Athens’ Dimitri Agora: Good Place to Meat

Varvakios meat market in Athens. (Photo by Eurokinissi/Lydia Siori)

One of the places that captures life in Athens is the Agora, the Public Market bordered by Athinas, Evripidou, Eolou, and Sofokleous Streets, where you can get everything from spices to vegetables to fish and to stroll through the market and get goods at prices often far below supermarkets.

Bring your own cooler or refrigerated bag though, so you can make sure the meat is protected while you’re shopping and the journey home, especially in warm weather. This is a vibrant, raucous place where you’ll be invited to check what’s on sale, sometimes a little too aggressively so, and it’s a great place for tourists to get the sense of daily life and how many Greeks shop.,

Matt Barrett, whose blogs about Greece are arguably the most definitive and based on many years of traveling in the country, writes that, “Morning is the best time to be here. It’s often a mob scene but lots of fun and a reminder that the true wonders of Athens may not be in the dead past but in the very alive present. Some of the butchers come from generations of butchers who have had stalls in the market for a century.”

It used to be the meat was hung out but the European Union standards mean it’s kept cold in refrigerators before being sold and the whole market was upgraded a few years ago.

As for the meat, you can get beef, lamb, or even pastourma, usually a camel filet or  dehydrated goat, beef, or lamb covered with a cumin paste called çemeni, prepared with crushed cumin, fenugreek, garlic, and hot paprika.