Athens may still be suffering from the effects of the terrible financial crisis that cripple the country and put many people out of business, but when you walk the streets of the vibrant Greek capital, you notice there is a great sense of optimism and defiance, and this is nowhere clearer than in the city’s incredible specialty coffee shops.
In previous posts we already recommended some of the city’s finest spots, including Kaya, Peek-A-Bloom and XXX, and today, we’re proud to share our review of one of the city’s most impressive venues, The Underdog.
Located south of Monastiraki and slightly away from the hustle and bustle of this tourist-laden neighbourhood, The Underdog may sound like a tiny hole-in-the-wall, but its name couldn’t be more deceiving if it tried. Housed inside a beautiful city villa, The Underdog, like most other specialty coffee bars, doubles as an outstanding brunch and coffee place and a buzzing cocktail bar.
Its team of award-winning baristas include the charming Michalis Dimitrakopoulos, who is the 2016 World Coffee in Good Spirits Champion and the 2008 winner of the same award, owner Tasos Delichristos. It goes without saying that they take their coffee very seriously while their very casual coffee bar that offers plenty of front row seating invites you to observe the baristas at work.
The brunch menu consists of most of your general favourites like eggs Benedict and various pancakes and while I was sipping on a perfectly creamy flat white, I saw plates with generous portions of said dishes being delivered to hungry customers upstairs, downstairs and outside in their lovely covered patio.
The Underdog also roasts its own coffee on a Giesen roaster found in the downstairs part, coffee that is then consequently offered for purchasing upstairs. In addition, its bar has a great selection of local craft beers and cocktails that keep customers happy until the wee hours.
In northern Europe people have this assumption that specialty coffee anywhere south of the Alps is as hard to find as a great Mexican food this side of the Atlantic, but Athens is a perfect example of a city that is getting on with building an enviable specialty coffee scene that could very well serve as a great blueprint for other southern European cities to build their own. Rome take note.