants to traditional tavernas, the local dining scene offers tastes to suit all budgets. Fresh-caught seafood, grilled lamb, tangy feta cheese and flaky baklava are best enjoyed from Athens' many sunny sidewalk tables. When looking for a place for dinner, keep in mind that Greeks dine late (think 9 or 10 p.m.), and that many restaurants will not take credit cards.

For taverna-style dining, head to Plaka. Admittedly touristy, one good choice is Taverna Zorbas. Eden (at Misicleos and Lyssiou) is a good vegetarian option.

In central Athens, Ideal is the place where the local hoi polloi lunch; on our visit, my Grecian pal pointed out such celebrities as an actress from a TV sitcom, a bank president, a famous Bouzouki singer and a newscaster. The food is a mixture of Greek specialties (the meatballs in a spicy tomato sauce zinged with ouzo were delicious, as are the grape leaves stuffed with meat and rice) and "continental" ones (pasta carbonara). Reservations are recommended.

It doesn't come cheap, but Varoulko offers some of the finest and freshest seafood in Athens -- complete with a fabulous view of the Acropolis from the rooftop terrace. Reservations are essential.

Offering a modern twist on the traditional Greek taverna, Mamacas is an Athenian favorite. The feta is fresh, the decor is chic and the waiters are almost impossibly attractive -- what's not to love?

Snack food, a variety of sodas, water and fresh orange juice are available at the Acropolis, located in front of the ticket office prior to entrance into the site. Water and such cannot be purchased once inside; however, books and postcards are available to purchase at the front entrance next to the theater and at the small museum.
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