Known for its urban ambience yet a homey neighbourhood feel, Pangrati was always a favourite amongst the art and politics circles, also attracting visiting students due to its central location next to all of Athens’ vibrant life. Its recent influx of tourists and the abundance of short-term lets has given it an international vibe, giving birth to new spots and ideas available for the curious ones to explore.
I first visited Pangrati as a student, keen to explore Athens on foot. Tungsten lights hanging over low-levelled wiring is probably the first thing you notice in the area. Its tourism footfall centers around the Panathenaic stadium in all-white marble, the National Gallery and soon enough the upcoming Goulandris Museum of Contemporary Art due to open in early 2018.
Nevertheless, the curious one fell for it due to its unpretentious feel and its homey charm abundant in all the cafés and places around. The sunlight during the morning hours hits the walls of Pangrati and creates that buzzing feel, adding so much to it. Greek delis, art shops and indie galleries share streets with pizzerias, casual tavernas and gourmet restaurants.
Pangrati is where George Korres housed his first Korres pharmacy before launching a now global cosmetics business, a few steps away from the Stadium (as locals call it). A bit further uphill and at the back of the stadium lies a hidden lush paradise around Varnava square, once mostly known to connoisseurs for Greece’s best restaurant Spondi by Apostolos Trastellis. The famous tailor, Yiannis, has been mending clothes and shoes for more than 17 years now, before gentrification of this area attracted burger lovers to Colibri, curious foodies to Baba Ghanoush Falafel Shop and the cool kids to Chelsea Hotel‘s curbside drinks.
As you slowly descend to the more traditional cafés like Aerostato and Trigono, swing by the Chalk of the town shop for some handcrafts or pop-in at Skrow Theater to check their latest performance schedule. Apart from the nice atmosphere and vibrant nights, the Small 8 team launched this sibling venue across the street in an effort to attract more artists to the area. What’s also new down there is Ohh Boy, a stylish all-white café with some healthy bites and a hip crowd that opened last spring.
But Pangrati is also home to tasty food with Cookoovaya topping the charts ever since the team of 5 well-known chefs joined forces back in 2012 (full review here). Vezene is known for its upscale juicy meat, Mavro Provato is by now a low-budget comfort food classic (read full review here) and recently Cupola, an Italian trattoria, opened in Eforionos where Cucina Povera was once housed.
When you’ve fed up from all the food, try popping in at All In Yoga studio where Bessy regularly hosts reinvigorating yoga classes! If you’re not the type and want to work out your spirit without sweating too much, Pallas vintage cinema is also a good choice, known for its classic reruns in this almost 100 years establishment now.
Whatever you do, Pangrati offers so much to explore and indeed remains at the top of our list!