When looking for Diporto Taverna, don’t look up, look down to find this unique basement-level taverna (koutouki in Greek) hiding in the center of the busy Dimotiki Agora, the Public Market of Central Athens. The name of the taverna means “two doors,” neither of which has a sign for the taverna, and both of which look rather menacing covered in graffiti. Don’t let the shabby exterior keep you away. Your temporary trepidation will melt away once inside the taverna which has lots of character. Plus, this place has some of the best home-style traditional dishes that I’ve had in Greece.
Knowing about my affection for interesting doors, our good friends in Athens suggested we meet downtown at Diporto. They thought there was a slim chance that we would find a table for lunch, as the taverna is tiny and popular with locals and tourists. Apparently, Diporto, in business since 1887, has become an internationally known place to eat when in Athens. Tourists head to Diporto in search of an authentic Greek food experience.
For our good fortune, a small table near a basement-style window, just big enough for five of us was available. The dining area, lined with wooden wine barrels felt intimate and cozy. There was no menu, and the choices were limited to five or six dishes. We dined on revythia (chickpea soup), fava (a yellow split pea purée), beef stew, fried sardines, and a Greek salad accompanied by hearty bread, and the house retsina wine.
To find Diporto at Sokratous 9, walk through the public market past the produce vendors where at the end of the lane you’ll find a shop filled with antique looking household decorations. One of the doors to Diporto is on the right-hand side of the shop, and the other door is on the left-hand side of the 150-year-old building.
To learn more about Diporto and see photos of the interior of the taverna, check out the following articles: Diporto: Time Travel Taverna by Culinary Backstreets, and To Diporto by Greek Gastronomy Guide. Also, stop by Debi’s blog, An Evolving Life, to read her post Koutoukia & Magazia: A Peek into Old Athens.
Καλή όρεξη – Good appetite!