Spondi blends old and new with ease, combining an historic location with an intimate, modern dining room and giving chef Arnaud Bignon free rein to add his creativity to otherwise classic French cuisine. His seasonal menu exploits fresh local ingredients, showcased perfectly in his star dish of foie gras with orange and chocolate xocopili glazed with spices. The décor is artfully bohemian; mismatched furnishings, dark toned walls and dimmed chandelier lighting enhance the atmospheric interior.
The view from the Strofi tavern, overlooking the rocky outcrop of the Acropolis, is reason enough alone to visit this historic restaurant. Happily, its menu of traditional Greek food is equally attractive with its mixture of fresh ingredients and time-honoured techniques. Classic dishes include lamb wrapped in vine leaves and stuffed with feta cheese. Strofi is popular with the after-theatre crowd, so be sure to arrive early to find a seat on the terrace and enjoy the view after dark.
Plous Podilatou benefits from a quiet harbour setting and capitalises on its situation by specialising in freshly caught seafood. Its picture windows make the most of the sea views, while the wooden cabin flooring adds to the maritime feel. The menu is based on traditional recipes and the fresh seafood takes centre stage, especially when combined with sweet and sour flavours, such as the salmon fillet with honey and giner or the cod cake appetiser with garlic egg-roe cream and pistachios.
The Tudor Hall, King George Palace
There are few restaurants in Athens as romantic as the Tudor Hall at the King George Palace Hotel. Its all-white dining room combines dramatic draped curtains with Grecian columns, candelabra centre pieces and an ornately decorated high ceiling. The cuisine is simple; the Greco-French menu uses mostly organic ingredients and follows recipes set out by Alain Ducasse. The elegant picture windows offer glimpses of the Acropolis, wonderfully lit at night to add even more romance.