It’s really easy to think of Greece as being all souvlakis and gyros, spanakopita and horiatiki, baklava and loukoumades. A lot of restaurants and fast food joints offer those options, but let’s be honest – eating outside the boundaries of your national cuisine can be exciting, the act of which is readily practised by the younger generation who are keen to embrace global eating trends.
Our free walking tour guide around Athens, Vasilis, was a young, dynamic and engaging guide who said to us, “You obviously have to try souvlakis and gyros while you’re here, it’s our national food. But my friends and I also like to eat burgers, and the best place in Athens for great burgers at a good price is FOOD Str“.
Keen to eat where all the cool, young and hip crowd eat, we headed off to FOOD Str after our walking tour to see if it was just as good as Vasilis claimed it to be. It was quiet when we were there around 1pm, as the official lunch hour for local Greeks seems to be much later – between 2pm and 3pm.
We ordered two burgers, two soft drinks, and one serve of fries (or ‘potatoes’ as described on the menu’) to share. This came to about 14 Euro – a bit more expensive than burger meals at McDonalds, but very reasonably priced for the hand-made quality of the food here.
K chose the interesting Fish Burger, a strange concoction of black, purple and golden brown that looks less than appetising but this is where appearances can deceive. The fried cod fillet was crispy, crunchy and perfectly fishy, the beetroot and mayonnaise added some much needed sweetness of flavour, and the soft black-tinged bread was surprisingly soft like a brioche bun, making the perfect sandwich for the tasty fishy filling. This burger is a tad more expensive than others on the menu, but well worth the extra expense if only to try some of Greece’s excellent seafood in a burger form.
I went for a more conventional burger choice – the house burger, or FOOD Str Burger. While the mix of the beef patty itself wasn’t anything spectacular, the effect of the charcoal grill added a remarkable smoky dimension to the meat. With the sweet caramelised mushrooms and peppers, and just the right amount of fresh crisp lettuce to bring a bit of crunch to the burger, this was a real winner.
We shared a serve of the Fresh Potatoes with Blue Cheese – which in this instance, I imagine is a description of the fact that the potatoes are freshly cut before being fried into deliciously crispy and crunchy chips perfect for dipping into a strong blue cheese sauce. My only disappointment here is that the dish wasn’t served as I had imagined it – with a runny blue cheese dressing drizzled over the whole cone of chips. Still, I imagine this dip-on-the-side is more of a crowd-pleasing dish, as you can choose how much blue cheese to have on your chips. Personally I prefer ALL THE CHEESE…but hey, I’ve never been good at controlling what I eat!
FOOD Str is a burger joint that stands up against any other gourmet burger joint in Athens, or even in Sydney or Melbourne with their gourmet burger obsession. Burgers and fries alike are freshly made rather than having ingredients pre-prepared, giving a quality that’s hard to find elsewhere. Don’t be intimidated by the menu being in Greek – the waitress is very friendly and can provide you with an English menu on request!
FOOD Str is located at 14 Kalamiotou Street in Athens, Greece.