Five cool summer yards for dining in Athens

To enjoy the Attic sky in the extreme during summer, you need to go open-air and, of course, get a table outdoors. We searched for and found some of the best open-air hangouts for your summer nights in Athens. The “Lefkes,” in an old detached house in Galatsi, boasts a green garden that is dominated by enormous mulberry trees, poplars (lefkes) of course, flowers and aromatic herbs, and helps you escape from the city’s hubbub. The highly creative cuisine serves refined and imaginative dishes that are indications of the virtuoso chef-owner’s character. The “Romanakia” is a case in itself. This authentic Cretan restaurant located in a square in the suburb of Agia Paraskevi stood out from the very first moment. It has made fanatic friends who visit it from every part of the city for its good, authentic Cretan cuisine that emphasizes quality ingredients. It is the ideal setting for an imaginary travel to Crete; or, even better, for getting ready shortly before visiting the island itself. (www.romanakia.gr) “Rosalia” is an all-time classic tavern in downtown Athens -and beyond- for over 40 years. It boasts a “trademark” flower-filled, cool courtyard with olive, mulberry, plane and palm trees, and vines. In the list, you will find almost every essential dish of the traditional Greek cuisine in well-cooked versions. At the “Lemonokipos” – namely, the lemon orchard - you forget that you are in Athens, and sometimes feel as if you have taken a trip back to another era. In the lush garden of an old mansion in Nea Philadelphia, tables are set on the paved yard under the lemon trees, in a dreamlike setting. The cuisine has an irresistible Constantinopolitan aura - due to the owners’ origins - and invites you to discover it at its best. The “Allounou,” in a square in the district of Ampelokipi, is a brand new taverna that boasts a wide variety of Greek spirits. It set its colorful tables under the trees and serves lovingly made traditional Greek meze dishes that could be an ideal starting point for you to get to know the grass-root side of the Greek cuisine.