Thessaloniki and Central Macedonia Restaurants

Traditional Thracian and Macedonian cooks adapt to the seasons: in winter, rich game such as boar and venison is served; in summer, there are mussels and other seafood from the Aegean, as well as fruits and vegetables from the fertile plains. The relatively cooler climate here is reflected in rich chicken soups, roast chicken, stuffed vegetables, and stewed lamb and pork.

Small plates (mezedes) are a fundamental part of the Thessaloniki dining experience. Specialties include medhia (mussels), which come from farms outside the bay and are served in styles that include saganaki (sauted in a pan with tomatoes, peppers, and feta) and achnista (steamed in broth with herbs). Also look for soutzoukakia (Anatolian-style meatballs in tomato sauce, seasoned with cumin). Peinerli (an open-faced boat of bread filled with cheese and ham) is a Black Sea specialty brought here by the Pontii, Greeks who emigrated from that area.

Meals are complemented by generous amounts of wine, ouzo, and tsipouro, the local version of grappa. Try the excellent barrel or bottled local wines, especially reds under labels such as Naoussa or Porto Carras or a little bottle of Malamatina retsina, considered the best bottled version in Greece. Throughout the city, little shops and cellars specialize in a Macedonian treat called a submarine (or ipovrihio), a spoonful of sweets such as visino (black) cherries in syrup, dipped in a glass of ice water. As for dinnertime, you can arrive around 8, earlier than most Greeks like to eat dinner (many places do not open before then)—but it's much more fun to come at 9 or 10 and mix with the locals.

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  • 1. Ap’Allou

    $ | Greek

    With mouthwatering dishes inspired by Asia Minor and Greece, and ingredients from both the land (seasonal vegetables and quality meats) and...Read More

  • 2. Duck Private Cheffing

    $$$ | Aerodromio | Greek

    A gourmet dining experience based on fresh, seasonal ingredients with an ever-changing menu, Duck offers the opportunity to sample an array...Read More

  • 3. Gastrodromio En Olympo

    $$ | Greek

    Self-taught and ever evolving chef Andreas Gavris creates seasonal delights fit for the gods in his justifiably popular restaurant. Standouts...Read More

  • 4. Ouzeri Aristotelous

    $ | Kentro | Greek

    Behind a wrought-iron gate opening to a stoa, artists, scholars, couples, old friends, and businesspeople pack marble-topped tables. This convivial...Read More

  • 5. O Loutros

    $ | Kentro | Greek

    Diners at this side-street Thessaloniki institution rub shoulders with lawyers, students, out-of-towners, and workers from the Bezesteni market...Read More

  • 6. Ouzeri Agora

    $ | Kentro | Greek

    Low-key and extremely popular, this ouzeri in the art-grungy Bezesteni neighborhood has good food, great service, and a friendly atmosphere...Read More

  • 7. Ouzeri Melathron

    $ | Kentro | Mediterranean

    Ouzo's Mansion," established as Greece's first ouzeri franchise in 1993, attracts a mainly young crowd. The chefs here are trained in a style...Read More

  • 8. Ta Nissia

    $$ | Kentro | Greek

    The food may be costly, because as the name (which means "the islands") hints, fish is king here. However, when you discover the quality, Ta...Read More

  • 9. To Full Tou Meze

    $ | Ladadika | Greek

    Ordering your meal at this establishment in the heart of the bustling Ladadika district is quite an experience. The waiters bring their own...Read More

  • 10. Zythos Dore

    $$ | Kentro | Greek

    Crowded and lots of fun, this café in a converted 1920s-era Viennese-style coffeehouse has a good buzz and it offers a great view of the White...Read More

  • 11. Tiffany's

    $ | Kentro | Greek

    Whether you choose one of the convivial long, group tables or a perch set on the leafy pedestrian street, you'll understand why this local downtown...Read More

  • 12. Vrotos

    $$ | Kentro | Greek

    Some of the most delicious and innovative appetizers in Thessaloniki are served at this little ouzeri run by the Vrotos family. You can sit...Read More

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