Indian Restaurants in Athens
The area below Psiri around Platia Koumoundourou (sometimes called Platia Eleftherias) is Athens' Middle-to-Far-Eastern neighborhood. It is located at the end of Evripidou street at the back side of Psiri and continues to the back side of the fruit and vegetable market and all the way to Diemarchou Square. Travelers might be forgiven for being a little wary of the area because appearance-wise it feels a little more dark and threatening than the parts of Athens that they are accustomed to. But the brave visitor who wanders down Evripidou and its side streets will find it facinating. There are chinese shops that sell gifts and food. There are middle-eastern grocery stores including a small supermarket behind the City Hall. There are cafes, shops, barbers and all sorts of businesses with signs in Arabic, Chinese, Hindi and other languages. Best of all there are several Indian Restaurants.
The large number of eastern immigrants in the streets that may give you a feeling that Al Quaida is waiting for the next unsuspecting American to kidnap. But the area is certainly safe in the daytime and probably safe at night too. But just to be sure I sent my roving reporter Dorian Kokas instead.
Dorian's Indian Restaurant Report
Try going into a restaurant in this neighborhood at 8:30 in the morning, looking like a well-dressed cop carrying a briefcase, and approach four or five dark figures at a far corner table, and ask for the owner. One guy almost killed himself trying to get out from the corner and scramble up a stairs and the others pretended not to know any language saying, "no owner, no boss, boss no here." This happened at two of the four restaurants I visited.
It dawned on me after a while that 90% of the people in the area of Menandrou, Epikourou, Palamidou, Evripidou and that area of Pireos Street, are undocumented migrants. They saw me as an immigration officer and I would feel the same in their shoes.
Well here are the results of my hard earned 100 euros and please DO NOT ask me to do anything again where my life would be in danger.
Owner's comments: "Everything is traditional and from India; furniture, decor, dishes, spoons-forks-knives, napkins, carpets, doors etc. We have 12 appetizers, 68 main course meals, 7 different breads, 15 different sauces for our lamb-chicken-beef dishes, an a 200 different vintage wines from around the world."
Owners Message to You: "Namaste!" (namaste means welcome in Hindi)
My comments: Maybe the best Indian restaurant in that area, and the only one who who invited you, Andrea, Amarandi, Robyn and me for a complete dinner. The price is about 35 euros per person with wine so for Greece it is a little high-end. People dress up to come here but I doubt it is mandatory.
My comments: Scary looking street but the restaurant is quite nice inside. I talked to some Indians all around the area and they all said "Pak India is the best." I found out later from other Indian and Pakistanis that the first guys I asked who said it was the best had cousins working there. Prices are marginally cheaper than RED INDIAN, about 25-30 euros per person with wine. Don't wear dress-up clothes as you would for RED INDIAN.
My comments: If you walk in you would never think it's an Indian restaurant. The bar is like a large room with a few sofas, the color reminds you of a punk-new wave-disco club, the bar itself is nothing special. Upstairs is all pink reminding you of some discoteque. In fact, the night I was there there was a live band playing rock music at 1000 decibals. Of course no sitar. The chef, John, is young, about in his early 30's who really is a great guy. Apparently he knows his cooking and would love to meet new people from around the world. His English is excellent. The menu is very extensive so it makes me wonder why his favorite dish is hamburger with Indian spices. Beef is not allowed in Indian food, so what's up? But then again it makes me wonder why two guys named Papakonstantinou and Lamoudakis have an Indian restaurant. They dance in the bar. I guess a good place to go if you want that type of thing. Good area too.
My comments: This would be your souvlaki place of Indian restaurants. (It's the place where as soon as they saw me they scrambled like cockroaches to find a way out.) I didn't see one female there the whole time and it just looked like a dingy bar-cafe full of Pakistani-Indian people. However; the prices range from 7-15 euros per meal and that's a lot cheaper than the other three restaurants. Perhaps it would be good for a quick bite while you are looking around for souveniers in the Chinese shops. Don't bring a female companion with you. Not that I think she will be kidnapped and sold into slavery but she may feel a little uncomfortable and so will you.
So that's it. I went, I saw, I ate and I survived. I can see how some Americans might feel a little uneasy in the area but the last thing in the world any of the people in the neighborhood would want to do is harass foreign strangers. They have enough problems with immigration and trying to make a living without work permits and just trying to survive. So if you are looking for a good Indian meal come down to Platia Komoundourou (Eleftherias) and chances are close to 100% that you will live to tell others about it. And if you don't? At least you died after a good meal. Most people are not so lucky.
You can visit Dorian at www.athensguide.com/dorian
For other restaurants in Athens go to the Athens Guide Restaurants Page