Evripidou Street is undoubtedly the most fragrant street in Athens. Day in day out, this street is bursting at the seams. Athenians love good food and don’t mind if they have to travel long kilometres to get to the city centre and find that unique spice that will add a special touch to a dish. Thankfully, economic hardship and difficult times have not been able to stop them.
Ever since 1886, when Varvakeios Municipal Market of Athens opened its doors and food trade developed in the streets near-by, Evripidou Street has become synonymous with the smells of shops selling food from the colonies, a feature that has remained unchanged throughout the years.
Based on the goods sold in each section, Evripidou Street can be divided into four zones.
The part of Evripidou Street that lies right above Aiolou Street is just like any other street in the commercial centre of Athens; small shops selling various commodities, a few modern cafes and joints frequented by adolescents.
Between Aiolou and Athinas Streets, where Varvakeios Market is located, the market is full of shops dealing with food. Feel free to buy the famous feta cheese and other dairy products from the shop of “Laskaris Brothers” and “Stroungka tou Moria” (which translated means the Fold of Peloponnese). In the emporium of “Lakovakis Brothers“, “Vorria” and in other similar emporia, you’ll find anything your heart desires. If you are into nuts, there are shops selling nuts (peanuts, almonds, walnuts) and dried fruit (date, raisin, fig, blackberry, blueberries) that will leave you completely satisfied.
The market also houses grocery shops selling common or special commodities; among the goods sold, the famous cod from Iceland is the star of the show, followed by herring and salted tuna. Local salted products are also well-represented; the shop of Zouridakis selling products from the island of Crete is a quality choice. At the corner of Athinas and Evripidou Streets, at the side of Varvakeios Agora, a special closet-sized shop called Valsamo (balsam in English) is worth the visit. Valsamo is an open store selling herbs/spices neatly packed in brightly colored cellophane envelopes placed vertically on the wall. Here, you’ll find any herb and spice you can think of ranging from common Greek herbs, such as chamomile, mint, linden, sage, burning bush, marjoram, thyme to other more rare ones growing on the slops of Mts. Olympus and Taygetus. Looking for something more exotic? No need to worry. Spices, paprika, pimento and all kinds of pepper are also available here.
The most fascinating and fragrant part of Evripidou Market extends between Athinas and Menandrou Steets. Lilliputian shops selling spices, flower seeds and plants in small flower pots, ready to color your kitchen or your verandah, will definitely enchant you. Arotro (plough in English), a hole in the wall, is the most impressive of them all. The shop’s small van is always parked just outside the shop; flowers are often displayed on the van’s roof and on top its hood, such pleasure to the eyes!
Ironmongery stores selling kitchenware and restaurant equipment is what you’ll come across next. The items sold here range from coffeepots, house kitchen equipment and cutlery to porcelain sets and multi-purpose devices. Kiourtzoglou (47, Evripidou Street) and Katos (38, Evripidou Street) are one of the most well-known stores in this district.
Spice shops is what follows next. If you are praying for spice shops beyond your wildest dreams, well, you’re at the right place. Clients queue outside Bahar (31-33, Evripidou Street), a spice shop selling 2,500 herbs and spices from all over the world. In Elixirion (translated elixir, located at 41, Evripidou Street), products are tastefully arranged on a wooden counter with elegant transparent drawers. People working here offer expert advice on the healing properties of every single spice (e.g. sage is good for memory, clove helps indigestion, thyme has antiseptic properties) and on the other goods sold here. At the corner of Evripidou and Sokratous Streets, you’ll find the famous stores of Miran (45, Evripidou Street) and Arapian (41, Evripidou Street) selling their famous preserved meat products. These two stores lately become even more popular. Apart from pastourma, you’ll also find here cold cuts and dairy produce from small artisan producers all over Greece! Ask for a treat!
Under Sokratous Street, the stores and the goods sold are less famous. Recently, a few Chinese shops appeared; it looks like they are making the first steps away from Metaxourgeiou Square where most of them are located.
Evripidou Street, declared a “traditional market area” during the term of office of Nikos Sifounakis, who served as Deputy Minister for the Environment, Energy and Climate Change, must retain its character in the years to follow. This is our wish. Fingers crossed!
- AddressEvripidou Street, Athens
- LocationAthens - Attica