Thessaloniki may not be Greece's capital, but it easily steals Athens' spotlight when it comes to food. As rich and diverse as its history, the northern city's cuisine is influenced by Slavic, Asian and of course Greek flavors. To help you in this land of plenty, we've narrowed down the choices to eight restaurants where you can sample the best of what Thessaloniki has to offer. (But really, it's very difficult to find a place that serves bad food here.)

For the Cosy Eaters

To Kourbeti via Facebook


To Kourbeti

Tucked in a corner of picturesque Ladadika, To Kourbeti is a quaint little joint where we suspect you will spend hours. The sesame-crusted goat cheese with tomato marmalade is to die for, and the fried zucchini with tzatziki dip is a must-try. Wash it all down with an ample portion of Cretan raki and your evening will be complete. With its warm atmosphere, retro decor and flavorful menu, there is no question as to why To Kourbeti is a major player in Thessaloniki’s food scene. 

Where: Vaiou 2 & Likourgou, Thessaloniki
When: Mon.-Fri. & Sun., 11 a.m.-4 a.m.; Fri. & Sat., 11 a.m.-6 a.m.
More info: 
+30 231 052 0631; Facebook

 

Nea Folia

For a true local gastronomic experience, head to Nea Folia, which has been in business since 1966. Located in the small pedestrian area of Aristomenous, Nea Folia has a wide range of gourmet Mediterranean and Greek dishes that employ local products. The pork neck chops melt in your mouth, and the fava is a standout. For a Michelin-quality experience on the cheap, Nea Folia delivers. 

Where: Aristomenous 4, Thessaloniki
When: Mon.-Fri. & Sun., 1-11 p.m.; Sat., 1 p.m.-midnight
More info: 
+30 231 096 0383; Facebook
 
 
 

For the Brunch Addicts

Ergon Agora via Facebook


Estrella

The star of the menu at Estrella is probably chef Dimitris Koparanis’ bougatsan, a mix between bougatsa (Thessaloniki’s signature custard cream phyllo pie) and a croissant. But there is more to Estrella than this creative dessert. The global street-food restaurant serves up omelets, bagels, breakfast pizzas, burgers and even éclairs. The restaurant is open from morning till well past midnight, so brunch junkies can rejoice any time of day.

Where: Pavlou Mela 48, Thessaloniki
When: Mon.-Sat., 8 a.m.-11 p.m.; Sun., 8 a.m.-6 p.m.
More info: 
+30 231 027 2045; Facebook

 

Ergon Agora

The butcher shop, seafood counter, deli, bakery and restaurant known as Ergon Agora has a well-earned reputation as a food hotspot. Venture inside this hybrid space from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. any day of the week for brunch — a selection that includes poached eggs, salmon-and-cream-cheese tartines, pancakes, croissants and more to satisfy any morning craving. Should you drop by later, rest assured the regular menu offers a wide variety of dishes to savor all day long.

Where: Pavlou Mela 42, Thessaloniki
When: Daily, 9 a.m.-1 a.m. 
More info: 
+30 231 028 8008; Facebook
 
 
 

For the Gourmet Foodies

Maitr&Margarita via Facebook. Photo by George Gkiatas


Maitr & Margarita

Down the small alley of Verias stands a charming bistro called Maitr & Margarita. The industrial-chic decor, long wine list and intriguing cheese selection attract an eclectic crowd. Mingle with them as you peruse a menu that includes a variety of Mediterranean starters and mains — the pork neck chops and the Greek salad are winners — plated elegantly.

Where: Verias 2, Thessaloniki
When: Tues.-Sun., 2 p.m.-1 a.m.
More info: 
+30 231 400 7586; Facebook

 
 

For the Herbivores

rOOTS via Facebook


rOOTS

In an area overflowing with meat tavernas, a small vegetarian restaurant took a bold chance. And it paid off. rOOTS has an extensive menu of tasty and filling dishes like zucchini balls with haloumi and eggplant, a sublime veggie burger and other crowd-pleasers. If you want to venture off the tried-and-true plant-based path, try options like penne pasta with vegetarian mincemeat and coconut cream sauce. On the cocktail menu, mastiha takes center stage.
 
Where: Mpalanou 4-6, Thessaloniki 
When: Daily, 10 a.m.-2 a.m.
More info: 
+30 231 026 8063; Facebook
 

 

For the Culinary Travelers

El Burrito via Facebook


El Burrito

At the Mexican cantina and "cocktaileria" El Burrito, the menu is as vibrant as the decor. Start with the fruity white wine sangria and a shareable appetizer of chips and guacamole. For a quick, satisfying bite, you can't beat the quesadilla con carne. If you’re looking for something more substantial, go for the Pibil-style chicken. Once you've polished off that sangria, a tequila cocktail is in order.
 
Where: Chrissostomou Smirnis 5, Thessaloniki 
When: Daily, 10 a.m.-3 a.m.
More info: 
+30 231 022 0622; Facebook

 

Massaya

Massaya is your gateway to Middle Eastern cuisine. This family-run business is warm and welcoming, with husband-and-wife team Maryam and Giannis preparing fresh dishes with far-flung flavors. Classics like fattoush, falafel, baba ghanouj and shish kebab will transport you to the eastern Mediterannean with each bite.
 
Where: Cheimarras 22, Thessaloniki
When: Mon., Weds., Thurs. & Sun., 2-11 p.m.; Fri. & Sat., 2 p.m.-midnight
More info: 
+30 231 090 4202; Facebook

By Ethel Dilouambaka

Polyglot, translator, adventure seeker, food enthusiast. Always amazed by the gift of love she receives daily, Ethel enjoys spending quality time with friends and family. There's usually a certain amount of eating and drinking involved.