The weather is warming up and after the lockdown, Athens is gaining back her life. It is the perfect time to search and taste the best ice cream in the city. Ice cream itself needs no introduction and it is irrelevant if it was discovered by the Italians or someone else. These are our favourite places for this beloved delicacy all over Athens :
Le Greche : The passion of one woman for Italian gelato was the reason this unique place was established in the centre of Athens. The variety is not very big but the ingredients are fresh and carefully chosen. Traditional Greek products (like oranges from Lakonia, figs from Kalamata and Korinthian raisins) are used as the base for traditional Italian recipes. If you want to try something different try the wonderful gelato bar (Mitropoleos 16, Syntagma & Apostolou Pavlou 2, Agia Paraskevi).
Dickie Dee : Another unique and elegant place for ice cream in the city centre. Here you could taste perfect soft ice cream, made with four basic ingredients : fresh milk (without eggs or vanilla), vegan chocolate, rose and green peanut from Sicily. You could accompany your cone with a “cloud” of cotton candy and various toppings like candies, caramelized popcorn and grated biscuit. Also you could try one of the dickie cups, excellent pastries based on ice cream. Our favourite cup is pavlova with fresh milk ice cream and strawberries (Voulis 23, Syntagma).
Maraboo (Μαραμπού) and Kokkion (Κόκκιον) : These two unrelated places, located at two of the busiest neighbouhoods of the city, have one common thing, they share the same passion for fresh artigianale ice cream. Both places have a sufficient variety of tastes and use fresh Greek products. At Marabou our favourite taste is bitter chocolate sorbet and at Kokkion we always start with a spoonful of peanut ice cream (Maraboo : Archelaou 17, Pagrati / Kokkion : Protogenous 2, Monastiraki).
Morris Brown : Quite far from the city centre, this place is a common secret among the citizens of the northern suburbs of Athens. Excellent handmade Italian gelato in a very good variety of tastes, made with high quality products. The catalogue is changing regularly and they even organize thematic weekends (Brazil, Cuba, 1980s and many more). Cheesecake and petit-ber biscuit with peanut butter are only two of our favourite tastes (Plateia Analipseos 4, Vrilissia & Plateia Heroon Polytechneiou 11, Penteli).
Coco’s : Beloved by tourists and very popular among locals, this ice cream parlor is the best choice if you are wandering along the streets of Plaka. The variety of tastes is endless and one visit here is never enough. Apart from the quality ice cream, this place serves also perfect waffles. A knowledge its owners brought with them, when they came to Greece from Belgium and established this now classic place in the centre of Plaka. Nowadays they have three more places around the city, where you could taste their excellent flavours (Kydathinaion 26, Plaka).
Tillas (Τίλλας) : There was a time in the late 1970s and early 1980s when to go out for ice cream in Nea Filadelfeia was one of the most popular family activities. One of those legendary coffee and ice cream parlors, Tillas, still exists and serves the same tasty and rich ice cream for almost 60 years. Come here to taste huge portions of ice cream often accompanied with other pastries like kataifi or ravani. The most popular dishes are ekmek with kaimaki ice cream (an evocation to the origins of the owners from Asia Minor) and the rustic banana split which is a whole banana covered with chocolate and ice cream of your choice (Eleftheriou Venizelou 10, Nea Filadelfeia).
Xara (Χαρά) : Another legendary ice cream parlor of the city, established in 1969. According to the story the owner came from Smyrna to Athens, after the persecution of 1922 and transferred the recipes for ekmek and ice cream to her shoe. Don’t be put off by the appearance of the patisserie or its old-fashioned decoration, Xara is a landmark and a top destination for all those who love ice cream. The most famous dishes here are ekmek with kaimaki ice cream (undeniebly the best in town) and Chicago, an erruption of chocolate, served with whipped cream and grated almond (Patision 339, Athens).
Ergastirio Pagotou – Dafni (Εργαστήριο Παγωτού – Δάφνη) : I stumbled upon this place a few years ago as I was returning from work. What caught my attention was the line of people waiting to be served outside a place without a sign. Since then, this small ice cream workshop in Dafni has become a beloved destination. Parisi (Παρίση) family has been making this perfect homemade ice cream for more than 40 years with the same recipe and the same four tastes (vanilla, chocolate, peanut and strawberry). The workshop is open every year only from March until September and the last years has added to its catalogue cream and chocolate parfait. Come to this unpretentious place without reservations and surrender to the perfection of simplicity (no wonder it was awarded in 2018 by the Best Greek Food Awards as the “top gelateria”) (Bouboulinas 4, Dafni).
Waffle House : When I visited Naxos for the first time 20 years ago, it was impossible not to notice the sweet smell of baked waffle all over the narrow streets of Plaka. It was then that I tasted for the first time the quality ice cream and the perfect waffle of the famous now Waffle House. What started as a small shop in Naxos is now famous all over Greece and apart from Naxos, they have opened two more places in Athens. The variety and combinations have no limit and the quality of their products will amaze you. The waffles and the waffle cones are baked in front of our eyes and the pleasure is always guaranteed. Our beloved tastes here are fresh mellon and tsoureki (with big chunks of honeyed tsoureki inside). A success story which resulted in an ice cream every Athenian has tasted (Agiou Panteleimonos, Vouliagmeni & Agiou Georgiou 1, Nea Penteli).
These are our favourite places for ice cream all over the city. We are waiting for your suggestions at the comments area of this article. We are sure we have missed many excellent places, but the quest for the perfect taste never stops …