Near Hadrian’s Library in Athens’ Monastiraki Square, the tantalizing aromas of roasting meat, gyros and souvlaki surround you. There are lots of restaurants that serve these Greek specialties, but my all time favorite has to be Bairaktaris Taverna, which has been around since the late 19th century. Spiros Bairaktaris is now the third generation in his family to run the tavern, and he’s obsessed with procuring top-quality ingredients, from the yogurt to the meat. His souvlaki starts with hand-selected pork, beef or lamb. It’s skewered and grilled over an open flame, then served with warm, chewy pita bread, onions, scorched tomatoes, grilled peppers and a tangy tzatziki sauce. I have equal admiration for the gyro, made of long strips of pork that’ve been stacked on a vertical rotisserie, and slowly cooked as it turns in front of the heat. I’d suggest you order both.
Platia Monastiraki 5
Athens, 105 55 Greece